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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. 4, No. 1


NOTE: DFN E-News was on vacation for the month of December. Therefore, this issue contains news stories from the past two months. The next, special, issue will cover a number of issues involving Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare that have been discussed over the past few months. Beginning with the issue after that, we will return to our regular format of current news, resources and announcements. Also note that we have included descriptions of recent grants submitted by some DFN funders. If you are a member-funder and would like to highlight your recent grants, please send grant descriptions to Sandy Cawley at cawleysw@aol.com. If you are an associate member and have a press release describing an issue you think would be of interest to our readers, please feel free to send those to Sandy as well.

From all of us on the DFN Board and staff, we wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year.

DFN Member News

AAPD Announces Recipients of 2004 Betts and Hearne Awards

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has announced the winners of the 2004 Henry B. Betts Award and the Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Awards.

The Betts Award, given yearly to a noted leader with a significant body of work in the disability field, was awarded to Paul Longmore, an internationally recognized disability activist historian and spokesperson for the rights of people with disabilities and a major founder of the field of disability studies. Longmore, who contracted polio at the age of seven, began to place the disability experience in the context of America’s earliest struggles for independence when he was a graduate student specializing in American history. He helped to establish and now directs San Francisco State University’s Institute on Disability Studies, an interdisciplinary field that studies social, political, economic and cultural aspects of disability and calls for the translation of those insights into public policy. He also helped to establish crucial inquiry into disability on campuses across the nation. In the 1980s he collaborated with Dr. Doug Martin, a noted policy expert who was also a polio survivor, to join a public campaign to reform Social Security policies that penalized disabled professionals for earning money through education, fellowships and grants. The outcome policy was the Longmore Amendment, which allows disabled authors to count publishing royalties as earned income. Dr. Longmore will receive $50,000 for the Betts Award.

The Hearne Award honors emerging leaders with disabilities with a cash award of $10,000 to further their work in the disability community. This year’s winners are Berhanu Joffe Deboch (Portland, Ore.), a political refugee from Ethiopia whose work is rooted in advocacy for neglected, marginalized and disadvantaged individuals; Alan Muir (Knoxville, Tenn.), who co-founded and directs Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities; and Elise C. Roy (Washington, D.C.), a two-sport varsity athlete, lawyer and advocate who works to increase awareness of the importance of ensuring recreational and athletic opportunities for people with disabilities.

The Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Awards were established by The Milbank Foundation for Rehabilitation in 1999 to recognize and carry on the work of Paul G. Hearne, AAPD’s founder and a renowned leader in the national disability community, and to realize Paul’s goal of cultivating emerging leaders to carry on the disability movement. The Milbank Foundation continues to provide major program sponsorship, joined by Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation and the Seth Sprague Charitable Foundation. The Milbank and Mitsubishi Foundations are charter members of DFN, and AAPD is a long-time associate member. The Betts Award, which is administered by AAPD, was created by the Prince Charitable Trusts and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in 1989. It is named for Henry B. Betts, a pioneer in the field of rehabilitation medicine.

Award recipients will be honored guests at AAPD’s fourth annual AAPD Leadership Gala on March 9, 2005, at the Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C. Please contact AAPD for ticket information at 202-457-0046. For more information about award recipients, go to www.aapd-dc.org/.

Assistive Technology Available at the D.C. Foundation Center, Thanks to DFN Member

The Foundation Center-Washington, D.C., announced that its print and electronic resources on philanthropy and nonprofit management are now accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. Mitsubishi America Electric Foundation provided the funding to equip the center’s library and computer lab with software including Zoomtext, which enlarges text and images and reads text aloud on a computer monitor; Kurzweil 1000, used with a scanner, which reads text aloud; and JAWS 1000, which enlarges and reads aloud Internet-based text. For more information, visit www.fdncenter.org/washington or call 202-331-1400.

