Green House Blog

Living the Life You Love in The Green House home

Cheryl Van Bemdem is the guide at Porter Hills in Grand Rapids, MI.  She is speaking at The Green House Annual Meeting, a gathering exclusive to Green House adopters, on the value of The Peer Network.  The Green House Project is comprised of organizations around the country who are leaders in long term care.  Being a part of The Peer Network means becoming a part of something that is bigger than yourself.  Not only are you investing in a proven brand known for clinical quality, satisfaction and a strong business case, but also in a national platform that will amplify your mission.  See below for a blog post that Cheryl wrote in 2012 about an elder who lived a meaningul life in The Green House homes:

When Helen moved into The Green House homes, we found out that she has always been a hostess, and that she loved to plan parties. Her favorite party to plan was on the 4th of July so when she moved here, she asked if she could have the party here. Of course we said yes!

She sent out elaborate invitations to all the elders, their family, the staff and her friends…Since the RSVPs went to her, we were not totally sure how many guests to expect! 150 people ended up attending her party, and She planned the whole thing with some assistance from her family.

Since this memorable party, Helen’s health has declined, and she is now supported on hospice, but even so, she continues to plan parties with the shahbazim and other members of the home. It is important that she is able to continue doing what is meaningful to her in the present and we love hearing about all the parties she had in the past (ex. the pool party where some guests “lost” their bathing suits!).


Bill Thomas' Second Wind Tour– an inspired look at the future of aging, wellness and growth

Dr. Bill Thomas, internationally recognized expert on aging and founder of The Green House model, is bringing a radical new approach to growth and aging through a national “non-fiction” theatrical tour produced in partnership with AARP’s Life Reimagined, Capital Impact Partners, and more than three dozen sponsor organizations, including THE GREEN HOUSE® Project.

Inspired by Thomas’ new book examining the baby boom generation’s reluctant generational second coming of age—“Second Wind:  Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper and More Connected Life” (named by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the Top 10 Social Science books of 2014)—the Second Wind Tour will bring a unique “non-fiction” theater experience blending the spoken word, innovative set design, film, and music to 25-cities in the spring of 2014.

“The Tour is really a companion to the book’s ‘second wind’ theme in that it challenges the conventional narrative of decline in mid-life and beyond,” Dr. Thomas said. “I want people to see, hear, feel, and connect to the power that arises from finding a ‘second wind’ in life.”Audiences will be taken on a holistic exploration that draws on a deep well of evidence-based approaches to growth, change, aging, health, and wellness. The goal of the tour is to start a new conversation that reframes “life after adulthood” as an exciting stage of human growth and development—a time for challenging received attitudes toward aging.

For more information about the tour and tickets, visit  The Second Wind Tour Website or contact Margaret Stansbury at The Green House Project,, 703-647-2311.






REGISTER TODAY! Complimentary Green House Workshop in New Jersey (CEUs available)

The Green House Project invites you to attend a 1.5 day Workshop on June 5 (12-5) and June 6 (8:00-12:00). The Green House Workshop Presentation will provide a “seeing is believing” experience complete with all the information necessary to bring this transformative model to your community. The event will be held at Green Hill in West Orange, the first Green House Project in New Jersey.

Susan Frazier, Chief Operating Officer of The Green House Project, will discuss current trends in long-term care, the core values of the Green House model, the model’s clinical and financial outcomes, and the latest research about this cutting edge model of care.

Toni Davis, President and Executive Director of Green Hill, will share her experience in bringing the model to her community, and attendees will have a chance to visit The Green House homes, talking with staff and elders who are living this model everyday.

Come join us to learn how you can join the revolution of changing aging! Even if The Green House model is not in your immediate plans, you will not want to miss the compelling reasons why the Green House financial and market performance will make it part of the future of skilled nursing care. Bring your questions and join us for an engaging session and strategic discussion.

