People with developmental disabilities face physical, intellectual, learning, and behavioral impairments. Families may experience life-long challenges while caring for a family member with a developmental disability. Within the US alone, there is an estimated fifteen percent of children, ranging from toddler to teen, affected by at least one developmental disability.
While state and federal government agencies provide legislative rights and protection and a portion of funding assistance, they do not cover all expenditures related to housing, teaching, social and community programs, and other services geared to enhancing the lives of individuals with I/DD.
The Philanthropic Community
The philanthropic umbrella has funneled financial resources through non-profit, non-governmental agencies, foundations, charitable trusts, and endowments since the 1960s. Through action and advocacy, the philanthropic sector maintains a vital role in integrating individuals with I/DD into their communities in addition to the mainstream educational system, creating more equality and opportunities for them to become contributing members of society.
Entities within the philanthropic sector bankroll research and advocate for social awareness with targeted marketing and fundraising campaigns through organizations and volunteer groups. In addition, charitable organizations contribute to the wellbeing of people with I/DD and their families through subsidizing summer camps and other initiatives that target physical and occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and more at a much lower cost.
The Impact of Philanthropy on Not-For-Profits like ILA
For over thirty years, Independent Living Association, with locations throughout New York City, has remained a leader in providing the highest level of person-centered care to Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. People with I/DD receive the best care possible at ILA due to added financial support from the private and philanthropic sectors. ILA’s highly trained team nurtures client growth, leading to increased self-worth and independence, culminating in the confidence to integrate more within their community. Families are supported and guided throughout the process that includes several branches of care.
With over thirty-five group homes or Individualized Residential Alternatives, residents with I/DD learn to live together, work together, and learn together, leading to brighter and more fulfilling lives. IRAs are supervised and maintained twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, providing a safe and nurturing environment. Funding through private donations and additional support from the philanthropic community helps ensure a continual flow of programs and support care.
Pre-vocational training is one part of the day habilitation program, where ACES or Adults in the Community Enjoying Success are introduced to new opportunities for integrating within their community. The program runs during weekdays and encourages clients with I/DD to volunteer in local businesses, learning valuable skills while increasing their sense of independence and self-worth.
For those who live at home with their families, the Community Habilitation Program support staff provide pre-vocational training and accompany individuals to volunteer sites and activities, with the purpose of training individuals how to travel and, through their experiences, develop self-discovery of goals and interests. Support staff also work one-to-one with their clients in the home to teach daily living skills like cooking, personal grooming, and financial management.
For people with I/DD, quality of life is measured and enhanced by the love and help of family and the extended care and professional services provided by not-for-profit organizations like ILA.
The aid from organizations within the philanthropic community can help bridge the gap between financial need and not-for-profit agencies that provide ongoing care and attention. ILA continues to rely on funds from public and private sources to continue its signature level of services and programs. Donations are funneled directly into programs that improve the lives of hundreds of our individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Please visit ilaonline.org or call 718-852-2000 for more information on how you can donate and help make a difference.