History & Origins

A Kendal-Inspired Network of Elder Communities for Climate Action

Our Brief History

In early 2020, Kendal at Hanover resident Margaret Powell invited several peers – Mary Burton, Larry Daloz, Dulany Bennett, Stu White and others – to discuss our concerns about climate. After getting the names of the President of every Kendal Residents Council, we contacted them and asked for the names of residents who were most involved in climate issues and the heads of any committee dedicated to environmental issues. We were able to contact people at most of the Kendal campuses to see if they were interested in starting a cross-campus initiative. By June, we had a group of 50 residents across 8 Kendal CCRs who were meeting regularly and getting to work. This new team adopted the name “All Kendal Residents Climate Initiative (AKRCI).”

At the beginning of August, our original Co-Chairs, Mary Burton and Larry Daloz, met with our Executive Director to explain what we were doing. It was out of this conversation that the idea for our three existing Project Teams- Greening Our Campuses, Advocacy, and Education- were born. Mary and Larry detailed AKRCI’s monthly reports to the Residents Council, which had begun in June. They emphasized that we were a group comprised of all the Kendal CCRCs, which prevented us from acting as a committee of any individual Residents Council and limited our access to funding and resources. This point further illustrated AKRCI’s independence, since all previous organizations and committees formed by Kendal residents had acted as subsidiaries of their Residents Council.

After this pivotal August meeting, AKRCI wrote a letter to the Kendal Corporation Board and a special planning committee made up of all the Kendal Executive Directors and Board Chairs, which was formed to revise the mission and goals of the corporation. Our letter- signed by over 500 residents from the 8 Kendal CCRCs we worked with- urged the groups to revise the environmental goals for the Kendal Corporation, making them stronger and more urgent. The full text of the letter can be read above.

As more people move from the sidelines and onto the court, our network and influence will expand. To commemorate our growth, we have moved to establish our cross-campus initiative as an independent 501(c)3 and change our name to “Senior Stewards Acting for the Environment (SSAFE).”

Letter To The Kendal Coporation

Submitted on December 14th, 2020

From its founding in 1973 the Kendal Corporation has been a leader among the nation’s most progressive CCRCs. Its grounding in Quaker values and its constant, quiet support of all the Kendal campuses help set and maintain exemplary standards for us all.

We write you out of urgent concern for the most pressing and consequential challenge humankind has ever faced. In 2018 climate scientists concluded that we must reduce emissions 50% by 2030 to avoid massive extinctions, universal coral death, health crises at the scale of Covid-19, widespread political and economic instability, and the deepening horror that the Black, brown, and poor people who’ve done the least to warm the world suffer first and most.

Hence, along with other organizations and communities, major religious groups now stress creation care. Pope Francis, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation back carbon pricing, The Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, Buddhist leaders, Jewish groups (CEJL), and the National Council of Churches support aggressive action to slow global warming.

The climate crisis has become so dire that even former doubters like oil companies, chambers of commerce, and the Republican Congressional leadership now support carbon pricing or other aggressive ways to cut emissions, an imperative no longer debated in substance, only in degree.

We as elders, and you as board members, have a heightened awareness of our responsibility to the health and welfare of our children, grandchildren, and the future of our planet. This moment presents an exceptional opportunity for the Kendal community to serve as a model for CCRCs everywhere to address climate change.

Therefore, in the spirit of Quaker collaboration and consensus-building, we Kendal residents seek the Board’s assistance in developing a shared commitment among the Kendal Corporation and the residents, administrators, and staffs of its affiliates to address the climate crisis in ways aligned with the IPCC recommendations; specifically, that the board will:

  1. Support and encourage each Kendal affiliate to set carbon reduction goals, such as cutting emissions by at least 50% by 2030 and achieving net carbon neutrality no later than 2050;
  2. Help establish interim benchmarks and monitoring systems to measure progress; and
  3. Seek ways to assist each Kendal affiliate to achieve these goals and targets.

Respectfully submitted,

On behalf of the over 500 Kendal residents from eight affiliates who signed this letter