Grassroots Advocacy Grants are intended to provide a limited amount of resources for a short term period (usually 12 to 18 months) in order to increase the capability and the resources of local groups to pursue such advocacy initiatives of their choice. Projects funded under this objective must be developed and directed by a majority of people with disabilities and/or the parents of children with developmental disabilities.  The grants support voluntary, citizen-based advocacy activities including those aimed at changing social conditions or governmental systems affecting people with developmental disabilities as well as activities which strengthen and support the ability of grassroots groups and individuals to advocate more effectively for themselves.

Grant period: January 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013
Empowerment Committee/Grassroots Advocacy subcommittee

1.   The Center for Independent Living of Central PA             $10,000

The project provides accurate disability awareness information to rural underserved Perry County Pennsylvania through a series of educational events and business site visits targeting business leaders. The Center for Independent Living of Central Pennsylvania will work through the Perry County Chamber of Commerce and local residents with disabilities.

Stephen Scanlon
Center for Independent Living of Central PA
207 House Avenue, Suite 107
Camp Hill, PA  17011
2.   PA Connecting Communities                     $10,000

The PA Connecting Communities (PACC) Advocacy Committee was created to bring together individuals with a variety of disabilities, their family members, support persons, professionals, and other allies to focus on policy education, peer support, communication, and participation in the civic process.  The purpose is the empowerment of individuals with disabilities and their allies become educated about the policies that affect them and their well-being and become self advocates by engaging in the civic process of voting, telling their stories to legislators, and engaging policymakers in order to create systems change.

Peggy Mannella
PA Connecting Communities
4401 Butler Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15201

3.   Mission Empower                       $10,000

This Erie County project empowers parents of children with disabilities by teaching educational rights, advocacy strategies and supports children to be involved with their child’s school to make a positive difference.

Jill Hrinda-Patten
Mission Empower
1932B West 8th Street
Erie, PA  16505

4.   Mental Health America — Allegheny County      $9940

Let Our Voices Be Heard (LOVBH) is a group of consumers and advocates across disability groups to ensure that people who use services are at the table. In addition to pursuing the goals of LOVBH strategic plan about expanding the independent living opportunities and improving the quality of life for personal care home residents through a variety of activities, the project will focus on the following activities — collaboration with other disability consumer groups similar to LOVBH in surrounding counties and building a network of leaders within the group by providing opportunities for leaders to become more active and empowered.

Sarah Rosso
Mental Health America — Allegheny County
100 Sheridan Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15206

Grant period: October 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013
Empowerment Committee/Grassroots Advocacy subcommittee

1.   The Consumer Health Coalition                $10,000

With this project, the Consumer Health Coalition (CHC) and its Health Committee for People with Disabilities (HCPD) will host advocacy trainings for people with disabilities and prepare them for encounters with medical professionals. Upon completion of the advocacy trainings, newly empowered consumers will attend a community conversation hosted by CHC and HCPD. Medical professionals from across the system will be invited to hear firsthand from consumers their concerns regarding the quality of care they receive thereby fostering a rich discussion which will in turn lead to systems change.

Beth Heeb
Consumer Health Coalition
415 East Ohio Street, Suite 300
Pittsburgh, PA  15212

2.  Community Living & Support Services     $10,000

Grant period: September 1, 2012 to November 30, 2013
Empowerment Committee/Grassroots Advocacy subcommittee

This project will provide voter education, voter registration, assistance with voting, as well as education regarding legislative process, to 60 individuals with developmental disabilities, family members, and caregivers in order to improve rates of civic engagement, increase their sense of empowerment, and increase their social capital.

Lucy C. Spruill
Community Living & Support Services
4638 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15213

3. The Arc of Somerset County        $10,000

Grant period: October 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013
Empowerment Committee/Grassroots Advocacy subcommittee

With this project, the Arc will offer six training sessions for self-advocates, parents and professionals relating to  identified needs, host public meetings to increase self-advocates skills and confidence in acting as leaders in the community, and expand an independent living advocate program to address those childhood and adult issues.

Kim Garretson
The Arc of Somerset County
P.O. Box 206
Windber, PA  15963

4. Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pa     $10,000

This project plans to explore the possibilities of using Domiciliary Care (DOM Care) housing model for young people with disabilities who are in the foster care system and who are in the process of “aging out” and who also are served by behavioral health system. Project activities include: developing a better understanding of what transitioning youth would want in a DOM care housing program, exploring ways that more youth could  “connect” with  a  DOM care option, and producing a supplementary training curriculum focused on the special needs of youth for existing DOM care providers.

Debbie Plotnick
Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pa
1211 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA  19107

5. Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission, Inc.    $10,000

With this project, The Employment Is Possible Advocacy Group will create a social norms media campaign designed to counter the bias and stigma associated with employing people with developmental disabilities. The campaign images, slogan, strategy, and schedule will be defined and established by the group.  As a result of the project, no fewer than three employers in Mercer County will provide new employment opportunities.

Kimberly Anglin
Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission, Inc.    $10,000
8406 Sharon- Mercer Road
Mercer, PA  16137

6. Vision for Equality, Inc.        $10,000

The Philadelphia Disability Pride Association (PDPA) proposing to conduct a Disability Pride Parade in 2013. Vision for Equality will act as a pass-through organization to support the
PDPA’s efforts to bring about social change and public awareness of disability related issues.

Maureen Devaney
Vision for Equality, Inc.
718 Arch Street, Suite 5N
Philadelphia, PA 19106