BRATTLEBORO -- The Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council has made $140,000 available in funding for agencies that aim to improve the lives of Vermonters and their families.
There will be three project grant awards ranging from $40,000 to $60,000 in three categories -- self-advocacy, family, and information, referral and assistance projects. Requests for proposals have been sent out and the deadline is Friday, July 6.
Karen Swartz, executive director of the VTDDC, said the funding will help organizations improve quality of life and help give a voice to people with developmental disabilities.
According to the Vermont state government, federal law defines a developmental disability as a severe, often lifelong, disability that affects people before they reach the age of 22 and significantly limits functioning ability in three or more life activities such as self-care, learning and receptive and expressive language.
Swartz said most applicants will be agencies and organizations, though individuals can apply as well.
She said she believes Green Mountain Self-Advocates will apply for funding. GMSA is a statewide self-advocacy network run and operated by people with developmental disabilities. Its board
Families First in Wilmington will also likely apply, Swartz said.
The VTDDC also welcomes applications for membership, and has funding year-round for individuals with developmental disabilities and family members to attend conferences and training, as well as small grants for innovative projects.
According to Swartz, the VTDDC is statewide board and 63 percent of its members are people with developmental disabilities or their family members appointed by the governor. She said it is one of 55 such councils across the United States.
Swartz said VTDDC uses its federal funds to support activities to increase the availability of individual and family-centered support as well as promote independence, self-determination and community inclusion.
She said it advocates for an increase in public awareness about issues that affect people with disabilities and their families.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.