Census Report on People with Disabilities in Southwestern Pennsylvania

According to the 2000 census, 14 percent of people between the ages of five and 64 in southwestern Pennsylvania reported having a disability. In spite of this sizeable number, people with disabilities remain a largely invisible minority group. Their needs and interests are often overlooked when assessing the needs of the community, and it can be difficult to measure inclusion and accessibility when so few descriptive statistics are available. As a result, the FISA Foundation (www.fisafoundation.org/) commissioned Ralph Bangs, Research Associate, University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research, to analyze the 2000 census data and develop a comprehensive report on the profile of people with disabilities in the 10-county area of southwestern Pennsylvania. Results include: 1) 22.7 percent of people with disabilities are living at or below the poverty line; 2) the employment rate for people with disabilities is only 49.1 percent (vs. 77.2 percent of people without disabilities); and 3) many people have multiple disabilities. Among people with disabilities the average number is 1.82 disabilities or functional limitations.

The full report is available at www.ucsur.pitt.edu/; click on Publications.

[Submitted by the FISA Foundation, whose director, Dee Delaney, is a member of the DFN board.]

Coordinating Disability Services: An Urban Model

The Disability Connection, www.county.allegheny.pa.us/dhs/tdc/index.asp, a county Office of Disabilities based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will soon be celebrating its first birthday. Created through the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and directed by Judith Barricella, the Disability Connection advocates for appropriate, coordinated services for people with a range of disabilities.

The 2000 Census reports that over 200,000 people with disabilities live in the City of Pittsburgh and in Allegheny County, which surrounds the metropolitan area. Nearly half of them experience restrictions in major life activities. Many have fallen through the cracks or found it difficult to navigate the complex system of independent, specialized service providers which were created by federal and state funding silos. The Disability Connection was created to add value to the work on disabilities that was already taking place in the county rather than duplicate existing services. Key responsibilities of the office include an internal advocate for change, who provides education and training to ensure that county staff are sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities; a coordinator for grant-writing efforts, who identifies potential grants and brings the proper organizations to the table to form coalitions to apply for funds; and an information coordinator, who re-directs questions that come through any of the county hotlines to resources that already exist and develops resources on disabilities for consumers and staff.

The FISA Foundation recently granted $50,000 to continue operations of the Disability Connection for a second year. In addition to supporting the full inclusion of people with disabilities into the community, the southwestern Pennsylvania foundation also promotes the health and well being of women and girls. More information is available at www.fisafoundation.org/.

[Submitted by the FISA Foundation]

Independent Sector Honors Western Law Center for Disability Rights

Independent Sector (IS), www.independentsector.org/index.htm, presented its 2004 Leadership IS Award to the Western Law Center for Disability Rights, a long-time member of DFN, in recognition the center’s commitment to developing leaders in the disability rights and Southern California communities. The Leadership IS Award, created in 1999 and funded by ChevronTexaco Corp., recognizes nonprofit organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to leadership development.

The Western Law Center for Disability Rights, based at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California, promotes the rights of people with disabilities and the public interest in and awareness of those rights by providing legal and related services. The center embodies and promotes an inclusive and diverse community by empowering disenfranchised groups and hiring and mentoring people within the community, including people with disabilities and members of minority communities. The center is dedicated to helping staff members and law students develop the necessary skills for a successful career by encouraging them to attend training sessions and conferences, and it provides on-site courses for continuing education. For more information on the Western Law Center for Disability Rights, go to www.wlcdr.org/.

Disability in the News

IDEA Reauthorization Signed into Law

On December 3, President Bush signed the newly reauthorized Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which addresses federal rules and funding for special education. The result is a renewal of special-education requirements that eases pressure on teachers while increasing the enforcement of high standards for children with disabilities. The bill is the first major revision to IDEA in seven years.

While the reauthorization does not correct all of the problems with special education, it does address some of the most difficult ones. Unlike most education bills, IDEA involves a civil rights issue: the right of more than 6.7 million students with disabilities to receive a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. While reinforcing this principle, the law also addresses the question of whether schools can discipline or expel unruly students with disabilities. They can, but only after an appropriate process and only if they guarantee that the special services the child was receiving are not discontinued.