Please RSVP to Maura Porcelli (703) 647-2311 if you can attend. Or you can register on The Green House website. NHA CEUs are available for this event

The Green House Business Case Toolkit

For the past several years, the provider community has been asking The Green House Project for more information about the financial performance of the model. The Green House Project has recently created a business case model that is compelling and which answers many outstanding questions. In addition, it also includes recent Consumer Research that helps explain the high value that consumers place on core features of the Green House model. In today’s long term care market, success for nursing home operators depends on having an efficient model that gives consumers what they want in a way that stands out against the other options available.

The Green House model does exactly that. The model’s dramatic reinvention of long-term care has proven to be immediately recognizable and preferred by residents and their families. The Green House model radically transforms the environment, organization and philosophy of long-term care to create a model that looks and feels like a real home. Over the last decade, Green House homes have set a new standard for quality care with a model that is both proven and practical. Today, there are hundreds of Green House homes open or in development in the majority of states.

The Business Case Toolkit includes a high level brochure, a full business case report and a 12 minute video, designed to answer your questions about the financial viability of The Green House model. The Green House model makes sense not only from a quality of life perspective, but also from a business perspective. Operating a Green House home can increase the occupancy and revenue while keeping the costs the same, compared to the traditional nursing home. And more importantly, the strong financial benefits of The Green House model can enhance your organization’s ability to meet its quality and service mission.

To download the Business Case Toolkit, click here. If you have additional thoughts or questions, please call Maura Porcelli at 703-637-2311.

The Green House Project included in Social Impact Exchange Index of High Impact Non-Profits

New national index, comparable to the S&P 500, has the potential to transform charitable giving

NEW YORK, November 15, 2012 — Today, the Social Impact Exchange launched the Social Impact 100 (S&I 100) (, the first-ever, broad index of U.S. nonprofits with proof of results and a high potential to reach even more people. Modeled on aspects of the S&P 500, the S&I 100 aggregates top-performing, evidence-based nonprofits so that funders – donors and foundations – can have confidence that they are contributing to organizations that consistently deliver impact.

The S&I 100 tracks the number of people served across the portfolio of these top nonprofits the same way the S&P 500 tracks the profitability of America’s large-cap companies. Donors are able to give directly to nonprofits in the S&I 100.

“Right now, donors have no easy way of knowing which nonprofits are truly effective at helping people in need, which means that fewer charitable dollars are going to those programs that can do the most good,” said Alex Rossides, president of the Social Impact Exchange. “The S&I 100 changes that. By taking the guesswork out of giving, the S&I 100 has the potential to transform individual philanthropy the same way the S&P 500 changed investing for individual investors.”

The S&I 100 is the most comprehensive donation platform of only evidence-based, growing nonprofits available to donors. Donors can choose from 100 high-impact nonprofits and nearly 16,000 local affiliates that are implementing their solutions. The Index features models that address the country’s most pressing issues across education, health, youth and poverty. The 100 nonprofits are rigorously screened for evidence of impact through third-party verified studies – made available to donors on the website – and are only included in the Index if they have the ability to serve more people in need. When donors visit the site, they are able to search for high performing nonprofits in the issue areas and locations that they care about most. Once they select a nonprofit, the S&I 100 allows donors to give directly to the organization in a few quick and easy steps. The number of organizations on the S&I 100 will grow as the Social Impact Exchange continues to reach out and identify additional nonprofits that meet the S&I 100’s criteria.

According to a Money for Good survey, nine out of 10 donors say nonprofit performance is important. Until now, funders have not had an easy way of knowing if their dollars are doing the most good. Of the over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the country, there is a dearth of rigorous information donors can trust to tell them which are the highest performers and are growing their impact.

The S&I 100 was designed and implemented through a broad, sector-wide collaboration of evaluation firms, ratings firms and other leaders. Financial institutions, funder groups and other leading organizations are helping to share the Index with donors. The Social Impact Exchange will continue to collaborate with leading organizations and experts across the field to expand and improve the Index, and to help make the platform more accessible to donors. The aim is that as donors give to a variety of worthy causes, the S&I 100 will make it easier for them to contribute to nonprofits that they are both passionate about and that have evidence of impact.

