Green House Blog

Financing a Green House home

The Green House Project recognizes that financing is a crucial element of any new development. As a program within NCB Capital Impact, we can partner with lenders to create a streamlined process and many specialized financing options. NCB Capital Impact is a nonprofit, Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that works across the nation to improve access to high-quality health and elder care, healthy foods, housing, and education in low-income communities. To date, NCB Capital Impact and The Green House Project have assisted in the development of over 148 Green House homes and have financed $20 million in Green House homes across the country.

There is now an information page on The Green House website, that provides a high level overview of financing vehicles. NCB Capital Impact provides financing opportunities for Green House homes and manages specific Green House loan programs, including The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP Program Related Investments. There is also information about The Weinberg Foundation grant opportunities. This new webpage provides high level information about these opportunities, as well as specific steps for learning more about financing options.

Click here to view the Financing Page on The Green House website >>


Sixth Annual Green House Meeting & Celebration, Boston, MA

Being a part of The Green House network is an opportunity to be a part of something that is bigger than yourself! This is never more true than when we come together for our Annual Meeting and Celebration. This year is certain to be a revolutionary time in Boston! Registration began this week for Peer Network members to attend the Sixth Annual Green House Meeting and Celebration at the Omni Parker House in Boston, MA.

Last year’s well-attended Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids, MI, ignited much enthusiasm about the importance of this annual gathering of our community:

“The Green House Annual Meeting and Celebration was a great opportunity to network with peers from all over the country and discuss the joys, challenges, and unique situations that arise in working in the Green House model. The chance to brainstorm, swap ideas and stories with others who are passionate about elders, and the future of elder care, was an invaluable experience.” – Mimi DeVinney, TR Specialist, Eden Associate (St. John’s Home, Rochester, NY)

“I always find the Green House annual conference to be a great source of networking and an opportunity for a “jump-start” in areas that I may need a boost.  One impact particularly from last year’s conference was Dr. Thomas sharing his vision that every house has a story.” – Rhonda Wolpert, LNHA (Mennonite Memorial Home, Bluffton, OH)

This year’s theme, “Revolutionizing Elderhood” acknowledges the two Green House Projects open and thriving in Massachusetts, embodying the amazing revolutionary spirit. The Leonard Florence Center for Living and The White Oaks Cottages at Fox Hill  are our hosts.  In addition to celebrating the triumphs of these homes, we are excited to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Green House Project at our meeting this year.

We are excited to spend time with Green House adopters from across the country who are open and in development  learning, information-sharing and networking during this celebration. Click here to take a look at this year’s brochure!

NPR Features The Green House Project: 'What Comes Next for Elder Care?'

Dr. Bill Thomas, the visionary who created The Green House model after realizing that his Harvard medical education didn’t give him the tools to treat loneliness, helplessness and boredom,  has spent his life trying to answer the question, “What comes next?”  With more than 1 million Americans living in nursing homes that were built in the 1960s and 1970s the time is ripe to consider a “shift from large institutional nursing homes to small and more friendly [homes]”.

This summer,  NPR reporter, Ina Jaffe (@InaJaffeNPR), spent some time at The Green House Residences of Stadium Place, the first Green House project in Maryland, which serves predominantly low income elders.  During her visit, Ms. Jaffe observed that, “You can hear the sounds and smell the aromas coming from an open kitchen that looks like it belongs in a big suburban house”.

Mealtime in a Green House home is a special time, where you can really feel the deep relationships between the versatile direct care workers and the elders.  It is a time to come together as a community.  “We cook for them.  We do daily activities with them. We spend a lot of quality time with our elders.” says Tumarka Wilson, one of the direct care team members in the home.  Ms. Wilson has a base education as a certified nursing assistant and received 128 hours of additional education from The Green House Project to gain the skills she needs  to manage The Green House home.

The Green House Project is currently open and operating in 24 states around the country. This fall, when Green House homes open in Florida, half of the country will have an option to bring their elders meaningful life and real home while receiving long term care in a Green House Home.  With cost neutral operations, this model has the potential to spread quickly, and will eventually be an option in every community.

The Green House Project is a program of NCB Captital Impact and receives funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Listen to the full NPR radio segment >>

Learn more about The Green House Model >>


GHP to speak at Pioneer Network about Meaningful Lives and Real Transformation

The Pioneer Network is a group, formed in 1997, with the charge to convene person-centered advocates, providers and consumers to create change in long term care, “We believe that the quality of life and living for America’s elders is rooted in a supportive community and cemented by relationships that respect each of us as individuals regardless of age, medical condition or limitations.  ”

On August 11-14, in Bellvue, Washington, the 13th Annual Pioneer Network Conference will be held,  with the theme, “Hear the Voice, Honor the Choice”.  The Green House Project has long been a leader in this movement, and very involved in this organization.  Team members, David Farrell and Anna Ortigara serve on the board, and The Green House Project is a regular sponsor and speaker at the conference.

