The OASIS Institute

At a Glance

National Office: 
11780 Borman Drive Suite 400
St. Louis, MO 63146
Phone: 314-862-2933

Marcia M. Kerz
People Served: 
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Focus area(s):

Fitness & Nutrition


OASIS is a pioneer in the field of healthy aging, enabling adults to live healthy, productive lifestyles through a three-fold approach:

Lifelong Learning- the need to challenge the mind and continue personal growth.

Active Lifestyles- the importance of physical activity, nutrition and managing health risks to sustain an independent, active life.

Volunteer Engagement- the desire to devote one’s time, energy and experience to meet community needs.

With education, advocacy and intergenerational programs, the impact of OASIS goes far beyond the older adults served. Intergenerational tutors, health volunteers and key partners are enhancing the lives of children and communities in 50 cities and 25 states across the country.

Impact and Outcomes

Enrollment in OASIS Connections technology has exceeded 105,000 since 2005.
In a controlled study of the Connections basic training classes, participants in the training group increased their scores by 179% on a computer knowledge test and 95% on an Internet knowledge test, compared to a control group which increased their scores by just 12% and 19%, respectively.
Participation in the Diabetes Self-Management Program significantly decreases hemoglobin A1c levels, a key measure of diabetes control, of people diagnosed with type II diabetes.
Multiple studies support that participation in the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program reduces emergency room visits, reduces healthcare expenditures, and improves health status.
In 2016, 92% of teachers reported improved academic performance for students who worked with an OASIS tutor.
96% of teachers reported increased confidence and self-esteem in students who were tutored by an OASIS volunteer.

Mission & Goals

The mission of OASIS is to promote healthy aging through a three-fold approach: lifelong learning, active lifestyles and volunteer engagement.

The OASIS vision is to see that adults age 50 and older across the country have opportunities to pursue vibrant, healthy, productive and meaningful lives. OASIS seeks to positively impact their lives through partnership to share knowledge, offer research-based programs, conduct evaluations and adapt to meet the needs of diverse audiences.

Goals for 2016 are to:

o    Increase and diversify participation while maintaining program excellence

o    Increase financial sustainability and operational efficiency

o    Increase social impact

o    Increase volunteer engagement

o    Improve the field of aging by the dissemination of research findings and the sharing of best practices


Through the MacArthur Foundation study of Aging in America, researchers found that the key ingredients for a high quality of life are maintaining a low risk for disease, a high level of engagement with the community and high physical and cognitive function, and “it is the combination of all three that represents the concept of successful aging fully.” OASIS programming puts these findings into practice through our three-pronged approach of Lifelong Learning, Active Lifestyles and Volunteer Engagement. Evidence-based programs in each of these three areas include, but are not limited to:


Connections Technology: OASIS Connections classes help older adults build skills and confidence using computers, the Internet and today's technology. Topics include basic computer skills, searching the Internet, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, resumes and job searching and eBay, Facebook and Twitter.


Chronic Disease and Diabetes Self-Management Programs: Developed and tested by Stanford University, the Chronic Disease and Diabetes Self-Management Programs are community-based interventions designed to improve the health status and behaviors of adults diagnosed with chronic health conditions and type II diabetes. In both programs, trained lay facilitators lead groups of participants through evidence-based practices over the course of six weeks. 


Intergenerational Tutoring:  5,000 trained OASIS volunteers provide one-on-one tutoring to children in grades K-4 who are not reading at grade level in 792 schools throughout the country.  Tutors meet weekly with students at school during the school day throughout the entire year to build reading skills, confidence and self-esteem.  Keys to the success of the program over a 28 year history include: a specific focus on building reading skills during the critical primary grade years when children are learning to read; a specially developed research-based curriculum that links to Common Core State Standards; and in-depth training and ongoing support for tutors and schools.


OASIS programs benefited 53,000 people in 2015. The organization offers a number of programs that are evidence-based or research-informed and show measurable outcomes:


Connections Technology Training: A study by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine published in 2012 shows that the introductory OASIS Connections technology training courses are effective in increasing the knowledge, skills, comfort and use of computers by older adults.


Chronic Disease and Diabetes Self-Management Programs:  OASIS has implemented the evidence-based Chronic Disease Self-Management Program in 6 cities since 2007, reaching  participants through in-person and online workshops and recently completed an innovative medical claims study of the Diabetes Self-Management Program in partnership with the National Council on Aging and Stanford University.    


Intergenerational Tutoring: Since the program began in 1989, trained volunteers have tutored more than 424,000 at-risk youth. A 2010 study of a summer reading program utilizing OASIS intergenerational tutors revealed that 63% of students maintained their school year-end reading levels. Of those, 67% maintained their reading levels and progressed toward the next grade level. In addition, 100% of OASIS tutors felt that the program added a positive element to their lives and 96% planned to continue in the program during the following year.


