Global Down Syndrome Foundation Awards Over $625k In Educational Grants

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

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Pittsburgh, PA (June 27, 2019) – Today, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) awarded $75,000 to twelve of its member organizations, bringing the total given through its Educational Grants program to over $625K. Since 2012, Global has awarded grants to 72 innovative educational programs developed by local, national and international Down syndrome organizations. This year’s grants will fund programs in Alaska, Honduras, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas. The grant awards were announced at the Global Down Syndrome Foundation Research & Medical Care Roundtable during the NDSC Annual Convention, which attracted nearly 4,000 attendees in Pittsburgh, PA.

“We are so inspired by the efforts of Down syndrome organizations all over the world working to make a difference in their communities,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, President and CEO of Global. “Global is proud to say that in just 8 years, our Educational Grant program has helped serve over 14,000 self-advocates, parents, caregivers, and professionals. We are thrilled to be able to fund the most grants ever in one cycle this year, and we are excited to see these extraordinary programs in action.”

The 2019 Global Educational Grant recipients and their funded programs are (in alphabetical order):

1. Alaska Down Syndrome Network (Anchorage, AK) “Alaska Regional Conference” will bring families from rural and small towns to Anchorage for a weekend conference to gain more knowledge on medical issues, behavioral issues, and education topics as well as connect with other area families.

2. Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH) “Caring for the Adult with Down Syndrome” will bring medical experts to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Thomas Center for Down Syndrome for Grand Rounds presentations to introduce medical professionals to the newly revised Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down Syndrome.

3. Down Syndrome Association of Indiana, Inc. (Indianapolis, IN) “Public Policy 101” is a series of live workshops and webinars which will cover a variety of topics related to preparing participants to take action on public policy issues, such as how to contact your local legislator, current issues facing families of children with Down syndrome, and more.

4. Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-South (Cordova, TN) “Individual Education Plan (IEP) Coaching/Seminar” will bring educational experts to the Memphis area for a monthly seminar to give parents and teacher the tools and knowledge necessary to have successful IEPs.

5. Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee (Mt. Juliet, TN) “Extraordinary Lives Conference” is a one-day conference that will bring in national and regional professionals to share their expertise in the latest research and best practices for helping those with DS through three tracks for educators, caregivers, and self-advocates.

6. Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN) “Statewide Learning Conference” is a weekend conference that will inspire and equip parents and individuals with Down syndrome with the most up to date information, research, and best practices in healthcare, inclusive education, community integration, and economic self-sufficiency.

7. Down Syndrome Association of the Valley (Boardman, OH) “Summer Enrichment Program with Aaris Therapy” is a comprehensive weeklong program where participants with Down syndrome will concentrate on effective communication and improving social skills to help build important learning skills in the education process.

8. Green Oaks Education and Support, Inc. (Arlington, TX) “Improving Health and Wellness through Education and Practice” is a two-part program involving an interactive cardio workout for people with Down syndrome to improve their level of physical activity and an educational series for caregivers to promote health in the home.

9. Hearts2Honduras, Inc. (El Progreso, Honduras) “Love and Learn 21 Program” is designed to provide educational opportunities for people with Down syndrome in Honduras. Teachers will partner with participants and their families to create individualized plans in an effort to meet the needs of each student.

10. Inclusion Connections (Olathe, KS) “EmployAbility” provides the educational opportunities and vocational training needed for young adults with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge required to obtain paying jobs.

11. KIIDS, Inc. (Bellmawr, NJ) “Pathways to Independence” will consist of a series of workshops, each with a specific focus and aligned with the long-term goal of establishing skills and knowledge to enable middle and high school aged people with Down syndrome to successfully navigate the choices, freedoms and challenges that come along with the transition to teen and adulthood and to become as independent as possible.

12. Little Leaf Learning Center, Inc. (Omaha, NE) “Operation School Success” is designed to assist families and children with Down syndrome in their transition from pre-school classes into kindergarten. This includes IEP training, education on rights, legal counselling, and parent to parent discussion groups for parents.

“Global Down Syndrome Foundation has enriched the lives of individuals with Down syndrome of all ages,” said Jim Hudson, Executive Director of Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati. “In 2015, we received a Global Educational Grant for our academic program for children with Down syndrome ages K-8. This year, we were lucky enough to receive another grant for our program to care for adults with Down syndrome. We are so appreciative to partner with Global on bettering the lives of people with Down syndrome at all stages of their lives.”

“We are honored to receive a grant for our ‘Statewide Learning Conference’ from Global, a true leader in research and medical care for people with Down syndrome” said Sarah Curfman, Executive Director of Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota. “We look forward to collaborating with Global on best practices for creating resources for families and educators, plus hosting a successful event.”

About Global Down Syndrome Foundation

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).

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