When Ernie Gralia Jr. and his wife, Rose Marie Gralia, founded what would become The Arbors Gives Back in 1966, they did so with the goal of making a difference in people’s lives. With a family-first and community-driven focus, the Gralias built schools, nursing homes, and several housing developments for the elderly.
Today, the third generation is running The Arbors’ 11 assisted living and memory care communities. Raised with a well-established work ethic and the drive to heavily invest in their communities, cousins and co-owners Sara Robertson and Amie Hanrahan are carrying on their grandparents’ legacy through The Arbors Gives Back.
Affecting Positive Change
When Sondra Jones became the Marketing Director at The Arbors at Chicopee back in 2008, she started looking for ways to connect the assisted living residents with the local community.
“The residents want to give back, and I wanted to give back, too,” says Jones, who is now the Chief Marketing Officer for The Arbors. “It was important to get our name out there and do good with it.”
Along with then-Executive Director Lisa Holt, fellow employees, residents, and local businesses, Jones planned a dinner dance fundraising event called A Night to Remember. The event raised more than $3,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association — and with that, The Arbors Gives Back charity was officially born.
A nonprofit, philanthropic organization dedicated to raising funds to serve the needs of the local community, The Arbors Gives Back reflects the mission of The Arbors as a family-owned and -operated business.
“At The Arbors, we strive to enrich the lives of our residents,” Robertson says. “Our efforts to maintain an active profile in the community reflects this goal. We believe that our residents receive a sense of purpose and well-being when they can affect positive change.”
Supporting Local Communities
Since its founding, The Arbors’ assisted living and memory care communities have hosted craft fairs, raffles, knitting groups, and walking clubs — all organized and staffed by dedicated residents, employees, and families and all benefiting the local communities. Here’s a look at some of the most memorable Arbors Give Back events over the past decade.
The Arbors Gives Back Golf Tournaments
Since 2008, The Arbors Gives Back Golf Tournaments have raised more than $120,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association.
5K for Noble’s Comprehensive Breast Care Program
In 2013, The Arbors at Westfield presented Noble Hospital’s Comprehensive Breast Care Program with $4,000 to support the program’s work in the field of women's health.
“The Arbors is a firm believer in the importance of giving back to the community,” Jones says. “The Burk Women’s Imaging Center and the Comprehensive Breast Program at Noble Hospital are both important parts of the Westfield community. Breast cancer touches so many lives.”
Spring Sip and Shop Fundraiser
In 2016, The Arbors at Chicopee hosted a Spring Sip and Shop event in honor of Mother’s Day and raised more than $1,000 for the Alzheimer's Association. Seventeen local vendors displayed items for sale, and more than 50 people shopped for the cause.
Bucks for BRCA Fundraiser
Last year, The Arbors Gives Back held a Bucks for BRCA fundraiser to support life-saving research at the BRCA Foundation.
10K and 2-Mile Family Walk Fundraiser
In May, which is Lupus Awareness Month, The Arbors Gives Back hosted a 10K and 2-mile family walk in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. More than 150 community members participated, and the event raised over $15,000 for the Lupus Foundation of America.
“We had so many families come out to support people they knew who suffer from the disease,” Robertson says. “The feedback has been beyond positive, and we have been asked numerous times to do this event again.”
The Arbors Gives Back also regularly raises funds for local organizations, including Meals on Wheels, homeless and women’s shelters, and senior centers.
“Our focus is to raise money for causes and foundations that our employees and company feel are either meaningful to an individual or within our industry,” Robertson says.
Believing in the Power of Giving
A big portion of The Arbors Gives Back is the holiday charity The Arbors Believes. Each year, the nonprofit holds a calendar sale, with all proceeds going to The Arbors Believes. Through The Arbors Believes, each Arbors assisted living and memory care community chooses a local community charity to donate clothes, food, and gifts.
Last year, The Arbors at Amherst residents donated holiday gifts to Jessie’s House, a shelter for families experiencing homelessness. Amherst Executive Director, Karen Walters-Zucco, purchased items from a list of requested donated gifts, and residents and staff wrapped and delivered the presents.
“This was important to us because one of our staff was actually living in the shelter with her two children,” Walters-Zucco says. “We really felt like this was something we wanted to do. It was heartfelt.”
Alicia Dessereau, Marketing Director of The Arbors at Westfield, says her community’s residents make crafts throughout the year that they then sell at a craft fair every December. All the proceeds go to the Westfield Senior Center.
“We believe the desire to serve is innately human and knows no age,” Robertson says. “The Arbors Gives Back echoes The Arbors’ mission to serve the needs of our residents by helping them to serve the needs of the community.”
Are you looking for a senior living community that has the same values as you and heavily invests in their communities? Request more information to learn why The Arbors is the provider of choice for all assisted living and memory care communities in the area.