Archived Grant Applications

Covington Ladies Home dba Victorian at Riverside

702 Garrard Street
Covington, Kentucky 41011
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Carrie VanDerzee

Contact Person if not President or Executive Director

Benita Rubio

Grants Specialist

Grant Request ($ Amount)


Project Title

Building Our Future, Expanding Our Impact

Project Begin Date


Project End Date



Carrie VanDerzee





1. Describe the proposal in a detailed narrative of services and benefits it will provide in improving standards of living and opportunities, meeting social purposes or responding to needs.

We are the Covington Ladies Home, a personal-care residence for elderly women, serving the community since 1886. We request $20,000 to buy furnishings for our new, handicap-accessible wing that will provide safety and health comparable to for-profit facilities, while expanding our capacity to serve disabled, elderly women of limited means.

We fill a critical need in the region’s safety net for elderly women who are no longer safe to live alone due to physical disability or dementia. Inside our home, residents find friendship, respectful individualized care, and comfort among their peers. We provide every resident a comfortable private room, three balanced meals daily, 24-hour nursing support, housekeeping, laundry, planned activities, and a sense of community. Each resident has use of the front parlors, dining room, porches and gardens, and beauty shop.

We operate the only free-standing, personal care home exclusively for women in Kentucky. Our revenue comes from the modest rents that we collect, supplemented by support from a generous giving community that understands the unique service we provide to families in the area.

Well-maintained and cheerful, our Victorian-era home is outdated with dormitory-style bathrooms at the end of each hall, irregular flooring, and uneven heating and cooling. In 2015, we determined that we must build anew to remain relevant in today’s care environment. Future residents and their families expect private bathrooms, communal gathering areas, and safe outdoor spaces, as well as wheelchair accessibility. These modern amenities are no longer luxuries for those who can afford them; they are imperatives for the health, safety, and dignity of the elderly. We planned the construction of a new care wing, attached to our historic building, that would provide these amenities, as well as increasing our capacity from the current 18 residents to 40 residents. We began fundraising for the $5.75 million project and received a generous gift of $20,000 for the new garden from the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation in 2018.

Construction began in October 2019. Residents will remain in the historic building during construction, then will have first choice of the private rooms in the new wing when it opens in 2021. After the residents move to the new wing, the historic building will continue to serve the residents on its first floor in the existing parlors and the expanded dining room.

The amenities in the new wing will enable us to charge a competitive rate for rent, which will generate income to operate our nonprofit and fulfill our mission to serving women in need. With this expansion, the Covington Ladies Home has renamed the facility as the Victorian at Riverside, reflecting our legacy in the community. The modern facility will provide quality, affordable housing and personal care to more elderly women, where they can live a meaningful life with as much independence as possible, avoiding or delaying admission to a nursing home.

2. Attach your Project Budget.


3. Provide a narrative that clearly defines how Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation funds will be used and accounted for in relation to the Narrative above. Provide the start dates and timelines for tasks.

The cost of the new wing is $5.75 million. The budget for furnishings, fixtures, and equipment in the new wing is $325,000, of which we have budgeted $41,100 for dining room furniture, and $16,658 for furniture for two new parlors. We request $20,000 toward the purchase of dining room furniture and furniture for two new parlors. All items are to specification for elderly residential application.

Construction of the new wing began in 2019 and will be complete in Spring or early Summer 2021. The furnishings will need to be installed before our residents move next door into the new wing. Thank you so much for your consideration.

12 dining tables x $800 each = $9,600
45 dining chairs x $700 each = $31,500
2 parlor sofas x $2,400 each = $4,800
4 lounge chairs x $1,600 each = $6,400
2 bariatric chairs x $850 each = $1,700
2 round side tables x $600 each = $1,200
2 square side tables x $629 each = $1,258
2 oval cocktail tables x $650 each = $1,300


4. Describe your agency’s service area with regard to population, cultural, racial and ethnic makeup.

Although we have no residency requirement for admission, most residents come from Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties in Northern Kentucky. Kenton County, however, covers 160 square miles of urban, suburban, and rural areas, and our residents reflect this cultural and economic diversity. Broadly speaking, Northern Kentucky is 93 percent white, 4 percent Black, and 3 percent Hispanic.

5. Indicate total number of paid staff and total number of volunteers.

We employ 24 paid staff.

The year 2019 was typical with 100 volunteers providing 1395 hours of support for programs. The year 2020 is atypical due to Covid-19—to shelter residents from infection, the home is closed to visitors. For the time being, many of the services and activities that had been provided by volunteers are now provided by direct-care nursing staff and by management.

6. List the goals and objectives of your agency.

1. Provide residents with as much independence as possible, avoiding or delaying admission to a nursing home.
2. Provide affordable housing for all.

