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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.

DFN E-News: Vol. 1, No. 4


Disability in the News

New Freedom Commission Finds U.S. Mental Health System in “Disarray”

The U.S. mental health system “is in disarray” and is not “oriented to the single most important goal of the people it serves — the hope of recovery,” according to an interim report released Nov. 1 by the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. The report says that 5 percent to 7 percent of adults and 5 percent to 9 percent of children in the United States have a “serious mental illness” or emotional disturbance that affects functioning at work, school, home or in social situations. Quality of life can be “tremendously improved” when a mental illness is diagnosed early and appropriately, the report says, but it notes that the varying missions, settings and financing of private and public mental health programs act as barriers to care. The commission says that the mental health system is a “maze instead of a coordinated system” and “[n]avigating this maze” is left to people with mental illnesses and their families, who are “least-equipped to deal with the complexities of the system.” According to the commission, 50 percent of people who need mental health treatment do not receive it because of barriers to care (New Freedom Commission on Mental Health release, 11/1). Commission Chair Michael Hogan said, “The so-called mental health system is fragmented and in such disarray that frequently it can’t get the services to the people who need them” (Fulton, CongressDaily, 11/1). The report identifies five barriers that “needlessly impede” access to care: fragmentation and gaps in care for children and adults; high unemployment and disability among people with mental illness; “insufficient attention” to older adults; and inadequate national attention to mental illness and suicide. The commission, which identifies successful community-based mental health programs, says that many individuals could recover “from even the most serious mental illnesses” if they had access to state-of-the-art treatments “tailored to their needs,” support systems and community services (New Freedom Commission on Mental Health release, 11/1). The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.

Access this story and related links online: www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_id=14410.

DFN in the News

The following article appeared in the September/October issue of Foundation News & Commentary:

Disability Funders’ Two New Launches

The Disability Funders Network (DFN) launched its first Web site: www.disabilityfunders.org. It provides information about DFN and disability funding issues, and lists resources to help foundations and other organizations make their own Web sites usable by people with visual and other disabilities.

Also available at the site are the results of a new survey, “Disability Funding in California,” which focuses on overcoming the lack of research on trends and practices in disability funding.

For the study, information was gathered from 108 grantmakers and 20 grantseekers in California with wide ranges of perspectives and experiences with disability issues. The aim was to document how California grantmakers understand and address disability issues and explore possible communications and knowledge gaps between grantmakers and grantseekers.

Among its findings: Although three-quarters of funders said they make disability grants, almost half reported that those grants totaled 5 percent or less of their overall funding. The report recommends that funders make certain to include people with disabilities in any working definition of “diversity,” and to factor people with disabilities into funders’ thinking about social issues.

As a word of advice to grantseekers, the report offers as one of its recommendations that the more effectively disability organizations can argue-using concrete examples to show the possibility and importance of incorporating disability into already existing program areas-the better the chances are of getting programs funded.

The report is available on line at www.disabilityfunders.org/resource.html.

For more information, contact Disability Funders Network executive director, Jeanne Argoff, at njargoff@aol.com.

Asset Development

First Expert Meeting on Asset Development and People with Disabilities

On October 30, DFN participated in the first expert roundtable on asset development for people with disabilities. The participants, representing the disability community and the asset development movement, focused on individual development accounts during this first meeting. Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) offer a unique opportunity for lower economic populations to save toward specific goals, receive savings matches, and obtain financial counseling and the assistance of a community organization. The roundtable-sponsored by the National Disability Institute at the NCB Development Corporation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration-provided an opportunity to discuss the strategies and initiatives related to asset building and the fact that these initiatives and the policies on which they are based largely exclude people with disabilities. Participants discussed barriers to participation and identified opportunities for future partnerships, policy development, research, public education and outreach.

For more information, contact Julie Clark, project consultant, jclark@ncbdc.org or sjcc@gis.net.

World Institute on Disability Publishes Guide for Individual Development Account Administrators

The World Institute on Disability (WID) recently published, “Asking About Disability: A Guide for Individual Development Account Administrators.” The guide offers advice on how to assess disability status during the IDA intake process. It also includes a disability assessment questionnaire for program administrators.

For a copy of this guide go to www.wid.org.


Breakthrough Pocket PC Device for Blind Users Launched

On October 16, Freedom Scientific launched the first PDA (personal digital assistant) device for people who are blind that uses off-the-shelf technology, supports a wide range of third-party applications, and interfaces with most other hardware devices. Using Microsoft Pocket PC technology in combination with the JAWS screen reader, the new PACMate TNS is equivalent to similar devices for sighted users. JAWS converts objects and text to speech, so that users who are blind hear rather than see documents, images and Web content.

For more information, go to www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2002/oct02/10-16NDEAM.asp

New Web Site for Youth with Disabilities

Submitted by DFN board member Joanne Yamada

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) is pleased to announce the launch of its new Web site: www.ncwd-youth.info. NCWD/Youth is one of two technical assistance centers funded by the U.S. Department of Labor to assist the workforce development community address issues affecting the employment of people with disabilities. The site contains useful information and resources for youth with disabilities and their families, service providers and other front line workers, administrators, policy makers and employers. Visitors to the Web site will be able to access materials like an information brief entitled, “How Young People Can Benefit from One-Stop Centers,” links, resources, answers to questions and more. The site contains ideas on how multiple stakeholders can support youth with disabilities to access high quality services in integrated settings that maximize employment and independent living opportunities.