IDEA — which passed the House by a 397 to 3 vote and was approved by voice vote in the Senate — brings special education in line with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act: it establishes the qualifications required for special education teachers; provides funding for teachers to get those qualifications if they don’t have them; and takes steps toward establishing alternatives to assess the progress of children with disabilities. A key provision allows schools more freedom to remove disruptive children if their behavior is not a result of their disability. It also targets methods used to determine which children have disabilities, earlier intervention for struggling students and stronger statewide enforcement of compliance. For teachers, there will be less paperwork. New educators will also have more flexibility in proving they are “highly qualified” to stay in the classroom under new federal standards — not the flexibility preferred by special education advocate groups, however. The bill encourages mediation in disputes between parents and schools, and it allows states and districts to recover attorneys’ fees if parent complaints are deemed frivolous.

Congress is expected to recommit to covering as much as 40 percent of the additional cost of educating children with disabilities — it now pays less than 19 percent (states and schools must make up the difference of billions of dollars). IDEA could be fully funded for $10 billion, bringing it in line with that 40 percent cost share. Under the reauthorization, Congress would reach its spending share by 2011, but that is based on yearly increases that are not guaranteed.

According to the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), a national law and policy center dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities, “we lost some protections. Yet, we also held back ferocious assaults on discipline provisions and due process protections, and we prevailed in several key areas, from an increase in the number of certified special education teachers to expanded access to assistive technology to sanctions on states that do not comply with the law. And we retained continued services for students moved to alternate placements, attorney fee reimbursements for parents who prevail in due process hearings, and functional behavior assessments and manifestation determinations.”

Many advocates say that the special education debate is not over, nor should it be. It is legitimate to question the costs of the law, both in terms of time and money, and whether schools comply with it because they genuinely believe that special education is worthwhile or because they are required to. They say that the answers to these questions will impact the quality of the education for all children. Senate and House education leaders praised one another for their commitment to IDEA. After negotiators reached terms Wednesday, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said, “In many respects, this is one of the most important undertakings and success stories of this Congress.”

[Adapted from an Associated Press article, 11/20/04; an editorial from the Washington Post, 11/19/04; and a Justice-For-All E-News bulletin, 11/20/04]

President Bush Signs Assistive Technology Act of 2004

President Bush signed into law the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, which guarantees that people with disabilities throughout the US and its territories will have access to the technology they need for independent living in school, at home, the workplace and in the community. Every state and U.S. territory has an Assistive Technology Act Program (AT program) funded under the provisions of the Technology-Related Assistance Act of 1988. Legislation supporting the state AT programs was scheduled to expire on September 30, 2004. The renewed legislation supports the continuance of state AT programs and eliminates the sunset provision. Disability advocates state that eliminating the sunset provision sent a clear signal that the government supports a federal investment for people with disabilities.

[Adapted from an Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP) Press Release. For more information on ATAP, contact Deborah Buck at 518-439-1263 or dbuck@nycap.rr.com, or visit their website: www.ataporg.org/.]

Laws Signed for Special Olympic, Offender Treatment and Asthma-Related Grants

In November, President Bush signed into law three additional bills related to programs or services for people with disabilities. The Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act of 2004 (PL 108-406) authorizes $5.5 million in grants through the Department of Education for activities to increase Special Olympics participation and for designing and implementing Special Olympics education programs in the United States. It also authorizes $3.5 million in FY2005 grants through the Department of State to fund the same initiatives worldwide. In addition, the act authorizes $6 million annually in FY2005-2009 for grants and cooperative agreements through the Health & Human Services Department to Special Olympics for implementing on-site health assessments, screening for health problems, health education, data collection and referrals to direct healthcare services.

The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment & Crime Reduction Act of 2004 (PL 108-414) authorizes $50 million in grants to state and local governments to develop strategies to respond more effectively to nonviolent juvenile and adult offenders with mental illnesses or co-occurring disorders. Funding can be used for programs including jail diversion, treatment for incarcerated offenders with mental illnesses, community reentry and cross-training of mental-health professionals and law enforcement and corrections officers.

The Asthmatic Schoolchildren’s Treatment and Health Management Act of 2004 (PL 108-377) directs the Department of Health & Human Services to give preference for making Public Health Service Act grants or other asthma-related grants to states requiring public elementary and secondary schools to allow students to self-administer medication to treat asthma or anaphylaxis under specified conditions.

