Imy Fund

logoImogene Higbie Direct-care Service Award Fund

RI Generations is proud to manage the Imogene Higbie Direct-care Service Award Fund.

Imogene “Imy” Higbie was a member of RI Generations, a social worker and public advocate who also experienced living in a nursing facility.  Imy’s experience convinced her of the difficulty of a direct-care’s day-to-day work, but more, the importance of the relationship between an individual and their “care-giver”.

Born in west Texas, raised in the Midwest, Imy earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Syracuse University in the late 1950s while raising two daughters as a divorced mother.  Moving to Madison, WI in 1960 she soon blended her family with that of Charles E. Higbie.  They were both professors at UW Madison.

She began her social activism in the civil rights movement in the 1960s and never lost the fever to fight for special causes.  In her 80s she became very passionate about individualized person-directed care (Culture Change) in Long Term Care.  This was born of her own experience as a patient in a skilled nursing facility and her recognition that change was necessary.  During that time, Imy realized that those in the position of providing direct-care were going to be the people who would sow and nurture the seeds of change.


We remember and honor Imogene Higbie in the creation of a service award in her name to recognize direct care workers.

In honor of her work and dedication to advancing elder independence and person-centered care and with the assistance of her family, RIG created the Imogene Higbie Direct-care Service Award; a recognition and scholarship award to direct care workers nominated by their employer and their peers as a Champion of Person-centered Care in action.


Each year since 2011, RI Generations solicits nominations from residential service agencies; nursing facilities and assisted living on behalf of direct-care staff.



Eligible candidates:

Direct-care staff  working in long-term care facilities and assisted living residences;  i.e., hands-on care & services: Nursing Assistants, Resident Assistants, Universal Workers, Shahbaz, Activities Assistants.

Criteria for nomination:

Interactions with patients, resident, consumers, and respective family member, exemplifies an understanding of individualized person-directed or person-centered care principles:

  • Routinely seeks to determine the likes, personal preferences, and choices of the individual receiving assistance and/or care;
  • Actively seeks advice and information from family and acquaintances of the individual served;
  • Promotes independence and autonomy in all aspects of engagement with individuals;
  • Exhibits compassion and respect for the individual, partnering with them and offering choices based on knowing an individuals expressed preferences;
  • Routinely accommodates changes in an individual’s preferences;
  • Proactively participates in and advocates for the individual through by communicating with care coordinators, peers, and n care planning;
  • Formal and informal leader and model of person-directed care practices with peers.

Nomination process:

Nominations letters to RI Generations on the attached form or facility/residence letterhead, and minimally, should include the following information:

  • Brief description of the facilities review and nomination process;
  • Name, title, and routine work assignment of the individual nominated;
  • Narrative examples of the nominee’s work practices that show evidence of an understanding of the criteria listed above and exemplifies their practice of individualized, person-directed care;
  • Testimony or comment from residents, family members/council, and peers where available.
  • Facility/residence person & number to contact.

NOMINATIONS of direct-care staff person for the  2017 Imogene Higbie Award now being accepted:


To support the Imogene Higbie Service Award fund, RIG conducts periodic fund-raising lunches, educational events, and accepts donations from RIG members, public institutions, and the public.


Wednesday, June 7, 201 – Imogene Higbie Awards Dinner  – Schedule


RIG is incorporated as a 501(c) (3) tax exempt entity.  Donations to RIG or to the Imogene Higbie Service Award fund are tax deductible as charitable contributions.  For additional information regarding sponsoring or pledging a donation in support of RIG’s training activities, please email –

Can’t attend an “Imy” fund-raising event, you can pledge a donation/sponsor the Imy Fund here – and “Thank you!” 

  • Please select an option:
  • RIG Program Support
  • Imogene Higbie Direct-care Award Fund
  • Donation is made on behalf of:
  • Company/Agency Donation
  • Personal Donation