For more information contact Curtis Richards, The Advocrat Group, 1331 H Street, NW, Suite 301, Washington, D.C. 20005, 202-393-4446 (V/TTY), curtis@advocrat.com.


NCD Releases Inaugural Paper on ADA Policy Brief Series, Plus an Addition to Its Policy Brief Series

The inaugural paper, “Righting the ADA,” addresses specific topics that came to light as a result of detrimental U.S. Supreme Court rulings on the Americans with Disabilities Act. These topics include: inaccurate comments and media misrepresentations about the ADA court rulings that have weakened or restricted the impact of the ADA; limits on Congressional power to enact disability rights laws; consequences of the Court’s decisions; and legislative proposals for addressing issues that appear inappropriate for legislative correction.

Another recent NCD publication, “A Carefully Constructed Law,” is the first addition to the Council’s ongoing policy brief series. The paper responds to “supposed” uncertainties and ambiguities — i.e., that the Supreme Court has the perception that the ADA was not carefully considered nor carefully written.

For more information on these reports, contact Mark Quigley or Joan Durocher at 202-272-2004. The reports can be found at www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/rightingtheada.html and www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/carefullyconstructedlaw.html.

State of Disability Spending in the United States

The seventh edition of The State of the States is now available from the American Association on Mental Retardation. This text offers information on disability financing, complete with state-by-state profiles of trends in revenue, money spent, persons served, and individuals and families supported from 1982-2000. It is supported as a Project of National Significance by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The new edition also includes a study that quantifies spending on all disability programs and a comparative study on forces shaping developmental disabilities services in Michigan and Illinois.

To order, call 301-604-1340 or e-mail aamr@pmds.com.

Free ADA Technical Assistance on CD-ROM

This free CD-ROM, produced by the Department of Justice, contains a complete collection of the Department’s ADA materials, including regulations, architectural standards, and technical assistance publications. The materials come in a variety of formats, including HTML, WordPerfect and text (ASCII) to enable people with disabilities and others to gain easy access, translate materials to Braille, or use screen readers.

Order the CD-ROM by calling 1-800-514-0301 or go to www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adatacd1.htm.

Grant, Fellowship and Internship Opportunities

Emerging Leaders Summer Interships

Booz Allen Hamilton invites students with disabilities to apply for their Emerging Leaders Class of 2003. This program combines paid summer internships with leadership development activities. Applications are due by February 1, 2003.

For more information go to www.emerging-leaders.com.

Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

The Carter Center is currently accepting applications for the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. The fellowships help to increase accurate reporting on mental health issues, reduce incorrect and stereotypical information, and develop better-informed journalists who can report information more accurately. Fellows interact with Rosalynn Carter, the Mental Health Task Force members and each other. To be eligible, applicants must have at least two years’ experience in print or broadcast journalism.

For more information visit the Carter Center Web site at www.cartercenter.org.

Request for Proposals

NCD Calls for Consumer-Oriented Health Care Proposals

The National Council on Disability (NCD) is interested in evaluating the extent and type(s) of evidence-based federal and state health care reforms and changes for people with disabilities in both the private and public sectors. NCD seeks to fund a study to research the items related to the issue of consumer-oriented health care within the context of Medicare/Medicaid reform as it relates to Americans with disabilities. The estimated contract period of performance is 10 months. NCD will distribute its request for proposals (RFPs) to interested parties on December 16, 2002. NCD will expect interested parties to submit their responses by February 3, 2003. Copies of the RFP may be requested by mail or picked up at the NCD office on or after the issue date. All requests must reference the RFP number and title.

For more information, contact Martin Gould at mgould@ncd.gov, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850, Washington, D.C. 20004; 202-272-2004 or 202-272-2074 TTY.


Larry Scadden, Noted Disability Leader, Receives Migel Medal

Thanks to Rayna Aylward of MEAF for this notice.

In a moving ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Dr. Larry Scadden was presented with the Migel Medal, the American Foundation for the Blind’s highest award honoring professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements have significantly improved the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. For more than 33 years, Dr. Scadden influenced policy and design in the field of technology and disability; educated policymakers and industry leaders about the values of “universal design;” and sought to ensure that people with disabilities were not left behind in the information revolution. From 1992 to 2001, he worked for the National Science Foundation (NSF) to design and establish the Program for Persons with Disabilities, and prior to that he was program director of NSF‘s Bioengineering and Research to Aid Persons with Disabilities. He served in management and executive positions in the National Institute for Handicapped Research, now known as the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and was deputy director in the Division for Blind and Visually Impaired at the Office of Program Operations of the U.S. Rehabilitation Services Administration. Dr. Scadden was an advisor to DFN‘s two founding institutions: the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation and The Dole Foundation.
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