For more information, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/ (search under Public Laws option for 108-377, 108-406 or 108-414).

[Adapted from a Disability Funding Week Alert, 11/11/04]

Newly Disabled Iraq Veterans Featured on 60 Minutes

CBS News’ 60 Minutes reported in November on the thousands of newly disabled Iraq war veterans who continue to go uncounted and largely unrecognized by the U.S. government and the American public. Soldiers who are injured, whether in hostile action or by accident or illness, are all paying the same price, and 60 Minutes asked how and why many injured and ill soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are left off the Pentagon’s casualty count. Correspondent Bob Simon profiled the wartime experiences of three men.

Chris Schneider was in a unit providing security for a supply convoy traveling through dangerous Iraqi desert. After a heavy equipment transport rig hit Schneider’s vehicle, he had to have his leg amputated. Even though he was injured while on a mission in a war zone and will receive the same benefits as a soldier who has been wounded in combat, he is not included in the Pentagon’s casualty count. The official tally counts only deaths and wounded in action but does not include “non-combat” injured — those whose injuries were not the result of enemy fire. Schneider says that this is a “slap in the face.” He was sent on mission in hostile territory — hostile enough that there was a perimeter set up at the time of the accident to prevent an ambush or an attack.

Joel Gomez was riding in the back of a Bradley fighting vehicle, looking for insurgents, when the ground gave way beneath his vehicle, which landed upside-down in the Tigris River. His two buddies were killed. Gomez survived the accident, but he is now a quadriplegic. Even though Gomez sustained his injuries in an accident while looking for insurgents, he is, by the Pentagon’s definition, “non-combat injured.”

Graham Alstrom has been back from Iraq for over a year, but now has a stress-related condition and he’s haunted by what he saw and what he did in combat. Soon after he returned home, Alstrom’s life began to unravel. Alstrom said that he is partly ashamed of some of the things he did and can’t separate killing people from killing them in combat.

The military says his illness is not combat-related. Alstrom won’t get a Purple Heart for his service in Iraq. It was only his mind that was wounded in battle.

The Department of Defense (DOD) says the injuries and illnesses suffered by Gomez and thousands of other troops should not be taken out of context. In their letter to 60 Minutes, they said: “In order to understand rates of injuries and diseases, it is necessary to understand what the normal or usual rates of injuries and diseases might be in other situations.” DOD estimates that there have been more than 15,000 troops with so-called ‘non-battle’ injuries and diseases that have been evacuated from Iraq and have not been included in published casualty reports. Most cases are not life threatening. However, among the 80 percent who don’t return are soldiers who suffered crushing bone fractures, spinal injuries, heart problems and psychiatric illness. None are included in the casualty count, which leaves the true human cost of the war something of a mystery.

“Every one of us went over there with the knowledge that we could die,” says Schneider. “And then they tell you, you’re wounded, or your sacrifice doesn’t deserve to be recognized, or we don’t deserve to be on their list, it’s not right. It’s almost disgraceful.”

[Adapted from a 60 Minutes CBS News Program,” Iraq, The Uncounted,” 11/21/04 and a Justice-For-All email bulletin, 11/25/04. For a complete transcript, go to www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/19/60minutes/main656756.shtml?CMP=ILC-SearchStories.]

Wall Street Journal Article Labels Move From Institutions to Group Homes for People with Developmental Disabilities a “Fragile Success”

In a December 15 Wall Street Journal article, reporter Clare Ansberry noted that, while lawmakers and courts have pledged that people with developmental disabilities should be free to live in communities, rather than institutions, they have effectively left the task of fulfilling that pledge to caregivers who often work long hours in group homes for very little pay. In many ways, those efforts are paying off. Currently, about 90 percent of the nation’s 4.5 million people with developmental disabilities live in private homes, and many others live in small group homes. Eight states and the District of Columbia have closed all large public institutions for this population, a move which advocates view as not only more humane, but also more cost-effective.

