Archive for July 23rd, 2020

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, GLOBAL helps provide economic support, shelter, food, and medical care to Down Syndrome Organizations and the Families they serve in 23 states and 4 countries


Press Contacts:

Anca | C: (720) 320-3832 Rejena Carmichael | | C: (240) 603-5494


DENVER, CO July 23, 2020 – Today, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) will provide over $116,000 in COVID-19 Emergency Relief Global Grants (GLOBAL Grants). The grants support over 140 families and 42 Down syndrome organizations in 23 states and 4 countries (Albania, Honduras, Kosovo, and Uganda). GLOBAL Grants are providing food, medical care, shelter support, and other critical assistance to individuals with Down syndrome and their families facing crises during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“GLOBAL is struggling financially too but we decided to convert our educational grants to COVID-19 emergency grants because the need is so great right now, and we simply needed to tap our reserves and help our Down syndrome community,” says Michelle Sie Whitten, GLOBAL President and CEO. “We didn’t think we could fund the overwhelming number of family grants but with the incredible generosity of The Salah Foundation, a private invitation-only foundation, we were able to fund every single one. My staff were literally crying as they read the applications and we feel beyond blessed to provide some modest relief.”

Below are some examples of the GLOBAL Grants:

  • In St. Louis, a grandmother and her two grandchildren who she adopted, one of whom has Down syndrome, were left homeless for four months due to limited resources and social support during this time. The GLOBAL Grant was able to pay the rent to help the family get back on their feet.
  • In Albania, desperately-needed food packages were sent to 56 individuals with Down syndrome and their families that will help them get through the winter as jobs and government support have dried up.
  • In West Michigan, a father who is a disabled veteran and a mother who was temporarily laid off from her special education job due to COVID-19 could not pay their medical bills for their child with Down syndrome who recently had heart surgery. The GLOBAL Grants provided important interim relief for the family of six.
  • In Atlanta, the GLOBAL Grant helped keep the lights on at Adult Disability Medical Healthcare allowing the clinic to continue to provide critical and high-quality care virtually to their patients including care associated with COVID-19.

“Many of our donors have frozen their support, project grants have been postponed, and unfortunately, our government left the non-profit sector out of financial support packages,” says Emanuela Zaimi, Executive Director of Down Syndrome Albania Foundation. “Feeling hopeless and exhausted, we needed support and luckily GLOBAL stepped in and provided this amazingly generous grant, making a world of difference for 56 families of our community. We are very grateful to GLOBAL and to anyone who contributes to its mission, as this help reaches us too!”

Martine Hobson, Executive Director of Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-South, says, “We’ve been GLOBAL members for years. To see how they’ve supported Down syndrome organizations on a national scale and now supporting us in this very personalized way is a testament to their leadership and dedication to every person with Down syndrome.

“I am so proud to be part of the GLOBAL team during this crisis,” says Ashley Sparhawk, GLOBAL Grants Program Manager. “It took a lot of time and work, but we have a wonderful GLOBAL Membership Advisory Board that helped and the generous Salah Foundation gift. At GLOBAL, we feel personally connected to all the professionals and families that are struggling through this difficult time and we are doing everything we can to lend a helping hand.”

The following 42 organizations received GLOBAL Grants:


2. Adult Disability Medical Healthcare

3. Angel’s Center for Children with Special Needs
4. Chesapeake Down Syndrome Parent Group

5. Down Syndrome Albania Foundation

6. Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands

7. Down Syndrome Association for Families

8. Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida

9. Down Syndrome Association of Central New Jersey

10. Down Syndrome Association of Connecticut, Inc.

11. Down Syndrome Association of Delaware

12. Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati

13. Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond

14. Down Syndrome Association of Greater Winston-Salem

15. Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-S.

16. Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee

17. Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota

18. Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Indiana

19. Down Syndrome Association of the Valley

20. Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan

21. Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area


GLOBAL is working hard to protect and support people with Down syndrome during the pandemic. In addition to providing COVID-19 Emergency Relief Global Grants, GLOBAL is creating important resources like the Down syndrome/COVID-19 Q&A, and supporting legislation that prohibits discrimination so that people with Down syndrome and other disabilities can receive COVID-19 medical care in the event there is medical care rationing. Most recently, GLOBAL provided over 31,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are wards of the state in Colorado.

To get the latest COVID-19 information and GLOBAL resources, visit

To learn more about GLOBAL’s membership program, visit

About Global Down Syndrome Foundation

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) is the largest non-profit in the U.S. working to save lives and dramatically improve health outcomes for people with Down syndrome. Global has donated more than $32 million to establish the first Down syndrome research institute supporting over 400 scientists and over 2,000 patients with Down syndrome from 28 states and 10 countries. Working closely with Congress and the National Institutes of Health, Global is the lead advocacy organization in the U.S. for Down syndrome research and care. Global has a membership of over 100 Down syndrome organizations worldwide, and is part of a network of Affiliates – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, and the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center – all on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

Global’s widely-circulated medical publications include Global Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down Syndrome, Prenatal Testing and Information about Down Syndrome, and the award-winning magazine Down Syndrome WorldTM. Global also organizes the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, the largest Down syndrome fundraiser in the world. Visit and follow us on social media (facebook & twitter:@GDSFoundation)(instagram:@globaldownsyndrome).