We are the Diverse Elders Coalition, and we represent the growing majority of older people in this country.

Who We Are

The Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) advocates for policies and programs that improve aging in our communities as racially and ethnically diverse people; American Indians and Alaska Natives; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people.

Together, we are made up of six national organizations representing a growing majority of millions of older people throughout the country: American Indian and Alaska Native Elders; Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian older adults; Black and African American older adults; Hispanic and Latinx older adults; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults. We have come together to promote policy changes and programmatic solutions that respond to this demographic shift and will remove the barriers facing our communities. We envision a world where all older adults can live full and active lives as they age.

What We Do

Founded in 2010, the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) advocates for policies and programs that improve aging in our communities as racially and ethnically diverse people; American Indians and Alaska Natives; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) people. In the decades to come, the communities represented by the DEC will collectively form the majority of older adults in the United States. The DEC is working to strengthen policies and programs to enhance the health and wellbeing of diverse elders, educating and connecting diverse older adults and their loved ones to key policy debates on aging, and increasing public support for issues that affect our communities.

Coalition Members

National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA)

NAPCA is the nation’s leading advocacy organization committed to the dignity, well-being and quality of life of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in their senior years.

Since 1979, NAPCA has been advocating on behalf of the AAPI aging community at the local, state and national levels; educating AAPI seniors and the general public on the unique needs of the APA aging community; and empowering AAPI seniors and the aging network to meet the increasing challenges facing the AAPI aging community. NAPCA has directly served tens of thousands of AAPI seniors who represent the fastest growing segment of the aging population in the country. From employment to welfare reform, from health care to long-term care, NAPCA gives AAPI seniors a seat at the table during a critical time when public policies threaten their dignity and quality of life.

National Caucus and Center on Black Aging (NCBA)
The National Caucus & Center on Black Aging, Inc. was founded in 1970 to ensure that the particular concerns of elderly minorities would be addressed in the then-upcoming 1971 White House Conference on Aging.

Since then, NCBA has helped protect and improve the quality of life for elderly populations, making certain that legislators, policy makers, philanthropists, advocacy groups, service organizations, thought leaders and the public at-large include minority seniors in their programs, policy- and law-making, and giving. NCBA is one of the country’s oldest organizations dedicated to aging issues and the only national organization devoted to minority and low-income aging.

National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)
NHCOA is the nation’s premier constituency-based organization that advocates, celebrates and enhances the quality of life for Hispanic older adults, their families and their communities.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, NHCOA empowers its national network of 42 community-based organizations (CBOs) in supporting a broader network of 7,000 individuals and reaching 10 million Hispanics each year. At the local level, NHCOA provides CBOs with training, technical assistance, sub-grants and access to the latest research and most effective programs. At the national level, NHCOA educates legislators on the aging community’s needs and contributions, and contributes to crafting permanent solutions for the public policy issues compromising the security, health, happiness and dignity of America’s fastest-growing senior population.

National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA)
NICOA was founded in 1976 by members of the National Tribal Chairmen’s Association that called for a national organization to advocate for improved, comprehensive health and social services to American Indian and Alaska Native Elders.

NICOA’s objectives are:

1. Enhance communications and cooperation with community service providers and other aging organizations that represent and advocate for Native American Elders

2. Provide information and technical assistance for Native American communities to improve health care for Elders

3. Network with appropriate agencies to maximize resources and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the service delivery systems for Elders

4. Provide information, reports and expert testimony requested by Tribal Nations and the U.S. Congress

5. Provide a clearinghouse for information on issues affecting American Indian and Alaska Native Elders.

SAGE | Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders
SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. Headquartered in New York City, with staff across the country, SAGE also coordinates a growing network of affiliates in the United States. After conducting a series of interviews with constituents, board members, partner organizations, and other stakeholders, the organization changed its name in 2017 to only be referred to as SAGE. The organization also adopted a new motto that brings forward the voices of LGBT older people everywhere: “We refuse to be invisible.”

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
SEARAC is a national organization that advances the interests of Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese Americans by empowering communities through advocacy, leadership development and capacity building to create a socially just and equitable society.

