Global Down Syndrome Foundation Helps Employ 75 People With Down Syndrome Across The Country

The Global Member Employment Initiative Grants have provided nearly $65,000 to programs for 33 local Down syndrome organizations across the country and supported a total of 75 employees with Down syndrome

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

DENVER, CO March 12, 2019 – In celebration of International Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) awarded its Employment Initiatives grants to eight member organizations in Kentucky, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Arizona and Ohio which will employ 27 self-advocates with Down syndrome.

The Global Member Employment Initiative Grants were started in 2016 and have provided nearly $65,000 to programs for 33 local Down syndrome organizations across the country and supported a total of 75 employees with Down syndrome.

“Global’s transformative Employment Grants allow our organization to employ artisans with Down syndrome and to sell their art at our Artful 21 store. We’re happy to say that 90% of the sales go back to the artisans,” says Toni Mullee, executive director of The Up Side Of Downs organization in North East Ohio. “Our goal is to increase the number of retail artisans from 23 to 35 by the end of 2019. We are so grateful for Global’s continuous support of our mission and our motivated self-advocates.”

“We are really proud of what our Global Members are doing with our employment grants,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, president and CEO of Global Down Syndrome Foundation. “By hiring and empowering individuals with Down syndrome with a job, our local Down syndrome organizational members can show firsthand the positive impact of employing people who are differently-abled.”

Global’s 2019 Self-Advocate Employment Initiative Grant Awardees and Hires:

1. Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky will underwrite an administrative position who will also speak on behalf of the organization at public events.

2. Down Syndrome Association of Central New Jersey will underwrite a part-time employee and extend both the hours and the responsibilities of the position.

3. Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia will employ two part-time paid interns. The internship program responsibilities will include program development and membership database management.

4. Gigi’s Playhouse will coordinate a 12-week training program for dozens of their current self-advocate employees. The Global grant will also help the Illinois-based organization hire a part-time career development manager to oversee self-advocate employees.

5. Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization will contract a groundskeeping business owner who takes care of the grounds and outdoor space at the Gold Coast, Florida offices.

6. Mi Work Matters will hire and train 4 Ambassadors for annual Mi Work Matters presentations. As a representative of the Michigan-based organization, the Ambassadors will discuss the importance of inclusive employment to potential employers and local media. Representator of Mi Work Matters and an integral part of presentations to potential employers and local media.

7. Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona will hire a new paid position focused on outreach support. Some of the job responsibilities will include assisting with New Parent Support Packets and attending meetings with new parents to babies with Down syndrome.

8. Up Side of Downs of Northeast Ohio will underwrite current, new, and potential retail artisans for their Artful21 store. In addition, this year they will implement a new six-week entrepreneur boot camp to help educate and prepare self-advocates for their entrepreneurial endeavors.


Global’s Self-Advocate Employment Initiative Grants are just one of many benefits of Global membership. To become a Global Down Syndrome Foundation member or to learn more about member benefits, visit:

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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