1. Increase resident comfort, safety, and handicap accessibility to maintain independence.
2. Increase capacity to serve low-income women.
3. Increase private-pay residents to generate income to operate our nonprofit.
4. Reduce draw on endowment principal in order to extend benefits to more women.


7. Describe why this project is needed and how it implements the purpose of the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation.

More elderly women live in poverty than do men of the same age, and living longer than men, live longer in poverty. In Northern Kentucky, among the elderly, nearly twice as many women live in poverty as do men. Lower lifetime income contributes to women’s impoverishment, caused by wage disparity for equal work, traditional occupations that pay less, and time taken off work for caregiving. Many elderly women remain at home in unsafe/unsanitary conditions, become homeless, or admit to a nursing home.

We see the effects of poverty and poor health. Some of our residents have suffered homelessness, abuse, neglect, exploitation, physical and cognitive decline, or mental illness. In partnership with St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Kentucky Adult Protective Services, some women have arrived directly from the hospital emergency room. When new residents first arrive, they are often malnourished, taking medication incorrectly, and suffering from loneliness and depression. Our first objective is to help them feel at home while improving nutrition and regulating medication. Once the resident is stable, the staff works to improve her socialization and get her involved in activities. The goal is to improve or stabilize the resident's physical and mental health, providing her with as much independence as possible.

8. How did you identify the need that is addressed by the proposed project?

For generations, our facility—known for the quality of care—was always at capacity, a mix of private-pay and those in need. Although our mission is to serve low-income women, ours was also the facility of choice among families of all economic means.

To cover the cost of care for the neediest residents, the founders had established an endowment fund to “bridge the gap” between what residents pay in rent and the actual cost of their care. No resident leaves for lack of funds. However, new construction of for-profit communities has lured private-pay prospects away from our facility, leaving too many who require our subsidy and forcing us to draw from the endowment principal. Our building is outdated, and without modern amenities we cannot compete with for-profits, burdening our endowment to care for only the neediest. We will close, and elderly women will be denied access to affordable care as the for-profit market goes unchallenged.

In 2015, we determined that we must build anew to remain relevant in today’s care environment. Although construction of the expansion wing is well underway, it is critical that we continue to fundraise in order to preserve a portion of the endowment that our residents will need for their care well into the future.

9. Does any other organization in your community serve this need?

We are licensed by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG)—an agency of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services—to operate a "personal care home," providing continuous supervision of residents, basic health and health-related services, personal care services, residential care services, and social and recreational activities. We operate the only free-standing, personal care home exclusively for women in Kentucky. Our facility has earned *zero deficiencies* on “state surveys” (unannounced, licensed-facility inspections) for the last five years, 2015-present.

St. Charles Community in Covington also operates a nonprofit personal care wing, for men and women, offering quality care in a new facility with modern amenities. Opened in 2010, the philosophy of care was modeled on that of Covington Ladies Home. St. Charles, however, offers no financial assistance to residents in need.

In contrast to licensed care, assisted-living facilities are “certified” to provide a “social model of care” by the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL). The resident’s contract with an assisted-living facility is limited to “a landlord-tenant relationship.” It falls to residents’ adult children to provide direct care, or to coordinate care through home-health agencies and private-duty caregivers. When Kentucky’s assisted-living industry emerged in Louisville 20-odd years ago, it successfully avoided the responsibility of care, the cost of skilled labor to provide that care, and oversight from a licensing authority—hence, the “certification” to operate by DAIL.

For-profit chains of assisted-living facilities prey upon prospective residents’ waning independence and fear of disability, cherry-picking the families with the resources to stave off admission to a nursing home. Covington Ladies Home needs a modern facility to compete with the for-profits.

10. If so, what distinguishes your agency’s services from others?

For 134 years, our care model has remained the same, to provide housing and personal care for elderly women in a warm, homelike, and socially stimulating environment. Northern Kentucky offered few options for residential care beyond nursing homes, which merely warehoused the elderly in hospital-like institutions.

We have always delivered what is known today as “person-centered care,” a full century before this philosophy became evidence-based practice: the resident is more than her disability and diagnosis and has her own perception of reality. We create a supportive environment for her that includes caring relationships among residents, families and staff; that provides opportunities for engagement within the facility and with the outside community; and that periodically reassesses her needs and adapts to them.

Evidence also supports the “household model of care,” referring to a homelike environment, as well as to the empowerment of staff to respond to the needs of residents. It’s in our mission statement.

Every care facility’s website now describes what is essentially person-centered care in a household environment—promising meaningful relationships, activities, personal choice, and independence amid physical and cognitive disability. Every for-profit knows the peace of mind that families seek; what is often lacking is the will to deliver. The cost of labor is high to provide quality care to disabled people 24-hours a day, and it would seem that the only “investors” with moral interest in resident wellbeing are charitable donors who recognize the unique service that a well-run nonprofit provides to the community.

