Global Down Syndrome Foundation Awards $400K in Innovative Educational Grants

2016 Awardees Include Global Member Organizations from Eleven States 

Educational GrantsORLANDO (July 21, 2016) – Today, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) awarded $92,200 to organizations in eleven states through one of Global’s membership grant programs.  The grants were announced at the NDSC Annual Convention which attracted nearly 4,000 attendees in Orlando, FL. To date, Global’s membership Educational Grant program has provided $400,000 to over 40 Down syndrome organizations across the nation.

Global is proud to count 835 members made up of local, state, national, and international Down syndrome organizations. Advantages of Global membership benefits include access to two competitive grant programs: Self-Advocate Employment Initiative Grants and Educational Grants.  Educational Gants up to $10K fund innovative grant programs for education professionals, self-advocates, medical professionals, parents and caregivers, and beyond.

“The local Down syndrome organizations we provide grants to are our heroes,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, President & CEO of Global. “They are on the front line educating self-advocates, families and professionals in their communities, and Global is very proud to be able to assist with this important work through our membership grant programs.  We are also pleased to be able to use our Global membership dues this year and fund a record-breaking number of innovative educational programs from member organizations across the country.”

Global’s 2016 Educational Grants fund programs in eleven states: Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. 


The 2016 Educational Grant recipients and their funded programs are:

  1. Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation (Phoenix, AZ)
    “Family Education Events through the Pediatric Down Syndrome Clinic” will be a monthly workshop lead by the medical team at the clinic to educate parents and family members of children with Down syndrome to better understand their medical needs, discuss at-home care, and navigate the state education system to obtain education resources.
  2. Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area (Danville, CA)
    “Future Connections” is a tool designed to assist adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome in identifying their preferences, interests, and needs. It is intended to be used in collaboration with families and caregivers in order to implement effective life planning.
  3. Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization (Boynton Beach, FL)
    “Best Start” is a year-long weekly education workshop for parents and children. Separated into two distinct sessions, the program will give self-advocates and parents the tools to aid them in academic, social, communication, creative, and personal success.
  4. Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
    “DSACK Learning Program Level 2” will expand their current Learning Program to serve older students ages 8-12 and their parents. The Learning Program is parent/child focused and empowers parents to teach their children literacy, math, and other skills.
  5. Down Syndrome Association for Families of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE)
    “DSAF of Nebraska 2016 Educational Conference” provides accurate and up to date information on best practices in the field of Down syndrome to parents, educators, medical professionals, and direct service professionals across the state of Nebraska annually, with a focus on education and behavior in children with Down syndrome.
  6. Down Syndrome Foundation of Southeastern New Mexico (Roswell, NM)
    “Down Syndrome Education & Medical Conference” will enlighten and educate the community about available research and medical care, and connect parents and medical professionals. This will extend upon their current annual conference and allow them to bring in medical professionals as speakers and panelists.
  7. Down Syndrome Association of Hudson Valley  (Hopewell Junction, NY)
    “BEST: Behavioral Education Support Team” is a workshop and home based therapy program to educate parents and caregivers on the value of teaching appropriate behavior to children with Down syndrome with the assistance of Applied Behavior Analysis.
  8. Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)
    “DSAGC Together in Education” is a two component program with an in-school portion providing training, support, and resources to Down syndrome specialists in the Greater Charlotte school districts, and a two-day conference for educators, service providers, and families.
  9. Designer Genes of North Dakota (Bismarck, ND)
    “Pathfinder Parent Involvement Conference” will collaborate with Pathfinder Services of North Dakota to add a specific track to educate families and medical professionals about issues relating to school-aged individuals with Down syndrome during their annual conference.
  10. Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (Columbus, OH)
    “The Learning Program Online” will expand the current online Learning Program to a full year and add a second level for school-aged children with Down syndrome and their parents.
  11. Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin (St. Francis, WI)
    “Young Leaders Academy” is a program designed to help teens and young adults with Down syndrome build skills that lead to employment readiness and the ability to live and work independently in the community.

“The national recognition of the Educational Grants from the Global Down Syndrome Foundation allows local Down syndrome organizations like ours to promote and showcase the program as not only a collaboration with our school districts and medical professionals but also with national partners,” said Terri Harmon, Executive Director of Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization.

Eligibility to be awarded Educational Grants is just one of the benefits of Global membership. To learn about other member benefits and to become a member please visit the membership page.

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