Cutting-edge research on aging. A stronger revenue stream to support more programs. And a continued emphasis on vibrant living in life’s later years.

Dan Mustard, the new executive director of Mill Race Center, sees all that and more on the horizon for the nonprofit activity hub for the area’s 50-plus population. That demographic represents the largest age group — 34 percent — in Bartholomew County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Probably the biggest area that’s been changing for us is the picture with donors,” Mustard said. “The days are gone for many of the large, readily available corporate sponsorships. So we still need to do whatever we can do to find ways to be less dependent on donor dollars.”

One big focus will be seeking ways to boost the center’s income by developing new fee-based services, although he’s uncertain yet what those might be.

A February merger with Senior Products, which includes an industrial rag-making operation, was one financial boost. Those steps are especially significant since Mustard mentioned at the center’s May annual meeting that the agency is operating with an $8,000 budget deficit that should be eliminated in about a year.

While the center has been trimming expenses, it also aims to add programs to expand its impact.

Mustard is especially excited about the Pitman Institute for Aging Well.

It launched in May 2015 under the center’s umbrella to focus partly on research and learning opportunities as a think tank. Already, national speakers who have visited have expressed interest in using local seniors in national studies on issues such as brain health, Mustard said.

He sees that as huge for the institute and for the center.

“Brain health is one of the scariest aspects of aging for many people,” Mustard said.
For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.