Obscured in the statistics, however, The Journal found other figures that suggest a more fragile success. Faced with escalating demands and low pay, turnover among the more than 800,000 care-workers averages 50-75 percent per year. It continues to be an underclass of low-wage earners with an average starting wage in the nonprofit private sector of $8.68 an hour. A 40-hour work-week at that rate yields an annual salary of $18,054, slightly below the $18,810 poverty level for a family of four. Compounding the problem, there are not enough workers to care for those currently listed as receiving services, let alone the estimated 80,000 people on waiting lists. About 700,000 people with developmental disabilities are now living at home with parents who are 60-years and older. Soon, they will also need help. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 62 percent increase in demand for care workers through 2010. Raising their salary is a politically charged issue.

According to one pioneer in the move from institutions to group homes, “we had to make sure we did it cheaper” to sell the new paradigm. Inadvertently, however, that “anchored” the salaries for workers over the past three decades. While the average annual cost for a person with a developmental disability to live in a group home ($67,000) is half of what it costs in an institution, workers in those homes are paid approximately 25 percent less than workers in institutions. Wages and benefits already make up 60-70 percent of budgets for agencies that provide group home services. Increasing caregiver salaries would require an increase in Medicaid spending, which could force states to cut other programs or raise taxes. Legislation introduced to Congress would provide additional temporary funding to states to reimburse agencies for increasing wages. That bill is still pending (see following article).

[Adapted from “A Policy Shift’s Costly Legacy,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/15/04]

National Family Caregivers Month

In honor of National Family Caregivers Month (November) United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) celebrated the commitment and service of family caregivers. Stephen Bennett, president and chief executive officer of UCP stated that millions of people with disabilities depend on the dedication of family caregivers to provide the majority of supports and services they need to live full and productive lives. UCP also honored the nation’s direct support professionals. Many direct support professionals could earn higher hourly wages and better health benefits in less demanding jobs in the fast food or retail industries.

UCP is supporting the Direct Support Professional Fairness and Security Act, introduced by Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.). If approved, the law will take the necessary steps to ensure that home and personal care workers are compensated fairly. UCP called on President Bush and members of Congress to recognize the role of professional caregivers by supporting American families and urged Congress to reintroduce and pass the Direct Support Fairness and Security Act in the next Congressional session. For more information about UCP, go to www.ucp.org/.

[Adapted form a UCP press release, 11/19/04 and a Justice-for-All e-mail news bulletin, 11/18/04]

Court Rules that ADA Does Not Cover the Web

Acting largely on procedural grounds, an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals split decision upheld a lower court’s decision from October 2002, which concluded that Web sites cannot be required to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act’s (ADA’s) public access provisions. Nevertheless, the three-judge panel reviewing the case of Southwest Airlines v. Access Now, an advocacy group representing blind people, noted that a future case could provide a vehicle for exploring the question in greater depth. “In declining to evaluate the merits of this case, we are in no way unmindful that the legal questions raised are significant,” wrote Judge Stanley Marcus.

The ADA states that any “place of public accommodation” must be accessible to people with disabilities, and the law lists 12 categories, including hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, universities and bowling alleys. It does not specifically name the Internet. Access Now v. Southwest is the first lawsuit to address directly the question of how the ADA might apply to the web.

Access Now noted that it was possible for blind people to buy tickets on Southwest’s site but argued that it was “extremely difficult.” The judge was asked to order Southwest to provide text that could serve as an alternative to the graphics on its site and to redesign the site’s navigation bar to make it easier to understand. Since the lawsuit was filed, however, Southwest redesigned its Web site, and blind users have found it easier to navigate. In August, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group released an updated working draft of its extensive guidelines for online publishers. Examples of their recommendations include text tags on graphical elements and captions accompanying a video clip in an online news story.

[Adapted from an article in CNET News.com by Declan McCullagh, 9/27/04. For the full article, go to http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588-5384087.html.]

Landmark Decision Issued in Nationwide Class Action by Deaf Workers Against United Parcel Service

A class of deaf workers across the country won a landmark victory in the Federal District Court in San Francisco against United Parcel Service (UPS). The lawsuit, Bates v. UPS, alleged that UPS, the nation’s fourth largest employer, systematically discriminated against its deaf employees by refusing to consider them for driving positions on the basis of their disability. UPS’ defense throughout the trial focused on the stereotypical notion that people who are deaf are inherently unsafe drivers.

