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Disability Inclusive Grantmaking is the mission of DFN: inclusion of disability in grantmaking programs and inclusion of people with disabilities in grantmaking organizations.

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DFN E-News: Vol. 1, No. 3


Disability in the News

Lex Frieden Sworn In as New Chair of NCD

In the Oval Office, with President Bush standing by his side, Chief of Staff Andrew Card administered the oath of office to Lex Frieden as new chair of the National Council on Disability (NCD). Lex brings a wealth of experience to his new role as NCD chair. He is the senior vice president at The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR); he directs the Independent Living Research Utilization Program; and he is a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. Lex was confirmed by the Senate on July 26, 2002 — the 12th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act — and administered the oath in September 2002.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2002

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Focusing on the achievements made by furthering civil rights for people with disabilities, President Bush stated, “All of our citizens should have the opportunity to live and work with dignity and freedom. Every October, we observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month to recognize the talents, skills and dedication of disabled Americans who are a vital part of our workforce. During this month, we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that people with disabilities who want to work can receive the training they need to achieve their goal.”

As part of this month’s activities, National Disability Mentoring Day will be held on October 16. National Disability Mentoring Day is designed to bring students and job seekers with disabilities into the workplace where they can learn firsthand about career opportunities. It draws national attention to the importance of encouraging young people with disabilities to develop the skills and obtain the experiences necessary to compete in today’s economy. National Disability Mentoring Day is a community-based program, with leadership, coordination and resource materials from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). In Washington, the Departments of Labor, Transportation and Education and the Social Security Administration are hosting the day’s events. For questions about National Disability Mentoring Day, please call the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor at 202-693-7880 (voice) or 202-693-7881 (TTY).

Web News

White House Directive to Develop Interagency Disability Web Site

President Bush sent out a memorandum to federal agencies directing them to work together to develop a comprehensive federal Web site that serves people with disabilities. The Web site will provide individuals with access to a single point online for government information and resources related to disabilities and to the New Freedom Initiative. His administration is committed, he said, to ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to learn, develop skills, engage in productive work, choose where to live and participate in community life.

NCD Creates New Listserv for Disability-Related Information

The National Council on Disability (NCD) has a new listserv to disseminate disability-related information on such issues as affordable housing, employment, transportation, health care, education and assistive technology. NCD’s new listserv will provide up-to-date information on issues affecting the 54 million Americans with disabilities and their families. The listserv will include NCD’s monthly newsletter, NCD Bulletin, news releases, and media advisories on NCD activities and current issues before the administration, Congress and the Supreme Court. To subscribe, send a blank email to add-bulletin@list.ncd.gov. Subscribers will receive approximately five emails a month from NCD. For more in-depth information, visit the NCD Web site at www.ncd.gov.

New Disability Studies Academic Community Web Site

DISC: A Disability Studies Academic Community Web site is an international, interdisciplinary, user-generated, digital forum providing support, collegial networks and information that sustains the disability studies academic community and promotes disability studies in a humanities focus. DISC offers the opportunity for exchanging and locating information about research, teaching, resources, texts, program and syllabi development, professional opportunities, funding sources and access guidelines. Visit the DISC site at http://mith2.umd.edu:8080/disc/index.html or go to the MITH homepage at www.mith.umd.edu/research/projectlist.html and click on the DISC project name.

Online Accessibility Forum

Knowabililty, Inc., hosted the online Accessibliity Forum held on September 27. The forum is archived, and the discussion continues even though the event is over. The ongoing discussion is taking place in the digital divide forum. You can link directly to that forum at www.techsoup.org/forums/index.cfm?fuseaction=list&forum=2012&cid=117.


NCD Releases 2001 Annual Report-Highlighting Homeland Security, September 11 and People with Disabilities

The National Council on Disability (NCD) released its 2001 annual National Disability Policy: A Progress Report. The Report highlights a number of issues including homeland security and its impact on people with disabilities. For a copy of the report, go to www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/progressreport_07-26-02.html.

New NCD Report Says Mental Health System in Crisis: Calls for Fundamental Reform

The National Council on Disability (NCD) released its report, The Well Being of our Nation: An Inter-Generational Vision of Effective Mental Health Services and Supports. The report states that the mental health system in the United States is “in crisis, unable to provide even the most basic services and supports to people with psychiatric disabilities.” For decades, state mental health systems have been burdened with ineffective service-delivery programs and stagnant bureaucracies that focus on medicating people rather than helping them lead productive lives. The report states that children who “experience dysfunction” in the mental health system are more likely to become dependent on inadequate systems as adults. Poor mental health services and poor outcomes can follow people with mental health problems “literally from cradle to grave.”