SEARAC was founded in 1979 to facilitate the relocation of Southeast Asian refugees into American society and to foster the development of nonprofit organizations led by and for Southeast Asian Americans. SEARAC has grown into an organization that strengthens the capacity of community-based organizations led by refuges from around the world. We serve as a coalition builder and leader among diverse refugee communities; carry out action-oriented research projects; foster civic engagement among refugees; and represent refugee communities at the national level in Washington, DC and the state level in California.

Our Team

We’re a team that believes in honoring our past and securing our future.

We are a community of older adults, caregivers, advocates, and more.
What brings us together is our commitment to ensuring that every older person has the opportunity to live his/her best life. We understand that aging impacts all of us, whether you are a grandparent raising a grandchild or an adult child acting as the primary caregiver to your aging parent. Successful aging matters to all of us—it’s why we do what we do.

Scroll through our profiles to learn why we are aging advocates.

National Director, Diverse Elders Coalition
Lauren Pongan
Lauren Pongan is the National Director for the Diverse Elders Coalition.

Program Coordinator, Diverse Elders Coalition
Ocean Le
As a first-generation student of two immigrant parents, Ocean has experienced the linguistic and cultural challenges that many diverse older adults face today. He hopes to combine his knowledge and experience to help change public perception on aging.

Trainer at the Diverse Elders Coalition
Nina Darby
Nina has trained healthcare providers, law enforcement, court personnel and social service providers on how to best support individuals who are diverse in race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, language and lived experiences in trauma-informed and culturally-responsive ways. As someone who watched her mom step into a caregiving role for her grandmother, Nina holds a deep appreciation of the rewards and challenges of family caregiving.

Advocacy Director at the Diverse Elders Coalition
Didier Trinh
Didier Trinh (he/him) is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC), a coalition of six national aging organizations that advocates for policies and programs that improve aging in our communities as racially and ethnically diverse people; American Indians and Alaska Natives; and LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning and other self-identifying members of the community) people. He has two decades of federal policy and advocacy experience in the nation’s capital, having launched his career on Capitol Hill and building it in the nonprofit sector on both domestic and international issues, including coalition management.

President & CEO, NHCOA
Dr. Yanira Cruz
Dr. Cruz’s primary focus is to increase policy-maker and public understanding of the needs impacting Hispanics and disenfranchised sectors of our society, and to encourage the adoption of programs and policies that equitably serve everyone.

Chief Executive Officer, SAGE
Michael Adams
Michael Adams is the Chief Executive Officer of Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE). He has taught law school courses on sexual orientation and gender identity and has served on advisory councils for AARP, the American Society on Aging, and the New York City Department for the Aging.

Executive Director, SEARAC
Quyen Dinh
Quyen grew up learning the value of language, culture & family. Her parents sponsored her grandparents from Vietnam in the early 90s to be reunited after the Vietnam War. Quyen believes in a world where older adults are integral voices in their communities.

Executive Director, NICOA
Larry Curley
Larry Curley is a member of the Navajo Nation with over 40 years of experience working in the aging and healthcare fields. He has worked with Congress, other branches of the federal government, and national organizations on aging to develop support for programs affecting elderly American Indians.

Director of Health Programs, NCBA
Angie Boddie
Angie Boddie is the Director of Health Programs for the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging, Inc. (NCBA). She directs all health promotions, advocacy and education programs for NCBA.

Director of Federal Government Relations, SAGE
Aaron Tax
Aaron Tax is the Director of Federal Government Relations for Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), where he advocates for LGBT-inclusive federal aging policies that account for the unique needs of LGBT older adults.
 

Project Coordinator, NICOA
Becky Owl Morgan
Becky remembers her mother caring for her great-grandfather, Johnson, both at home and in the hospital. She admires how tough and practical her mom had to be and would like to help others in the same position juggle work and caregiving.

Director of Communications and Development, SEARAC
Elaine Sanchez Wilson
Elaine has a background in journalism and public policy, which she brings to her role as overseer of content and development strategy at Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. Elaine’s grandmother was her roommate growing up and is her role model for life.

Our Member Organizations

National Asian Pacific Center on Aging

National Caucus and Center on Black Aging

National Hispanic Council on Aging

National Indian Council on Aging, Inc.

SAGE Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center