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    The Fourth Decade

    1985 - 1995

    The 1985 annual Fall Training Conference, sponsored by FCOA and the Aging and Adult Services Program Office, was the largest conference so far in terms of attendance (nearly 600) and workshops offered (60 total). 

    In 1986, a network on aging, including the Florida Council on Aging, the Florida Association of Homes for the Aged, the State Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and the Association of Service Providers, joined together to work on legislation that would benefit the elderly.

    A full-time well-trained social worker was employed by FCOA in 1987. FCOA's annual conference was held in Ft. Lauderdale that year and had over 750 participants. During a trip to Jacksonville in 1988, the City of Jacksonville presented keys to the city to the FCOA delegation. Gwen Yates presented a copy of the proposed Jacksonville Area Chapter bylaws to the President of FCOA.

    By 1989, FCOA membership had grown to over 680. Florida Power & Light became the new sponsor of the QSLA program that year.

    1990 marked the beginning of Margaret Lynn Duggar & Associates acting as FCOA's management firm. FCOA brought in MLD&A to assist with the joint FCOA/SE4A Conference in Orlando. Eventually FCOA asked MLD&A to submit a proposal to take over as FCOA's management firm and a new partnership was officially born on November 1, 1990. 

    FCOA and the Florida Department of Education began a partnership in 1991 with literacy grant projects targeting elders. On March 1, 1991, the Gerontological Society of Florida merged with the Florida Council on Aging.

    In 1992, FCOA was awarded a $50,000 literacy grant by the Department of Education. The goal of the grant was to train tutors for older people and increase the enrollment and success of older persons in literacy programs.

    AgeWise, FCOA's member newsletter, took on a bold new look in 1993. The FCOA Board designed a special "mini program", held on January 21 in Miami, for those who missed the FCOA Fall Conference due to Hurricane Andrew. FCOA was awarded a $32,000 grant from the Department of Education for development of a Needs Assessment of the educational needs of older Floridians. In July, a delegation from FCOA traveled to Japan to meet with leaders regarding services for older people. 

    FCOA's first Membership Directory was produced in 1994. FCOA released a comprehensive needs analysis of elder education in Florida, funded by the Florida Department of Education, entitled "The Unfinished Business of Learning", which highlighted the problem of illiteracy among the elderly. FCOA and DOE won the Gold Addy Award in 1994 for "Education for Elders in Florida...Snapshots of Success". FCOA also partnered with DOE that year to conduct workshops for education, aging, and literacy providers.