Working Toward a More Equitable Society
Thirty-five years ago, three mothers needed services for their children with disabilities. Despite their personal networks, they had great difficulty finding the information, so they set about compiling it themselves. Once finished, they wanted to share it and create a place where other parents could access critical information on disability services. Since they required financial assistance to do so, the mothers turned to The New York Community Trust.
“In 1983, there were very few funders that would touch disability in any way,” said Irfan Hasan, Program Director at the Trust, a grantmaking foundation dedicated to creating a healthy, equitable, and thriving community for all. “It was Joyce Bove, former Vice President, who convinced the Trust’s board to put money behind an organization that had no track record and a huge, daunting mission ahead of it,” Hasan said.
It was The New York Community Trust who made the first grant to get INCLUDEnyc, then Resources for Children with Special Needs, off the ground as a nonprofit. “This was shortly after the push for deinstitutionalization and the removal of kids from Willowbrook, so there really weren’t many options for children with disabilities. This parent-led effort to figure out how these kids could get services that everybody else was getting made a lot of sense.”
That was the beginning of INCLUDEnyc’s invaluable partnership with the Trust. Year after year, they funded a variety of INCLUDEnyc initiatives, from our summer camp guides to pilot programs, like High School Launch. As INCLUDEnyc has grown, creating new programs and reaching thousands of families annually, the Trust has stood by our side. “The New York Community Trust is proud to be a longtime supporter of INCLUDEnyc,” explains Rachel Pardoe, Program Officer at the Trust. “We are excited to continue our partnership to make our city a place where children with disabilities can thrive.” Hasan echoes this, “We continue to support INCLUDEnyc, because they are doing important work. People with disabilities need to be included and represented.”
As INCLUDEnyc celebrates its 35th anniversary, campaigns like #35Storiesfor35Years remind us of the progress we have made. This would not have been possible if The New York Community Trust had not taken that leap of faith so many years ago.