The Gerontology Institute’s Pension Action Center (PAC) has been awarded two concurrent grants funded by the Investor Protection Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to independent investor education, research, and support. The two projects build on the expertise of PAC’s staff, who focus primarily on helping workers recover their retirement income benefits, while broadening the center’s work to include more education, which is part of its mission, says Tyler Compton, PAC’s lead attorney.

“It’s very affirming,” Compton says of the grant awards. “Investor Protection Trust recognizes that we are doing innovative work in our field and that we know how to reach and help specific audiences.”

One grant focuses on convening Massachusetts stakeholders from law enforcement, legal aid organizations, Councils on Aging, and others to share resources and brainstorm ways to prevent fraud and scams that target the finances of older adults. PAC staff are working with state partners to schedule the day-long convening in mid-March 2024.

The second grant funds a partnership with Heartland Alliance, a Chicago-based human rights nonprofit, to create communications pieces—brochures, one-pagers, a webinar, and more—that educate healthcare workers about their retirement income. The materials may later be adapted for more general audiences.

“We want to empower healthcare workers because pensions and retirement funds can be very complicated in their field,” says Compton. “They may be union members, or they may have worked in the same hospital for years but under several different owners.”

The grant focusing on fraud and scam prevention builds on research that former PAC Director Anna-Marie Tabor conducted with her UMass Boston colleague Beth Dugan, associate professor of gerontology, in which they surveyed Massachusetts aging services organizations on how they help their clients avoid scams and fraud.