Major foundations, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and others are supporting the Social Impact Exchange. The Social Impact Exchange is also working with donor advised funds, such as Schwab Charitable, to offer the S&I 100 to their philanthropic clients.

To find out more about the S&I 100, please visit:

About the Social Impact Exchange
The Social Impact Exchange is a national membership association dedicated to building a capital marketplace that scales high-impact social solutions to improve the lives of millions. The Exchange creates the conditions for breakthroughs to go big in order to deliver impact where it is needed most. Together, Exchange members are making it easier for philanthropic giving to achieve major positive change by supporting strategies that improve lives and change systems. By creating standards to evaluate impact, identifying and tracking highly effective nonprofits, and fostering significant collaborative funding to scale up top social interventions, the Exchange helps foundations, donors, business, and government increase the power of giving to achieve greater social good. To learn more, visit

Grow Where You Are Planted

Written by: Cyd Mason, LCSW Green House Guide
VA Illiana Health Care System


On a mid-summer afternoon Veteran Thomas M. Booher (Korean War) sat looking out the front window of Liberty House (one of VA Illiana Health Care System’s Green House homes) at the front yard.  As the Guide I visit the Green House homes with regularity and on this day I pulled up a chair and asked him what he thought about the landscaping.  To my surprise I learned that Mr. Booher had a Bachelor’s Degree in Botany from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He pointed out that there was one tree in particular that was “too close to the house.”  He said, “as that tree grows it will destroy the foundation of this house.  It’s a Burr Oak and they get very large.  You have to remember there’s more under the ground than what you can see.  Trees have an extensive root system and that’s why one day the foundation and the roof will be damaged.  You really need to remove it and plant something smaller near the house.”

Korean War Veteran, Thomas M. Booher, Botanist and resident of Liberty House (one of VA Illiana Health Care System’s Green House homes).

Veteran Thomas M. Booher’s expertise was shared with our Green House leadership and with our staff that maintains and cares for our landscaping.  Several weeks later the Burr tree was removed and transplanted in the backyard and two crab trees were added to the front of Liberty House.  Their small stature of twelve feet will not interfere with the house foundation or its roof.  We owe a big “Thank you” to Mr. Booher for making us aware of this potential future problem!

We talked about his career  in designing and building custom homes.  “Impressive,“ I  thought.  He said, “That’s the hardest way to make an easy living!”  He grinned ear to ear as he shared that with me.

Our conversation turned to his experience living in Liberty House.  He said, “It’s just absolutely great here and that goes along with the staff.  This couldn’t work without them (shahbazim).  I can’t say anymore than that – that and with one of our RNs who ‘can spin a tale!’”

We are fortunate to have Mr. Booher residing in Liberty House.  He enjoys sharing his knowledge of plant life, music and a good joke now and then.  In the past ten months of living in Liberty House I have seen Mr. Booher “open up” and “blossom” with his fellow Veterans around the dinner table and with the  shahbazim and one RN in particular.  We truly see the building of relationships in Liberty House.  Mr. Booher is one very fine example of why embracing the Green House model was the “right thing to do.”


THE GREEN HOUSE® Project works with local organizations to transform the way we deliver nursing home care in America – moving from institutional programs to real homes offering licensed nursing home services, control, and meaningful lives to people of all incomes with skilled nursing needs. The Green House Project is a joint initiative between NCB Capital Impact, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Dr. William Thomas. Capital Impact provides technical consulting services and financing opportunities to organizations interested in implementing Green House homes. To learn more, Click Here for the fact sheet

Porter Hills Green House homes awarded 2012 Goodwill Industries Power of Work Innovator of the Year

