Earlier this year, I announced my intention to step down from my role as ICI Director. I have held this position for more than 20 incredibly rewarding years. I know that ICI will benefit from the creativity and energy that a new director will bring to our future work. To dispel any rumors, I am not retiring. I will continue to work on ICI research and development projects focused on the transition of youth with disabilities from school to further education, employment, and community living. So, as we take a look back on this past year, I am cognizant of our successful present and optimistic for what will undoubtedly be a bright future.
For many years, I have been proud to support this talented team of professionals driven by a mission that all people with disabilities have the opportunity to be participating members in their communities of choice. Through activities in research, training, and outreach we continue to learn from the communities whom we support, taking our cues from demonstrated needs we identify through five areas of programmatic focus (see ICI Accomplishments below). As grant funding for this vital work becomes more challenging and uncertain, we have committed to diversifying how we support ICI. Demonstrating our entrepreneurial spirit in action, we now count external sales of products, services, and training as a major source of annual funding.
As we look to the future, we need not look far for inspiration. Earlier this year, our own Clifford Poetz, a veteran disability rights advocate, was given the honor of receiving the “Leadership in Advocacy Award” from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) in Washington, D.C. All the way back in 1973, Senator Edward Kennedy asked Cliff to provide testimony at a hearing on the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. He was the first person with an intellectual disability to testify before Congress. Cliff is still with us today as a vibrant and respected Community Liaison with our Research and Training Center (RTC) on Community Living. Individuals like Cliff continue to teach us and show us the way forward in our work. Thank you, my friend, for your many years of service and unparalleled leadership.
Please take a moment to review our highlights from this past year. Our achievements are only made possible through the many intentional partnerships that further our collective work. I am enormously indebted to my colleagues for the honor of leading this Institute and connecting ICI's work to broader communities across the state, country, and even in international sectors. I believe in our future, and know that through ongoing collaborations and strategic planning ICI will continue to be positioned for success, and to make a difference in the years ahead.
Through collaborative research, training, and outreach, the Institute on Community Integration improves policies and practices to ensure that all children, youth, and adults with disabilities are valued by, and contribute to, their communities of choice. View this year’s accomplishments by clicking on each of the Institute’s program areas below.
The Institute’s 60+ projects and six affiliated centers conduct their work in collaboration with service providers, policymakers, educators, advocacy and self-advocacy organizations, researchers, families, and individuals with disabilities around the world, generating and sharing state-of-the-art knowledge supporting community inclusion of people with disabilities.