This year, our presentation, “Meaningful Lives, Empowered Staff, Strategies for Real Transformation: THE GREEN HOUSE® Project“, will delve into workforce transformation, and how the comprehensive changes of the model, create powerful outcomes for elders, staff and the organization.  We will be joined by Jaime’s Place, a Green House project located in Winthrop, Washington.  There is nothing like hearing stories and experiences directly from the people who are living and working in the model everyday.

The Pioneer Network conference brings people together to deepen this social movement of culture change in long term care.  Together we will change the way that the world views aging by “working towards a culture of aging that supports the care of elders in settings where individual voices are heard and individual choices are respected”.

Reflections on Culture Change from the United Kingdom

Recently, change agent and founder of Evermore, Sara McKee, spent time with Green House team members and Dr. Bill Thomas.  She visited a Green House home, and dreamed about how the inspiration of The Green House model could meet the needs of elders and direct care staff in the United Kingdom.  Read her reflections below.  

In the relentless pursuit of keeping institutional behaviour at bay

Is it any wonder that the turnover of care staff is upwards of 30% in most organisations in the sector; when the opportunity to do what they really want – care for individuals – is often denied them?

Time limits, task-based activity, cost pressures – all take away the pleasure to be derived from work with such a purpose. Add to that the insecurity of having low pay with zero hours contracts, and any job role starts to look more appealing than care. This is probably why care worker posts are generally the last on the list offered in a Jobcentre.

It really doesn’t have to be this way.

With the right leadership we can achieve amazing things. We have to get the basics right (pay/conditions) and then we have to enable people to flourish. As Daniel Pink explains, people are motivated by Autonomy, Mastery & Power.

That’s what gets us up in the morning, and I’m hopeless at early mornings. Seeing the art of the possible in front of me on a recent trip to The Green House Project in the US, and I’m bouncing out of bed. Hector, my trusty hound, is finding that change in arrangements rather alarming!

My point is simply this: we will fail if we carry on trying to make the current institutions work by incremental change. As Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Time for a game change.

We’re taking the lessons from the Green House Project where staff have autonomy, become masters of their craft and have real power to advocate on behalf of their elderly residents. We will make sure that those in our care get to make the decisions, keep control and continue to contribute. By helping each other, we know they’ll stay active, engaged, be happy and well.

We don’t need task-based hierarchy to make things work. Let’s face it, the current system is expensive, unproductive and adds nothing to the quality of service.

We need enthusiasm, capability and energy. We need to recruit from across the age spectrum and train staff to create warm, domestic and convivial environments where really meaningful conversations take place. That way “person-centred” care and other useless jargon can be thrown away as real relationships are fostered. We do this by focusing on smaller numbers of people and enabling staff to be close to their elderly compatriots.

Less time focused on the P&L and more time on creating the place to live a happy life. My experience across various industries has shown me that if you do the right thing well, the money follows because people want to be a part of what you’re creating.
It’s not a pipe dream or an aspiration. It’s what we need to do and we intend to show how it’s done.

Big thanks to my community of colleagues in Washington, DC who continue to motivate and support me to be the game changer. And it is with them that I join in our relentless pursuit of keeping institutional behaviour at bay.

AARP Foundation and Weinberg Foundation Invest to Extend Green House Model to Low-Income Seniors

New collaborations build on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s $10 million
program-related investment in THE GREEN HOUSE® Project

July 11, 2013

Leslie Lipsick, 415-901-0111,
Christine Clayton, 609-627-5937,

Princeton, NJ — The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) efforts to bring high-quality skilled nursing care to low-income seniors got a boost recently as both AARP Foundation and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation announced new investments in The Green House Project. The new commitments bolster the national loan fund for Green House homes that RWJF helped to establish in 2011 with a 10-year, $10 million low-interest credit facility.

AARP Foundation unveiled a new $2.5 million program-related investment (PRI) in innovative housing options for the vulnerable, 50+ population, including The Green House Project. The Weinberg Foundation simultaneously agreed to formalize and grow its existing grant program for skilled nursing facilities that both adopt The Green House model and serve low-income populations. The Weinberg Foundation has committed to a minimum of $8 million in capital grants for Green House residences this fiscal year alone.

Though the three foundations’ investments differ in their details, they share the common goal of bringing a higher and more personalized standard of care to aging Americans in every community. The three also share a joint belief that innovative financing is a vital tool for giving lower-income communities the capital required to develop truly excellent, affordable long-term care options.

Unlike traditional nursing homes that have a more institutional feel, Green House homes are designed from the ground up to look and feel like a real home. In an effort to provide more personalized and dignified care, only six to 12 elders live in each home, and every resident has the comfort of a private room and bathroom, along with the freedom to set his or her own daily routine. Even the care in a Green House home is different, with a small team of trained universal caregivers meeting the majority of needs of the residents. Research shows that a Green House home’s intimate layout, combined with its innovative staffing model, provides residents with four times more personal and social contact than typical nursing homes.

