In June of 2023, The Inaugural Eisner Prize Fellows were awarded $50,000 to begin implementing their newly innovated programs all of which forged the generations. Fortunately, one of Vincentian’s very own Community Life Managers was selected as a fellow and for the last 10 months, has been executing her program “Fur-Ever Friends”.

Fur-Ever Friends, developed by Kenna Embree, is an intergenerational pet fostering program at Vincentian’s independent living sites. The program’s goal is to reduce loneliness, social isolation, and pet homelessness through the shared responsibility of fostering a pet.  Frequently, college students are unaware of their post-graduation plans, and residents are figuring out their long-term care plans, making it difficult to own a pet. Fur-Ever Friends and short-term fostering, allow for both generations to enjoy the benefits of having a pet while deepening their relationship.

The program began with identifying partners and participants. In August, the partnership between Vincentian and Animal Friends was established. In September, interested participants were asked to join a Q&A, led by Kenna and Maddie Aicher, Animal Friend’s Volunteer Coordinator. Following the Q&A, participants were required to go through foster training with Maddie prior to welcoming their furry friends.

Vincentian’s Students in Residence and independent living residents then paired up to share the responsibility of fostering a pet. Our first two foster pets were puppies named Faith and Fox, who resided in residents’ apartments allowing students to work with residents on coming up with a schedule to help care for the pet. Students assisted residents with walking the puppies, taking them outside for potty breaks, and simply spending time together as a group while deepening their relationships. Intergenerational enrichments are always available, such as baking dog treats together.

Simultaneously, Kenna realized the need for a dog run which is when she reached out to a local fencing company. Once the ball started rolling, one of our furry residents, Reshie, assisted with selecting the perfect material for the dog run. The fence went up in October and our foster dogs, as well as resident pups, have been enjoying it ever since!

 Since installing the fence, Fur-Ever Friends participants have found homes for three more dogs, and are currently fostering a bunny. Unfortunately, our student cohort is moving out at the end of May, leaving a temporary gap in the fostering. However, we are more than excited to welcome the next group of students in July to then continue with Fur-Ever Friends.

In the future, Kenna hopes to facilitate Fur-Ever Friends at another Vincentian location to then collect more than just qualitative data. Additionally, she plans to develop official program guides based on care settings so that Fur-Ever Friends can be implemented in other communities and organizations!

About the Eisner Foundation: The Eisner Foundation has supported nonprofit, human service organizations in Los Angeles County since 1996, and more recently in New York City. Over the years, The Eisner Foundation recognized programs that pair generations together as participants stopped being passive recipients of services, and instead actively served each other, finding value through their newly formed relationships. So in 2015, Eisner executives chose to become the first, and only, US-based funder exclusively supporting intergenerational programs. After years of supporting global intergenerational leaders, also known as Eisner Prize Recipients, the foundation began to switch gears and support those who we hope will be the next leaders in the field, known as the Eisner Prize Fellows.

If you have any questions about the program, feel free to email Kenna at If you’re interested in fostering, reach out to Animal Friends at 412-847-7000.