Overview and History
The mission of the Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation is to preserve the dignity and enhance the quality of life of seniors in Michigan.
The vision of the Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation is that seniors are respected, valued and empowered to reach their potential and connected to a community of their choice.
Commitment to Healthy Aging – The Hannan Foundation is committed to enriching the lives of seniors, enabling them to find fulfillment and meaning in their lives, and helping them to reach their potential.
Empowerment – The Hannan Foundation empowers and enables seniors to make informed choices, advocate for themselves and advance the interests they most value.
Respect – The Hannan Foundation values the life experiences and recognize the inherent dignity in each person the foundation serves.
Innovation – The Hannan Foundation is a leader that pursues novel and creative approaches to enrich the lives of people as they age.
Hannan History –
In 1917, William H. Hannan, founder of the Hannan Real Estate Exchange, passed away and left his sizable estate to his widow Luella Hannan to “be bequeathed to such charities for the people of Detroit as she should appoint.” Consequently, on September 12, 1925, Luella Hannan incorporated the Luella Hannan Memorial Home (later changed to Foundation), with the goal to “found, build, and maintain a home for aged or infirm persons of the City of Detroit who have been accustomed to enjoying the comforts of life, but who through change of fortune, have come to reduced circumstances.” When attempts to find a suitable build location failed due to neighborhood resistance, Luella directed the Trustees to use the income from the Trust to support older people in their own homes.
In 1931, three years after Luella Hannan’s death, The John Scudder Foundation for Old People was established with a bequest by a wealthy Detroit manufacturer, John Scudder. Its purpose was “to aid, in the broadest manner, in the care of elderly people without means of support and to do so without regard to race, creed, sex, nor color.” Since both foundations had similar missions, the smaller Scudder Foundation shared the same trustees and staff as the Hannan Foundation although its endowment was separate and distinct. It was not until 1971 that the two foundations merged into one legal entity.
That same year, to honor Luella’s original intention, and because there was a need for affordable senior housing in Detroit, the Foundation built a four story, 45,000 square senior residence on Woodward Avenue within the heart of the Wayne State University, Cultural, and Medical Center area. For the next 20 years, Hannan House, as the building was named, operated as a licensed home for older adults with limited resources. As more subsidized housing was constructed in the immediate area, the Hannan House model became less appealing and the Foundation began to assess how it could carry out its mission in a changing environment.
After an extensive evaluation was completed with Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology and an advisory group of senior service providers, in 1993 the Foundation transitioned Hannan House into a multi-tenant nonprofit center where Hannan and a number of organizations whose services benefit seniors are co-located. Partner tenants include AARP, Operation Able, and the American Chinese Association.
Today, Hannan continues to develop and provide programs and services that meet the changing needs of seniors and promote creative and purposeful activity that enriches the lives of older adults. In 2017, a separate 501(c)3 organization was created, Hannan Center, to house the programs of the Foundation and increase opportunities for funding partnerships. Hannan Center programs include the Zena Baum Senior Service Center, Beyond U – School for Grownups, Ellen Kayrod Art Gallery, and DayBreak, an adult day program for older adults living with dementia and their caregivers.