Porter Hills Green House® Homes is honored to be awarded the 2012 Goodwill Industries Power of Work Innovator of the Year Award. Porter Hills has partnered with Goodwill Industries for 15 years to provide individuals with Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training. When the Green House® Homes opened three years ago, Sue Kinney the CNA Program Manager and Instructor approached Cheryl VanBemden, Guide, about offering clinical training opportunities in the GHH. Sue believed exposing students to the traditional nursing home model and the Green House® Homes would provide greater opportunities for success to both students of Goodwill and Porter Hills. Porter Hills has hired 12 Goodwill graduates and continues to employ 11 of the individuals. Greg Booth is one of the graduates of Goodwill Industries. Greg exemplifies the character of individuals we desire to employ. He made a decision to change his career path and utilize the training program through Goodwill because of the support provided. Greg has been employed at Porter Hills for just over a year, and it has truly been a rewarding relationship for everyone involved. We are thankful to have partners like Goodwill to assist in giving back to our community and helping others succeed.

The 'Porter Hills Singers' Get To Know Us

This year’s Annual Meeting and Celebration was filled with many celebrations and growing together as we learned to create true meaningful life and engagement.  This year we were incredibly fortunate to be graced with the beautiful music of The Porter Hills Singers.  This incredibly talented group of elders sang us familiar tunes that really got the crowd engaged by encouraging us all to sing along!  We were all left with smiles on our faces and music in our ears that continued throughout the rest of the Annual Meeting and Celebration.  Thank you Porter Hills Singers!

Video streaming by Ustream

The ‘Porter Hills Singers’ Get To Know Us

This year’s Annual Meeting and Celebration was filled with many celebrations and growing together as we learned to create true meaningful life and engagement.  This year we were incredibly fortunate to be graced with the beautiful music of The Porter Hills Singers.  This incredibly talented group of elders sang us familiar tunes that really got the crowd engaged by encouraging us all to sing along!  We were all left with smiles on our faces and music in our ears that continued throughout the rest of the Annual Meeting and Celebration.  Thank you Porter Hills Singers!

Video streaming by Ustream

White Oaks Cottages Launch their new Website

White Oak Cottages, an assisted living Green House residence in Westwood, MA for elders living with memory loss, has launched its website.Just as the White Oak Cottages’ mission and emphasis is to cater the complex needs of residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, the new White Oak Cottages website caters to the needs of its viewers. It’s clean, aesthetically pleasing, informative and easy to read.

The website focuses on education for the viewer. Visitors will learn about The Green House Project and its mission and what makes a Green House Residence so different from traditional assisted living residences and nursing homes. The website will feature a calendar of upcoming educational events at White Oak. These onsite programs include a professional speakers series, family support sessions and CEU programs. The website will also feature a blog dedicated to providing useful, relevant and compassionate information to families, professionals and others interested in dementia. Blog content will be updated weekly and will cover a variety of topics including explanations of dementia behaviors, putting mass media news stories about Alzheimer’s and dementia into an informed context, ideas for taking day trips and activities with your memory impaired loved one, and a down and dirty explanation of a clinical trial.

For more information, to sign up for their email newsletter or to plan a visit go to

Social Media and Livestreaming: Creating True Meaningful Engagement for Green House Adopters and Supporters

Social media and online channels serve as effective platforms to share best practices and support. The main platforms that The Green House Project has to leverage are the website and blog, The Green House Project Facebook Page, and the GreenHouse_Proj twitter account.  By sharing photos, stories and updates about our member organizations in an interactive way, we help to create a community of support and share our adopters’ individual cultures with the world.  

During The 5th Annual Green House Meeting and Celebration, there will be many opportunities for our adopters to share their experiences through writing short articles on our blog, posting photos on our facebook page, and tweeting quotes and highlights through #GHP

There are a few sessions throughout the meeting that will be livestreamed on The Green House Blog.  These opportunities will be predominantly linked on the homepage of The Green House website.  The keynote speeches and other videos will be available to watch, on demand from the blog shortly after the broadcast.   Please encourage your colleagues and others to tune in, and don’t forget to follow #GHP September 5th-7th!

CLICK HERE to view the livestreaming schedule.