History

Brother William Geenen
Brother William Geenen

"Working together we can accomplish great things."

Brother William Geenen, CSC
Founder, Senior Friendship Centers, Inc.

Founded in 1973 by Brother William Geenen, CSC, to help older adults in Southwest Florida live with dignity and independence, the Friendship Centers quickly led the way in developing innovative, cost-effective solutions to the challenges of aging. A belief in "People Helping People" focusing on volunteerism, has shaped the organization since its inception, creating a national model for the delivery of services to older adults.

Between 1988 and 1991, beautiful facilities were built in Sarasota and Venice, resulting in the first Senior Campuses in the country, where older adults could access a full range of programs and services from a single location. A state and nationally recognized leader in the field of aging, Senior Friendship Centers is at the forefront in developing innovative approaches to serve the needs of older adults. While programs and services vary, what began in Sarasota County three decades ago, today benefits thousands of older adults in the six counties we serve: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota.

Programs and services include:

  • Friendship Centers, filled with music and activities, to address the isolation and loneliness that often comes with age.
  • Nutritious meals, served in an atmosphere conducive to fellowship or delivered to the homebound by friendly volunteers, to provide nutritional services to older adults.
  • Health Services provide low-income older adults access to health care and opportuntties for retired physicians, dentists, nurses, clinic aides and secretaries to volunteer and share their talents.
  • Eldercare Services enable people to live at home with dignity and independence for as long as possible.
  • The Living Rooms Adult Day Services offers supervised activities for older adults and respite time for caregivers.

The spirit of People Helping People -- the foundation for this non-profit organization -- continues to shape a brighter future for older adults.

Timeline

  • Sept. 1, 1973: First Senior Friendship Center Opens in Sarasota
  • 1977: First Venice Nutrition Dining Site Opens
  • 1979: Services Expand to Lee County
  • 1983: Brother William Geenen Living Room opens in Sarasota
  • 1985: Senior Friendship Centers Health Services opens in Naples
  • 1988: The Friendship Center in Sarasota is Dedicated
  • 1990: Services expand to DeSoto County
  • 1991: Senior Friendship Centers campus in Venice is dedicated
  • 1992: Senior Friendship Centers Foundation is incorporated
  • 1993: Friendship Center Opens at Sarasota-Bradenton Airport
  • 1994: Newtown Community Center Satellite Center Opens
  • 1997: Pat Buster Dental Clinic Opens in Venice
  • 1998: SFC Lee County adds Elder Nutrition Program
  • 1999: SFC expands into Charlotte County
  • 2002: SFC Center for Healthy Aging is dedicated in Sarasota
  • 2003: SFC Celebrates its 30th Anniversary
    SFC Friendship Centers in Sarasota and Venice earn National Senior Center Accreditation through the National Council on Aging. They are among the first five Florida Senior Centers, and only non-profit)_ to be accredited.
  • 2004: SFC Assumes responsibility for RSVP Program in Charlotte County
  • 2005: SFC Center for Healthy Aging awarded inaugural Sapphire Award by Blue Foundation
  • 2006: SFC establishes Friendship Volunteer Center
  • 2007: SFC becomes Sarasota sponsor of the national Elderhostel program and establishes school of lifelong learning
    SFC begins the Friendship at Home Program in Charlotte County
  • 2008: Senior Friendship Centers Celebrates 35th Anniversary
    First Caregiver Resource Centers Open at SFC Sarasota and Venice
  • 2009: Senior Friendship Centers expands to six counties with the opening of the Manatee RSVP program (SFC's 4th RSVP Program - also in Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee Counties).SFC Lee celebrates 30 years.
  • 2010: Senior Friendship Centers Living Rooms Celebrate its 30th Anniversary
    Senior Friendship Centers in Sarasota & Venice earn National Senior Center re-Accreditation through National Council on Aging
    New website: friendshipcenters.org launched
    SFC launches Compeer Suncoast, a volunteer supported mental health program in Sarasota County
    SFC is featured in Ted Fishman's book Shock of Gray, about the aging of the world's population
  • 2011:  SFC Venice Celebrates 20th Anniversary
    Korean National Television Network visit SFC Sarasota to film documentary on aging
    Innovative nutrition program meal re-design receives statewide acclaim
    Friendship Health Clinic collier receives Human Services Award from Jewish Foundation
  • 2012: RSVP Sarasota and Manatee merge with headquarters in Sarasota
    Friendship Health Clinic Collier Medical Volunteers Honored with Diamond Award
  • 2013: Senior Friendship Centers Celebrates 40th Anniversary 
 

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A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1.800.435.7352 WITHIN THE STATE OR AT WWW.800HELPFLA.COM. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. 100% OF EACH CONTRIBUTION IS RETAINED BY THE FRIENDSHIP CENTERS. SENIOR FRIENDSHIP CENTERS, INC. SOLICITATION REGISTRATION NUMBER IS #SC-01576.

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