Global Down Syndrome Educational Grants
In 2012, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the National Down Syndrome Congress established the Global Down Syndrome Educational Grants to spur educational programs for people with Down syndrome. The two organizations are pooling resources to co-manage and co-fund the grants, which are worth up to $15,000 each and available to local Down syndrome organizations that are affiliates of the National Down Syndrome Congress.
The grants are based on affiliate, parent, and self-advocate feedback regarding a need for more educational programs and opportunities, with several objectives:
- Provide much-needed financial resources to local Down syndrome organizations
- Create a professional and in-depth application process similar to community foundations
- Fund programs and organizations with a high probability of leveraging the grants toward long-term sustainability
- Have a feedback loop in terms of measuring success of the grants for both the awardees and future grants
2014 Grant Application
The Global Down Syndrome Education Grant program will continue in 2014; the grant application will be available starting March 17th, 2014.
Medical professionals, self-advocates and parents of people with Down syndrome will have access to 14 innovative educational programs across the U.S. and Puerto Rico through $155,000 in Global Down Syndrome Educational Grants. Grant recipients detailed their ideas, budgets and goals for educational programs as part of their applications, which were reviewed by Global and NDSC for thoroughness, potential and sustainability. More than 50 applications have been submitted through the program.
- Down Country (Missouri, Illinois, Iowa) — “I Learn / I Speak / I Care” is designed to give rural residents access to cutting-edge education and information through workshops, and provide technology to rural schools.
- Down Syndrome Association of Brazos Valley (Texas) — “Keys to Success” will create a computer training program, including a computer lab, to help students with Down syndrome acquire computer skills for everyday life, as well as job security and independence.
- Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida — “Global Down Syndrome Regional Seminar Series” will be a quarterly program for self-advocates, their families and medical professionals in various locations across central Florida.
- Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma — Full-day workshops will serve as learning tools for parents who have children with Down syndrome in hopes of empowering them to advocate strongly for their children at school, in extra-curricular activities and in the workplace.
- Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond — “Learning Program” will provide programming for children with Down syndrome ages 4 to 7, supplementing their formal instruction in school with additional help in literacy and math.
- Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-South — “Self Advocate Council Delegation” will help people with Down syndrome to have a voice and to speak up for themselves by preparing PowerPoints for public speaking, planning their own social events, and planning volunteer efforts and fundraising ideas.
- Puerto Rico Down Syndrome Foundation — “Increasing Access” will be an educational pilot program for adults with Down syndrome that involves developing a curriculum and helping at least 20 adults with reading, writing and math skills.
- Red River Valley Down Syndrome Society (Texas) — “After School / After Work Recreation Center” will build academic, emotional and social skills for people with intellectual disabilities and their typical peers through enrichment classes, workshops and peer interaction.
The grants were first announced at the 2012 Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action Conference in Washington DC. More than 30 grant proposals were submitted in 2012, and a joint committee of the NDSC and Global Down Syndrome Foundation reviewed the proposals. Six grant recipients were announced at the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention in July 2012:
- Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond – The grant funds inaugural “From PossAbilities to Practical Applications” Educational Conference for parents, educators and professionals who work with individuals with Down syndrome
- Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia – The grant funds IEP Support Program to help parents navigate the special education system by providing an annual seminar, followed by monthly roundtable discussions, and opportunities for individual IEP support and consultation
- Down Syndrome Society of Mobile County – The grant funds development and implementation of an Icebreakers Etiquette Class that will give teens and adults with Down syndrome more confidence in social settings
- Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization – The grant funds expansion of Exceptional Educators program, which trains teachers, paraprofessionals and administrative staff in creating successful inclusive classrooms
- Down Syndrome Foundation of SE New Mexico – The grant funds DSF Educational Workshop to educate the educators about the realities of teaching students with Down syndrome; this annual event will provide educators the tools to include students with Down syndrome successfully in the general classroom environment
- Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area – The grant funds Down Syndrome Educational Alliance to identify and train school-based Down syndrome specialists to ensure that students with Down syndrome have the support, tools and resources to reach their potential
Here is what some of the initial grant recipients have said about the program:
“Having the endorsement of GDSF and NDSC on our program materials lends great credibility, especially for a new program.”
“The grant’s national recognition allows us to promote and showcase the program as not only a collaboration with our county school district, but also with national partners.”
“These dollars are making a difference all over the US and in both rural and urban areas.”