PBS 39 Primetime ran a program on Friday, December 11 featuring the 25th anniversary of the ADA. Local guests to the show discussed the great progress our community has made to remove barriers for individuals with disabilities, as well as the work that remains. The AWS Foundation is very proud of their many ADA videos featured throughout the show.
Meet Halie Smith, born with cerebral palsy.
Fort Wayne, IN — November 11, 2015 — AWS Foundation announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Patti Hays as Chief Executive Officer effective December 1, 2015. Hays has served as interim CEO since June.
“After a national search and meeting with a number of exceptional candidates, we are confident we’ve selected the best leader to achieve the Foundation’s mission,” states Don Steininger, AWS Foundation’s Chairman. “With Patti Hays taking the role of CEO and the full support of the Board of Directors, we have the leadership needed to realize our vision. Patti’s significant experience, passion and drive will play a pivotal role in expanding the Foundation.”
Previously, Ms. Hays served as Sr. Vice President of Business Health Development for Lutheran Hospital and most recently as an independent consultant for organizations seeking assistance with strategic growth initiatives. Hays holds a Master’s of Nursing degree from Louisiana State University Medical Center and serves on numerous nonprofit boards.
“I’m honored and excited to have the opportunity to be part of such a meaningful mission,” states Ms. Hays. “Through our initiatives, grant-making activities and community partners, AWS Foundation has the ability to address the needs of children and adults with disabilities.”
“Northeast Indiana is a welcoming community with even more we can do to be inclusive of everyone. I believe the Foundation’s vision and assets will enable us to ensure that those with enduring disabilities have the same opportunities to experience all that the region has to offer from education and employment to social and recreational activities,” says Hays.
Ms. Hays succeeds Mike Cahill who recently left the position to assume the role of President and Chief Executive Officer at Physicians Health Plan of Northern Indiana.
“Patti is a strong and persuasive advocate who knows the Foundation and where it wants to go,” says Mr. Cahill. “She is passionate about the Foundation’s mission and a good choice to challenge the community to think differently about disabilities. I look forward to seeing what comes next.”
Building a community of inclusion encompasses more than race, gender, religion and political belief. It also means ensuring that people with disabilities find a place not only to become involved, but also to thrive.
Fort Wayne, IN ─ The AWS Foundation recently awarded $818,500 in grants to 12 non-profit organizations that benefit individuals with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities in northeast Indiana. These organizations include:
Autism Society of Indiana: $25,000 for CareerAlly job placement program and an additional $25,000 for the rural outreach program for person-centered care coordination
Byron Health Center: $20,000 for a sensory room
Gigi’s Playhouse: $25,000 start-up funds for a new Achievement Center for individuals with Down syndrome
McMillen Center for Health Education: $25,000 to create an Improving Oral Health curriculum and training program, and an additional $25,000 to expand their Body Talk program
Mental Health America in Allen County: $30,000 for the Kids On The Block™ program and an additional $38,500 for the Volunteer Advocates for Seniors and Incapacitated Adults (VASIA) program
PBS 39: $25,000 for primetime programming and an additional $5,000 for HD remote equipment
Riverfront Development: $200,000 to support riverfront development accessibility planning
Sara’s Garden: $25,000 to add a fence around their new accessible playground
Scherer Resources: $50,000 to pilot an integrated vocational skills training program for high school students
Summit Equestrian Center: $25,000 for riding equipment, therapeutic riding scholarships, and professional development
The Arc of Indiana Foundation: $250,000 for Erskine Green Training Institute student scholarships, commissions to artists with disabilities for artwork, and research and data collection on the impact the training institute has on its graduates.
Town of Waterloo: $25,000 for an accessible playground surface
Muncie – The AWS Foundation has awarded a $250,000 grant to the Erskine Green Training Institute to be used for student scholarships, commissions to artists for artwork that will be displayed at the institute’s adjoining Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center, and research and data collection on the impact the training institute has on its graduates.
The Erskine Green Training Institute, scheduled to open in January, 2016 in Muncie, Indiana will provide vocational training to individuals with disabilities for jobs in the hotel, food service, and healthcare environments.
The mission of the AWS Foundation is to help children and adults with enduring intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities live as independently as possible, be included in the community and function at their highest potential.
Patti Hays, AWS Foundation Interim CEO said, “We’re pleased to award this grant to provide scholarships for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This training offers real-life job skills that will help individuals compete in the job market and increase employment opportunities.”
“Having a job leads to higher self-esteem, an opportunity for independence, and greater community inclusion. For employers, studies show there are business benefits of employing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well. It’s a win for everyone involved,” Hays said.
Kim Dodson, The Arc of Indiana Foundation Executive Director said, “We are extremely grateful for the support of the AWS Foundation. With their generous support, we will be able to offer scholarships to students to attend the Erskine Green Training Institute. In addition, the grant will provide commissions to artists with disabilities whose art work will grace rooms at the Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center. And finally, thanks to their support, funding will be available for ongoing research and data collection to follow students after they leave the institute and enter the job market.”
“We are deeply honored by the AWS Foundation’s support of this truly unique venture that will change the lives of people with disabilities throughout Indiana,” Dodson concluded.
For more information about the AWS Foundation, please visit www.AWSfoundation.org or contact 206-207-5728.
For more information about the Erskine Green Training Institute, please visit www.erskinegreeninstitute.org or contact 317-977-2375 or 800-382-9100.
Assistant Director of Advancement
The Arc of Indiana
Achieve with us.
The 7th vignette in the year long campaign to celebrate the ADA’s 25th anniversary is now complete. You will also be able to view this during newscasts on WANE TV and on WFWA.
Fort Wayne (September 10, 2015) – The board of the AWS Foundation has awarded $200,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne to support riverfront development efforts. The funding will be used to make the new project accessible to individuals with disabilities.
“We want to see this project exceed ADA requirements,” said Don Steininger, AWS Foundation Board Chair. “Our goal is to help make Fort Wayne’s riverfront a welcoming and exciting destination for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and friends.”
A portion of the funding will be used to ensure that planning for riverfront development includes consideration of unique amenities that will make the riverfront development responsive to the needs and interests of the disability community. The remaining funds can be used for the additional costs incurred for capital improvements to enhance the riverfront experience for individuals with disabilities.
Along with the $200,000 grant, a 50% match from Lilly Endowment under the Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow program will provide an additional $100,000 for projects funded with the AWS grant.
“We are thrilled that the AWS Foundation is providing this support,” said Chris Rupp, board President of the Community Foundation. “This will help to make sure riverfront attractions become the destination of choice for persons of all abilities.” Founded in 2007, the mission of AWS Foundation is to help children and adults with enduring intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities live as independently as possible, be included in the community and function at their highest potential.
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More than 45,000 people with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities live in Allen County, yet they represent one of the most overlooked segments of the community. Rather than focusing on their disabilities, people should recognize their capabilities and the contributions they can make instead. “We are better because of our diversity,” says AWS Foundation longtime board member and interim CEO Patti Hays. “We need to make sure we support and nurture a variety of abilities in the workforce and throughout the community.”
The 6th vignette in the year long campaign to celebrate the ADA’s 25th anniversary is now complete. You will also be able to view this during newscasts on WANE TV and on WFWA.