Recently some schools have begun sharing de-identified pre-and post-test reading scores with OASIS.  Initial results from eight school districts are promising, with the majority of students improving their reading test scores. The organization completed a partnership with Maryville University in St. Louis to conduct a formal evaluation of the impact of the OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring program on children's reading scores. OASIS is also initiating several new strategic partnerships to increase social impact. The Washington University in St. Louis Friedman Center on Aging has entered into a formal relationship with OASIS to conduct applied research on productive aging. Ten public library systems across the country are  working with OASIS to provide the evidence-based OASIS Connections technology curriculum to older library patrons seeking opportunities to build their skills and confidence for using technology . OASIS has recently partnered with the National Council on Aging to provide the Aging Mastery Program at a few of our centers.

Growth Plan

The older population in the U.S. is on the verge of a boom. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2030, the number of older adults is projected to grow from 35 million to 72 million, eventually representing nearly 20 percent of the total population.  Therefore, providing programs and services that keep aging Americans healthy, engaged and independent is critical. For these reasons, OASIS seeks funding investments to scale programs that have demonstrated impact on the lives of older adults.

At present, OASIS programs are offered in 50 communities through a network of more than 750 community-based partnerships including houses of worship, senior centers, youth agencies, libraries, school districts, parks and recreation programs. By scaling through partnerships OASIS is able to take its programs to any community and programs are selected and implemented based on each community’s local needs. OASIS growth plans are:


Connections Technology: OASIS  Recently reviewed its technology programs. Research from Pew, as well as surveys of our participants and feedback from our partners shows that older adults now prefer shorter sound bytes of information, and a desire to learn about security, privacy and fraud prevetion.OASIS will update technology offerings, including:

Changing the formatting of classes by providing small pieces of information in shorter classes.

Becoming a leader in education on how older adults can stay safe onlineby providing information and training related to online security, privacy and fraud prevention. 

Engaging its national corps of instructors in curriculum content updates to address technology change

Total cost to achieve this growth is $600,000 for national capacity building and local partnership expansion.


Diabetes Self-Management Program: Over the next 2 years, OASIS will continue to expand and strengthen the Diabetes Self-Management Program, including the addition of fall prevention activities. To achieve this growth, OASIS will:

Expand the program in the Saint Louis and Indianapolis metropolitan areas

Strengthen the program in the Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Syracuse metropolitan areas

Train additional lay leaders as Diabetes Self-Management Program master trainers and facilitators in all current and future locations

Use best practices and lessons learned during the expansion of the Diabetes Self-Management Program to expand falls prevention programming.

Total costs for this projected growth would be $500,000 over the next 2 years.

Additionally, with the aim of developing ongoing support, OASIS seeks to influence system change by engaging health care systems, professional associations, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to qualify Diabetes Self-Management Program for reimbursement through Medicare Diabetes Self-Management Training and Medical Nutrition Therapy benefits. A $500,000 investment would provide the ability to further develop this systems change.


Intergenerational Tutoring: Over the next few years OASIS plans to achieve two overarching goals for the Intergenerational Tutoring Program:

Goal 1: Expand the successful fee-based model pilot to additional cities. Through this model, each participating school district is asked to pay an annual base fee of and an additional fee per school offering the tutoring program. The fee covers approximately 25% of the overall cost of the program. The remaining expenses are covered by funding from corporations and foundations. To further facilitate school district buy-in, OASIS partners with EducationPlus, a non-profit education consortium that serves teachers, administrators, support staff and school board members in public school districts in Missouri and Illinois. The pilot thus far is achieving success, with 85% of participating school districts converting to the fee-based model. OASIS recently completed a value statement, which includes the tangible value of tutoring hours and program development, as well as intangible values such as mentoring and improved confidence.

Goal 2: Increase the evidence base for the program: OASIS Tutoring is presently viewed as a valued resource by school districts because its activities are research-based and align with U.S. Common Core State Standards. To make adoption of the program by all partners the most attractive investment possible, OASIS will begin collecting de-identified pre- and post-reading assessment scores.

Location of Sites

National Office: 
11780 Borman Drive Suite 400
St. Louis, MO 63146
Phone: 314-862-2933
List of locations

To make a contribution to a program site:

  1. Click on the "Make a Contribution Now" button and include the name, city and state of the program you would like to support, in the "notes" text box on the organization's donation form, if available.
  2. If a "notes" or "designation" box is not available, write the city and state on your check in the "notes" section or call the national office to designate your contribution to a local program site.

Locations in the following states:










New Mexico



South Carolina





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Investment: 39,525.00 Misc.:2,950.00 Donated Goods and Services:900,700.00
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Program Expenses: 412,248.00

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Major Funders

Major OASIS funders include:

AARP Medicare Supplement Plans insured by United Healthcare Insurance Company

Anthem Foundation

AstraZeneca Healthcare Foundation


BJC HealthCare

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico

City of Los Angeles, Department of Aging

City of San Antonio

Corporation for National and Community Service


Foundation for Barnes Jewish Hospital

Hearst Foundations

May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust

Missouri Foundation for Health

Monsanto Fund

National Council on Aging, in partnership with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation

Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust

Suny Upstate Medical University

U.S. Administration for Community Living

Wells Fargo Advisors