Our leadership had the foresight to plan the new wing, expanding our capacity to serve. During the pandemic, we continue to provide employment in Covington’s urban core—skilled jobs with benefits and no layoffs—we are in fact preoccupied with providing direct care and safety to this highest-risk population, elderly women, who would otherwise be homeless or living alone in unsafe/unsanitary conditions and vulnerable to infection and death. Construction on the new wing—deemed essential—continues, providing jobs in the region.

When the region emerges from the pandemic, our facility will play a role in the community's recovery—elderly women who have lost health, income, housing, or caregivers will avoid the costly care of a nursing home that burdens the Commonwealth’s response to severe economic hardship, caused by COVID-19.


11. Describe how you will measure outcomes of this proposal.

1. Increase residents’ comfort, safety, and accessibility.
1a. Assess resident satisfaction via survey before and after the move.
1b. Assess residents’ family/caregiver satisfaction via survey before and after the move.
1c. Monitor resident weight monthly for “no unexplained weight loss,” an overall indicator of health.

2. Increase capacity.
The new wing will increase residential capacity from the current 18 residents to 40.

3. Measure occupancy.
By the third year of occupancy in the new wing we project 38 residents, or 95 percent of capacity.

4. Increase income from private-pay residents.
Nearly fifty percent of residents in the new wing will pay full rent.

5. Eliminate draw on endowment principal.
By the third year of occupancy in the new wing we will no longer draw from the endowment principal to provide support for the residents.

12. After the grant funds are expended, describe how you will assure continuation of grant-funded services or equipment maintenance.

As the generation of baby boomers ages, there is demand for personal-care housing in Northern Kentucky, and the vacancy rate in the market is low. In 2016, the board contracted for market and feasibility studies revealing that a “right sized” facility would increase capacity to 40 residents and would serve a payor mix of those who would pay full rent and those needing help, while retaining the atmosphere of a small, vibrant, social community in a homelike environment—in other words, restoring our care community to profitability and to prominence in the area.

The board developed a strategic plan to put the home’s resources to best use—to build a modern care wing on land we own, while continuing to use the first floor of the Victorian home. The project received a Certificate of Need from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services in 2018, and construction began in October 2019.

Our personal care model stands as a testament that quality care need not be the exclusive right of the financially privileged. For-profit facilities in the area charge $6,000 to $7,000 a month for care similar as ours and will evict residents within 30 days of failure to pay rent—even those enrolled in hospice care. We will charge a modest $3,050 monthly rent for private-pay residents, while continuing to subsidize care for those in need. No resident leaves for lack of funds—when her money runs out, we cover her cost of care.

We are adjusting to the pandemic environment. It is an uncertain time, but to put anything on pause will harm our overall financial prospects and the work we are doing—to open the new wing that will serve more women. Access to care for aging baby boomers was already under pressure when we received a Certificate of Need for the new wing in 2018—we need to be flexible but stay the course and think long term.

Three factors together will ensure the financial success of the new wing: occupancy, resident payor mix, and prudent use of the endowment.


13. Attach your AGENCY BUDGET showing all financial resources.


14. What fees or charges are made by the organization for its services?

The cost to care for one resident is $4,500 a month. Currently, five residents pay full rent of $2,550 per month. Four residents pay sliding scale-rent based on their income. Eight Medicaid-eligible residents pay $1,243 a month (the amount set by the Commonwealth).

15. What percent of the organization’s budget is used for fund-raising?

Fundraising budget (development and marketing) = 5.05 percent.

16. What percent of the organization’s budget is used for administrative costs?

Administrative costs = 16.7 percent.

17. If applicant has received prior grants from the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation, provide dates, amounts, purposes and outcomes.

A gift of $7,000 in 2015 funded furnishings and supplies for our Dementia Busters program, a comprehensive program of treatments and environmental design adaptations recommended by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications for the symptoms and undesirable behaviors of dementia. One third of Americans over age 85 suffer from Alzheimer’s dementia; two thirds of these sufferers are women. The foundation’s one-time purchases continue to serve. Access to onsite treatment eases suffering from chronic pain and anxiety, reducing symptoms and behaviors, enabling residents to live a meaningful life with as much independence as possible in a warm and homelike community.

A gift of $20,000 in 2018 funded the Tranquility Garden, a part of the new enclosed courtyard that will be surrounded by residents’ private rooms on three sides and the expanded dining room on the fourth. Currently under construction, this secured outdoor space will enable residents to enjoy the outdoors independently, as well as providing a view of nature year around.

18. Attach your IRS 501(c)(3) tax designation letter.


19. Attach your 990 or 990-PF federal tax return.


20. Attach any additional documents you wish to include with this application.


Entry ID429

Entry DateJuly 28, 2020