Until last summer, the lawsuit also alleged that UPS failed to provide sign language interpreters and other reasonable accommodations needed by deaf employees — as well as emergencyy alerts, text telephones and equal access to advancement. After several months of trial, the parties reached a comprehensive settlement regarding these issues, which provided sweeping injunctive relief and over $5 million in damages for members of the class. However, the parties were unable to reach an agreement on UPS policy of not allowing deaf people to hold driving positions. That issue was the subject of the remainder of the lawsuit, submitted to the Court in December 2003.

Bates v. UPS is the first lawsuit concerning workplace discrimination brought on behalf of deaf workers. During the first two months of the trial, plaintiffs presented testimony from 30 deaf employees and applicants describing UPS’ refusal to consider them for driving positions, even though the positions were available and in spite of their seniority. Many class members testified that hearing co-workers, who were hired at the same time or after they were hired, were advanced to driving positions while the deaf employees remained in low-level manual labor positions year after year.

The Court noted that “Plaintiffs [should] be given the same opportunities that a hearing applicant would be given to show that they can perform the job of package-car-driver safely and effectively … Deaf individuals who meet UPS threshold requirements cannot be categorically excluded and must instead be permitted to proceed through the company’s regular processes for becoming a package-car driver, with reasonable accommodations provided to them as needed.” The plaintiffs were represented by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a nonprofit law center and by Schneider & Wallace, a private firm specializing in civil rights.

[Adapted from a DRA press release]

Voting Machines Provide Greater Disability Access

More voters than ever cast independent, secret ballots, but hurdles still remain. Weeks after election day computer scientists, activists, election officials and candidates continued to spar over voting technology. However, many people with disabilities used electronic voting machines to cast independent and secret ballots for the first time in their lives. This year 32 states allowed voters to cast electronic ballots; in 19 states voters used multiple voting systems including lever, punch card, paper and optical scan ballots.

Voters with disabilities still encountered obstacles despite finding more accessible machines than ever before. Election day complaints fell into several categories, from voters who said they were unable to cast secret ballots to those who could not access their polling sites. In Ohio and Michigan, people who are usually allowed to use curbside voting had to wait longer than usual because of the long lines at the polls.

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) allocated $850 million to the states to purchase accessible voting equipment. The bill appropriates $100 million to make polling places physically accessible, with grants to be awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, it will take time to distribute the funds. As yet, few states have undertaken studies to determine what physical barriers exist at their polling places, and they are just beginning to determine how they will use the funding. HAVA requires every polling place in the country to have at least one voting machine that allows people to vote secretly and independently. In recent surveys some states found that over half of their polling places did not comply with the accessibility mandates outlined in HAVA.

Jim Dickson, vice president, AAPD, said that to assure that similar studies are undertaken across the country, organizations including AAPD would work to create a detailed road map of what needs to be done in the future.

[Adapted from an Electionline.org, article by Elizabeth Schneider, 11/18/04, and a Justice-For-All e-mail news bulletin, 11/20/04. To access the entire article, go to www.electionline.org/index.jsp?page=Newsletter%20Nov%2018%202004.]

Ed Roberts Campus Gets a Boost from HUD Funding

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the city of Berkeley, Calif., $2 million in grants and $6 million in loans to contribute to the Ed Roberts Campus — a centeer promising to be the world’s foremost disability rights service, advocacy, education, training and policy center. The center will provide one central location for services to people with disabilities. The planned two-story building, covering 3.5 acres of land, will serve about 500 people a day in programs such as sign language interpretation and peer counseling to help people with disabilities live independently.

Plans for the $35 million center have been pending since 1996. The Ed Roberts Campus is also working with the University of California at Berkeley to have some VC courses for people with disabilities to be held at the new center.

[Adapted from an article in The Daily Californian by Jacqueline Soohoo, 10/19/04. Note: The Ed Roberts Campus has previously received funding from the NEC Foundation of America and other DFN members.]

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