The report also states that state mental health systems “create ineffective service-delivery programs,” and criminalization, homelessness and poverty rise in direct proportion to poor services and supports. The “most significant steps” toward improving the mental health system would include expanding Medicaid eligibility and covered services and modifying public systems to focus on “serving the whole person, and not merely the most obvious symptoms.” The report recommends services such as counseling, job training, peer support, respite care and supportive housing. For more information, contact Mark Quigley at mquigley@ncd.gov.

Grant and Fellowship Opportunities

The National Arts and Disability Center Requests Proposals

The National Arts and Disability Center at UCLA requests competitive proposals from state arts agencies and VSA arts affiliates to convene 2003 statewide forums on careers in the arts for people with disabilities. The statewide forums will: 1) examine and measure issues related to education, career needs and barriers facing artists and arts administrators with disabilities; and 2) develop and implement strategies to overcome these barriers and advance career opportunities in the arts. Funding amoung: up to $15,000. Deadline: January 6, 2003. For a copy of the application please go to http://nadc.ucla.edu/StatewideForums.cfm. For additional information and questions about the application process contact: Dr. Olivia Raynor at oraynor@mednet.ucla.edu or call 310-794-1141.

New Voices Fellowship Program to Small Nonprofits

New Voices is a national program to help nonprofit organizations bring innovative new talent to their staffs. It awards salary-support grants to small nonprofits demonstrating a commitment to cultivating and strengthening the leadership potential of “new voices.” The program is administered by the Academy for Educational Development with funding from the Ford Foundation. The two-year grants offer support for salary, fringe benefits, financial assistance, mentoring and a professional development account for a promising new leader. The host nonprofit organizations also receive technical assistance from national experts and a computer to support the work of the fellow. Sponsored fields of work include: foreign policy; international economic policy; international peace and security; international human rights; women’s rights; racial justice and civil rights; and migrant and refugee rights. Only U.S.-based nonprofit organizations are eligible. Preference will be given to organizations with annual budgets between $75,000 and $2 million. Complete eligibility criteria and application guidelines and forms are available from the New Voices Web site at www.aed.org/newvoices. The deadline is January 13, 2003.

The Dose of Kindness Program

The Hospital for Sick Children is launching a new program for children and adolescents with special needs in the District of Columbia. The Hospital for Sick Children’s Dose of Kindness Program is a life-enrichment program to help children with special needs to thrive — not just survive. The Dose of Kindness Program was created to provide personalized support for children with special needs whose health care coverage is limited to basic life necessities. The program provides for products and services that are not covered by Medicaid or private insurance, and usually not available from public service or government agencies. It may include computers, arts and sports equipment, home modifications, communications and transportation devices, and other products and services not considered “medically necessary.”

District of Columbia families that have a child age 21 or younger with a documented disability or chronic illness as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and who meet the income requirements are eligible to apply for a Dose of Kindness award. This is a competitive award program. Award selections will be made on the greatest need, based on information given in the applications. If you or your organization is interested in obtaining applications to distribute to those you serve, please contact Son Park at 202-454-1248. The application will also be available on the hospital’s Web site, www.hfscsite.org.


A Tribute to Maida Abrams

From Charles Washburn, executive director, of VSA arts of Massachusetts:

Maida Abrams, president and founder of VSA arts of Massachusetts, died of cancer on May 9, 2002. Maida was a leading proponent of the use of the arts in special education, long before inclusion of students with disabilities was seriously considered. She began her work by integrating the arts into the special education classes and in the late 1970 helped the education department at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts pilot its first arts festivals for students with disabilities. By 1980, Maida formed a partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Education and turned the initial festivals into what became VSA arts of Massachusetts. In 1997, she was awarded the Commonwealth Award in recognition for her work at VSA arts of Massachusetts.

Maida’s vision of inclusion of people with disabilities extended beyond the classroom to the full range of community and cultural life. In 1994, she formed a partnership between VSA arts of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council to provide state cultural organizations with the funding to develop innovative programs. Since then, the ADA Cultural Access Mini-Grants have provided over $2 million for inclusive programs. Through the National Cultural Access Initiative, VSA arts’ affiliates in 28 states actively promote improved programmatic and physical access to the nations premier cultural institutions.

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