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Jennifer Tapner

TUCSON, Ariz.—SAGE, the oldest and largest national services and advocacy organization for LGBT+ elders, presented its distinguished Jack Watters Corporate Advocate Award to Watermark Retirement Communities.

Watermark is the first private, nationwide retirement community company to earn SAGE’s “Platinum” training and certification, the organization’s highest standard for meeting the needs of aging LGBT+ people. It also recognizes Watermark’s production and co-sponsorship of the award-winning national exhibition and campaign, Not Another Second, Showcasing LGBT+ Seniors.

Watermark Managing Director, Jennifer Tapner, accepted the award on behalf of the company at SAGE’s gala event in New York City. SAGE certification includes a commitment to providing living and working environments that are knowledgeable, inclusive for all, and free of discrimination. Over 80 percent of Watermark’s entire workforce nationally has gone through sensitivity training through SAGECare to earn the group’s Platinum level of certification.

The award is named for Dr. Jack Watters, now deceased, who was vice president for external medical affairs at Pfizer and a staunch supporter of SAGE’s mission.
In accepting the award, Tapner shared; “In founding Watermark Retirement Communities over 30 years ago, chairman David Freshwater and president David Barnes committed to creating an inclusive company for residents and associates with a culture of person-centered care. Our companywide SAGECare Platinum training and credentialing has been pivotal in helping us to ensure that we remain true to that commitment in being welcoming to all and providing the very best care to each individual.”

“This is a tremendous commitment that makes Watermark a true leader for our community’s elders,” says SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “We at SAGE applaud Watermark’s dedication to LGBTQ+ inclusion.”

Additionally, Watermark and SAGE worked together to curate the award-winning Not Another Second, a landmark photography and film exhibition and national campaign that premiered at the Gallery at the Watermark at Brooklyn Heights. The project, which includes a 148-page, hardcover coffee table book, recognizes the courageous, yet often-overlooked pioneering coming out stories of LGBTQ+ elders.The exhibition, which is open to the public, will close its extended run in New York at the end of November for its tour to other Watermark community art galleries around the country.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Watermark for years to come,” SAGE’s Adams says.

About Watermark Retirement Communities
For over three decades, Watermark has created extraordinary communities where people thrive with aging as renewal rather than retirement. Watermark communities are known for highly trained and caring associates, a lifestyle built on choice and innovative programs including the award-winning Watermark University featuring a wide variety of engaging classes for residents and area seniors. Watermark has been named in the top 25 Best Workplaces for Aging Services in a national program conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute and published on and is the first nationwide senior living company to be certified SAGECare platinum. Watermark’s industry-leading Stay Safe. Be Well. program incorporates innovative technology and extensive mitigation protocols with well-being community life programs. Learn more at Stay Safe. Be Well. A privately held company with a reputation for service, innovation, integrity and financial stability, Watermark manages more than 60 retirement communities coast to coast. Based in Tucson Ariz., Watermark is ranked as the nation’s 9th-leading senior housing operator by the American Seniors Housing Association. Visit for more information.

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