May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust


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Adults & Transitioning Youth with Disabilities

The Trust envisions a society where adults and transitioning youth with intellectual, developmental, or physical disabilities maximize their ability to live independently; secure employment; and engage in an inclusive community.

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Overview

The Trust aims to strengthen supportive services for adults and youth transitioning to adulthood with intellectual, developmental, or physical disabilities, enabling them to maximize their ability to live independently, gain economic security through a rewarding job, and engage in an inclusive community through social and recreational opportunities.

Grantmaking in the Adults and Transitioning Youth with Disabilities program area addresses four strategies – independent living, employment, community inclusion, and support for caregivers, who help make all this possible. The Trust prioritizes organizations that use a person-centered approach, involving the individual in decision-making, to support each person to reach their full potential.

The Trust primarily makes grants for direct services that support these four strategies, as further defined below. It also makes a small number of grants to advance the work of national organizations that are evaluating, documenting, and/or sharing research-based best practices related to effective disability advocacy and systems change.

Focus Population

The focus population for this program area includes adults and youth transitioning to adulthood (ages 15 and up) who have either an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) or a physical disability - including mobility, visual, or hearing impairment. The Trust is also interested in supporting caregivers, particularly aging caregivers who are engaging in transition planning for the future care of their adult children with disabilities.

Strategies

  • Independent Living

    Empower adults and youth transitioning to adulthood to bridge successfully into active lives in the community.

    Strategies include:

    • Provide supportive services and training to maximize an adult’s ability to live interdependently in the community
    • Offer interventions enabling individuals to live safely in the least restrictive residential setting and make their own informed decisions

  • Employment

    Enable adults and youth transitioning to adulthood who seek work and economic stability to experience opportunities for employment and career growth – meeting both the personal needs of individuals with disabilities and the business needs of their employers.

    Strategies include:

    • Promote integrated, competitive employment in the community for all as an achievable, expected outcome, not the exception
    • Address the needs of both adults with disabilities and prospective employers
    • Support employers to improve their capacity to hire, retain, and promote employees with disabilities

  • Community Inclusion

    Promote inclusive participation of adults and youth transitioning to adulthood in recreational programs, the arts, social events, and civic activities with the acceptance and support of an informed and embracing community that recognizes every individual’s abilities and contributions.

    Strategies include:

    • Enhance overall quality of life, sense of purpose, and self-satisfaction through social support networks and inclusive community activities
    • Reduce social stigmatization through community training and supports to enable full participation by all in community activities

  • Caregiver Support

    Support family caregivers so that they can continue in their caregiving role without being overburdened emotionally, physically, and financially. Also, support aging caregivers in developing comprehensive plans for eventual transition of caregiving and financial/benefits responsibilities.

    Strategies include:

    • Provide education and assistance, including public awareness, legal services, and financial planning advice, for caregivers and family members to develop comprehensive future caregiving plans for eventual transition of caregiving responsibilities for their adult children.
    • Offer respite opportunities for families/caregivers while incorporating formal caregiver support activities such as training, counseling, and information.

Independent Living

Empower adults and youth transitioning to adulthood to bridge successfully into active lives in the community.

Strategies include:

  • Provide supportive services and training to maximize an adult’s ability to live interdependently in the community
  • Offer interventions enabling individuals to live safely in the least restrictive residential setting and make their own informed decisions

Employment

Enable adults and youth transitioning to adulthood who seek work and economic stability to experience opportunities for employment and career growth – meeting both the personal needs of individuals with disabilities and the business needs of their employers.

Strategies include:

  • Promote integrated, competitive employment in the community for all as an achievable, expected outcome, not the exception
  • Address the needs of both adults with disabilities and prospective employers
  • Support employers to improve their capacity to hire, retain, and promote employees with disabilities

Community Inclusion

Promote inclusive participation of adults and youth transitioning to adulthood in recreational programs, the arts, social events, and civic activities with the acceptance and support of an informed and embracing community that recognizes every individual’s abilities and contributions.

Strategies include:

  • Enhance overall quality of life, sense of purpose, and self-satisfaction through social support networks and inclusive community activities
  • Reduce social stigmatization through community training and supports to enable full participation by all in community activities

Caregiver Support

Support family caregivers so that they can continue in their caregiving role without being overburdened emotionally, physically, and financially. Also, support aging caregivers in developing comprehensive plans for eventual transition of caregiving and financial/benefits responsibilities.

Strategies include:

  • Provide education and assistance, including public awareness, legal services, and financial planning advice, for caregivers and family members to develop comprehensive future caregiving plans for eventual transition of caregiving responsibilities for their adult children.
  • Offer respite opportunities for families/caregivers while incorporating formal caregiver support activities such as training, counseling, and information.

Background

The Trust’s grantmaking priorities respond to data and research from the 2017 Institute on Community Integration/The Arc 2017 Community Report on I/DD and the 2010 Kessler Foundation/NOD Survey indicating inequalities and challenges for adults with disabilities in areas including:

Independent Living Support/Housing: More than 75% of individuals/families report they cannot find suitable non-institutional community services, trained and reliable home care providers, supported residential arrangements, and other needed services.

Employment: Nearly 85% of families report that adult family members with I/DD who want to work are unemployed, either part-time or full-time.

Community Inclusion: Adults with disabilities are less likely than those without disabilities to socialize with friends, relatives, or neighbors, indicating ongoing and significant barriers to their participation in leisure activities and community life. Stigma and discrimination also hinder their full acceptance in society.

Caregiver Support: Over 70% of adults with I/DD live with their parents or a family member, of which 26% of caregivers are 60 years of age or older. 54% of caregivers report that they do not have a plan for the future care of the person they support.

The Trust does not fund

  • Organizations or programs that do not primarily serve adults and youth transitioning to adulthood with I/DD or physical disabilities, such as mobility, visual, or hearing impairment
  • Requests to provide services and support for individuals with mental illness or critical illness, defined by the Trust as either a short-term or life threatening/terminal condition
  • Organizations lacking a track record of achieving results toward at least one of the four strategies outlined above

Successful Applicant Organizations

  • Specifically address one or more of Trust's strategies described above through recognized and replicable best practices in the Disability field
  • Incorporate a person-centered planning and service delivery approach, supporting each person to reach their full potential
  • Actively involve individuals with disabilities in decision-making about the focus and evaluation of the effectiveness of service delivery
  • Provide supports that result in community or employer focus on the abilities, rather than disabilities, of individuals
  • Demonstrate success in helping individuals with disabilities to set and achieve realistic personal goals
  • Are recognized in the community for demonstrated efficacy in providing independent living, employment, community engagement, or caregiver support services for individuals with disabilities and their families
  • Coordinate with other community organizations providing services to people with disabilities
  • Collaborate with and share knowledge on best practices with other nonprofits and government agencies serving people with disabilities

Grantseekers Start Here

Competitive applicants must also meet the eligibility and alignment criteria described in the grantseekers section.