“The Green House Project delivers on a bold vision of better, more dignified care for elders that is spreading widely in communities across the country,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We are thrilled to have the AARP and Weinberg Foundations join us in investing to spread the impact of this powerful model to all seniors, regardless of income.”

AARP Foundation: Leveraging Investment Instruments to Drive 50+ Housing Innovation

With the use of program-related investments, AARP Foundation aims to create new models of housing that are scalable and replicable, and to increase the sheer number of affordable and adequate housing units available for low-income Americans over 50. With at least 13 million Americans in low-income, 50+ households struggling to find affordable and/or adequate housing, AARP Foundation identified housing as an area ripe for impact investing.

In addition to funding the replication of The Green House model, led by NCB Capital Impact, the $2.5 million investment will also support Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Inc. and ROC USA. The former will use the investment to help finance the creation of affordable rental and rural housing for low-income seniors. The latter will use it to empower owners of mobile homes, a vulnerable and aging group, to cooperatively purchase the land on which their homes are located.

“All of these projects aim to build, retrofit, or purchase safe and affordable housing that not only helps older residents avoid high housing cost burdens, but also addresses their need for community—either by helping them age in place or create a new community based on a non-institutional model,” said AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins.

Weinberg Foundation: Expanding on an Early Investment in Culture Change

During the last five years, the Weinberg Foundation has made six capital grants for Green House homes, totaling just over $5.5 million, including some of the most innovative adoptions of the model. During that time, the Weinberg Foundation has seen demand for small home nursing models like Green House soar. At the same time, millions of vulnerable older adults have been unable to access the quality, skilled care they need—whether due to limited incomes, high costs of care, or isolation.

To fulfill its vision that every older adult has the opportunity to lead a life of dignity and independence, no matter their ability or income, the Weinberg Foundation has agreed to formalize and expand its Green House development grants program, committing to a minimum of $8 million in capital grants for these residences in the 2014 fiscal year. Among other requirements, applying providers must serve at least 60 percent Medicaid-eligible individuals, with 70 percent preferred, and be open to people of all beliefs.

“All older adults deserve the chance to lead meaningful, engaged lives and to maintain their independence for as long as possible,” said Donn Weinberg, Weinberg Foundation trustee and executive vice president. “Through the combined total of more than $13 million in capital grants already made or planned, the Weinberg Foundation hopes to extend the Green House and other culture-change models to more of our most vulnerable older adults so that they can continue to live robust, healthy lives.”

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Increasing the Impact of a Long-Time Investment

Since 2002, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded $20 million, primarily to NCB Capital Impact, to develop, test, and evaluate The Green House model. In 2011, the Foundation made a new $10 million program investment to build on its existing support of Green House, with the goal of helping the model achieve greater reach and impact than its current presence (146 homes across 24 states).

Specifically, the PRI lowers the cost of financing Green House projects that serve low-income individuals and low-income areas. NCB Capital Impact serves as administrator for the loan fund and seeks investors to leverage RWJF funding in any one project by a ratio of 4-to-1. The investment was part of RWJF’s larger $100 million “impact capital” commitment designed to help the Foundation and its grantees leverage funding from multiple sources and spread innovative solutions that improve health and health care for all Americans.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter or Facebook

About The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States, provides approximately $100 million in annual grants to nonprofits that provide direct services to low-income and vulnerable individuals and families, primarily in the U.S. and Israel. Grants are focused on meeting basic needs and enhancing an individual’s ability to meet those needs, with emphasis on older adults, the Jewish community, and our hometown communities including Maryland, northeastern Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Israel, and the Former Soviet Union. For more information, please go to

About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, strengthen communities, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is AARP’s affiliated charity. Learn more at

About NCB Capital Impact
NCB Capital Impact helps people and communities reach their highest potential at every stage of life. As a Congressionally chartered, District of Columbia, non-profit community development finance institution, Capital Impact provides financial services and technical assistance nationwide to help make high-quality health care, healthy foods, housing, and education more accessible and attainable, and eldercare more dignified and respectful. Capital Impact has used its depth of experience, cooperative approach, and diverse network of alliances to generate over $1.825 billion in critical investments that create a high quality of life for low income people and communities.

About The Green House Project
The Green House Project is a radically new, national model for skilled-nursing care that returns control, dignity and a sense of well-being to elders, their families and direct care staff. In the Green House model, residents receive care in small, self-contained homes organized to deliver individualized care, meaningful relationships and better direct care jobs through a self-managed team of direct care staff working in cross-trained roles. Green House homes meet all state and federal regulatory and reimbursement criteria for skilled nursing facilities.