Archive for July 12th, 2018

Global Down Syndrome Foundation Awards Over $550k In Educational Grants

July 12th, 2018 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation


Awardees Announced at the National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention Include Nine Organizations from the US and Abroad

This year, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) awarded $75,000 to nine of its member organizations, bringing the total given through its Educational Grants program to over $550K. Since 2012, Global has awarded grants to 60 innovative educational programs developed by local, national and international Down syndrome organizations. This year’s grants will fund programs in California, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Texas, Virginia and Albania. The grant awards were announced at the NDSC Annual Convention, which attracted nearly 4,000 attendees in Dallas, Texas.

“Global member organizations are working hard every day in their communities and making a difference to thousands of people with Down syndrome,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, President & CEO of Global. “We are honored to be able to acknowledge their efforts by offering $10,000 grants to several members each year, and by empowering them to launch really wonderful programs. I’m sure this year’s awardees will continue to make everyone proud.”

The 2018 Global Educational Grant recipients and their funded programs are (in alphabetical order):

1. ACDS (Plainview, NY) “Breakfast Club” will provide free informational material to children and adults with Down syndrome, their parents, caretakers and professionals. Topics anticipated include developing a support system, potty training, advocacy, using technology, managing challenging behavior and more.

2. The Cedars of Marin (Ross, CA) “Healthy Living Education Program” will help educate the residents and day program participants at Cedars about health and wellness. The program will offer engaging learning activities for participants with the goal of improved nutrition and physical activity.

3. Down Syndrome Albania Foundation (Tirana, Albania) “The ABC of Inclusion” will promote the best practices for inclusive education by exchanging experiences and strategies on functioning and development from three Balkan countries: Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia. The program will also help increase the quality of inclusive education by improving the curriculum for first grade students.

4. Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond (Richmond, VA) “Moving On!” is an adult program that will develop key skills needed to explore the possibility of living independently for adults with Down syndrome. It will teach the life skills needed to live independently in their current family home and how to become equal contributors to their household or in the community.

5. Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis (St. Louis, MO) “Silver Steps: Support Services for Caretakers of Aging Adults with Down Syndrome” will expand upon the current Silver Steps program to provide a series of workshops offering concrete resources and services for caregivers.

6. Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas (Richardson, TX) “First Call” program will provide training to parents who have a child with Down syndrome to talk with and mentor new families expecting a child with Down syndrome.

7. Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County (Rockville, MD) “Techniques for Success” is a yearly conference providing education strategies for students from preschool to high school with Down syndrome. Attendees include general and special education professionals, paras, administrators and home schooling parents.

8. Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas (Fort Worth, TX) “NetSmartz: Staying Safe with Social Media” will use a hands-on curriculum to teach individuals with Down syndrome, parents, caregivers and professional educators about online/social media safety. It will use a version of NetSmartz that has been adapted to appeal to and educate individuals with Down syndrome and other IDDs.

9. GraceSigns (Tiburon, CA) “Sign Me a Sentence” will be new app available to children with Down syndrome and other IDDs with a focus on teaching approximately 20 key phrases in sign language in verbal and auditory form.

“The value proposition for being a Global member is really high for us,” says Terri Lancaster, Executive Director of Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond. “Our membership dues help underwrite Global’s important research and medical care benefitting people with Down syndrome. It also allows us to apply for Global’s Membership Grant Program. In 2013, we received a grant to fund our education class serving 48 participants. Today that same program has three class options with 95 participants!”

“We are so excited to receive another Global Membership Grant. The support from Global allows us to create effective and engaging mobile learning apps for individuals with Down syndrome. The grant for our first app, Sign Me A Story, which is currently being updated, helped us achieve nearly 100,000 downloads worldwide,” says Valerie Carter, Executive Director of GraceSigns. “This year, we’re thrilled to have just launched Sign Me ABCs and have lately begun production of a new app to be released in 2019. We appreciate Global as a true capacity-building partner for change.”


About Global
Established in 2009, Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. Global is part of a network of affiliates who work together to deliver on our mission, supporting hundreds of scientists and medical care professionals. Our affiliates include the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center and a new pilot Adult Clinic. For more information, visit and follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter @GDSFoundation, Instagram @globaldownsyndrome).

About Global’s Membership Grant Programs
Global is proud to count over 750 members made up of individuals and 100 local, state, national, and international Down syndrome organizations. Membership dues for Down syndrome organizations cost $150-500 annually, depending on the organization’s annual revenue. One of the advantages of Global membership is access to its two competitive grant programs. The Self-Advocate Employment Initiative Grants help organizations hire or extend employment to employees with Down syndrome. Educational Grants assist in funding innovative programs for education professionals, self-advocates, medical professionals, parents and caregivers and beyond. To learn about other member benefits and to become a member please visit the membership page.

Rejena Carmichael
Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Anca Elena Call
Global Down Syndrome Foundation