Highlights From Recently Closed Grants

Notes: The grant highlights included in this document represent projects that have closed within the past five years. If you would like information about older grant projects please contact the Board’s Grants Manager by email at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov or by calling 804-786-9375.

Grantee: The Arc of Northern Virginia

Project Title: My Choice Virginia: Supported Decision-Making for People with Developmental Disabilities
Area of Emphasis: Community Supports
Project Period: 8/1/2019 – 12/31/2020    Grant Award: $130,000   Match: $45,025

Project Goal: To empower people with DD to use Supported Decision-Making (SDM) to increase their self-determination and avoid guardianship, to study and document the impact of SDM on quality of like, and to educate stakeholders about the benefits of SDM. At the outset of the project, 10 individuals with developmental disabilities expressed interest in participating in the pilot project. Of the initial 10 selected to participate, 5 were under guardianship and the remaining 5 individuals were considering pursuing guardianship. During the course of the grant, the grantee collected demographic, objective, and subjective data, using various means, to analyze how, if at all, using SDM had affected the participants’ quality of life. Results obtained by the grantee through administered surveys indicated that participants who used SDM showed improved independence, confidence, and decision-making ability, made better decisions, and had enhanced quality of life.  The grantee also provided education to key stakeholders on the benefits of SDM. A total of 13 presentations were delivered during the project period, to over 600 individuals. In addition, the grantee housed the presentations via its SDM Resource Library and the recorded videos received over 200 independent views during 2020. The grantee also created a total of 7 accessible handouts on supported decision making and developed a series of six 3-minute webinars to provide a quick auditory and visual presentation of the information provided in the handouts. To view a copy of the grantee’s final report, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov.  

 

Grantee: Hope House Foundation

Project Title: Enhancing Engagement and Reducing Isolation during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Area of Emphasis: Community Supports
Project Period: 5/1/2020 – 12/15/2020    Grant Award: $6,090   Match: $0

Project Goal: The goal of this self-advocacy video production & distribution program grant was to 1) enhance engagement & reduce isolation among individuals with disabilities supported by Hope House during the Coronavirus pandemic period, and 2) extend the reach of Our Voices self-advocacy messages beyond the typical audience within the Hope House agency and the immediate community. During the course of three production cycles, a total of 6 self-advocacy videos were produced and uploaded to YouTube, which included topics such as 5 great ideas for staying positive during the pandemic, utilizing technology while social distancing, the importance of getting out to vote during the 2020 election, and the importance of having choices, support and living a life like yours. The created videos provided a voice to self-advocates and demonstrate insight and leadership in the face of the pandemic. Thus far, the created videos have received close to 1700 views and have been used to educate a variety of strategic audiences. To view a copy of the grantee’s final report, including links to the grantee’s created videos, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov

 

Grantee: The Arc of Virginia

Project Title: A Life Like Yours Alliance: Strengthening Self-Advocacy in Virginia
Area of Emphasis: Self-Advocacy
Project Period: 8/1/2019 – 7/31/2020     Grant Award: $50,000   Match: $12,500

Project Goal: To Increase the availability of inclusive supports for residential, employment and day activities for people with developmental disabilities, through the formation of an Alliance of Self-Advocacy groups working to influence changes to policy, programs, expectations and systems. The vision for this project was to mobilize self-advocates across the Commonwealth, to be the leading force in systems change and influence. A primary tenet of the project vision, of people with disabilities leading the system, included the commitment that people of all levels of support needs be supported to take part in this leadership. At the outset of the project, 22 self-advocacy groups across Virginia expressed interest in participation in the Alliance.

Over the course of the project, Liaisons volunteered an estimated combined 2,700 hours to accomplish the goals outlined in the project. At the close of the grant period, the Alliance comprised 18 Self-Advocacy Groups, with a combined 158 individual Members, represented by 24 liaisons that are the connection point from local groups to the greater overall leadership of the Alliance. During the course of the project, the Alliance liaisons planned and conducted training sessions on inclusive services to 47 individuals with DD and 36 family members. In addition, the grantee was able to influence change to public policies that support inclusive community services and organized self-advocates to meet with legislative officials to educate them on what it means to have inclusive services. To view a copy of the grantee’s final report, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov

 

Grantee:  Virginia Commonwealth University

Project Title: Promoting Integrated Employment with ABLES
Area of Emphasis: Employment
Project Period: 10/1/2018 – 9/30/2020   Grant Award:  $150,000   Match:  $16,667

Project Goal:  To develop and implement a hybrid (in-person/online) training by and for people with DD, business leaders, and employment services staff to increase opportunities for competitive, integrated employment (CIE) for persons with DD living in the areas in Lynchburg, Roanoke, Southside, and Southwest Virginia. Not only was a face to face training curriculum created and implemented, but in addition, an online course was developed as well as three online seminars, four fact sheets and thirteen videos highlighting the success of hiring individuals with disabilities. Through the ABLES face to face and virtual events, a total of 162 individuals received training. Through the online course, a total of 184 individuals received training. As a result of this grant funding during the 2 year grant cycle, 346 individuals received training related to the employment of individuals of disabilities. To view a copy of the grantee’s final report, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov

 

Grantee:  Virginia Commonwealth University

Project Title: Communication & Health Advocacy Training (CHAT)
Area of Emphasis: Healthcare
Project Period: 10/1/2017 – 9/30/2020   Grant Award:  $199,999   Match:  $66,906

Project Goal:  To increase the knowledge and skills of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities about basic health information and how to communicate more effectively with their healthcare providers and direct support professionals about their healthcare needs and priorities. Modeled from the very successful Leadership for Empowerment and Abuse Prevention (LEAP) grant project previously awarded from VBPD, the Communication & Health Advocacy (CHAT) project provided training to community disability providers so that they could determine which method is best suited to teach the individuals they support about becoming more self-determined and better informed regarding their own healthcare choices. During the course of the project, the grantee trained 230 individuals with developmental disabilities on health advocacy and how to become more involved in making decisions about their health. In addition, the grantee created two documents; one guide aimed at direct support providers and family members, entitled “Let’s CHAT about Health!”, which was designed to assist family members and others who support people with IDD to become involved in supporting healthy choices. The second document created was a one-page resource for medical professionals which provides tips that professionals can utilize to create a partnership with their patients with IDD, thereby empowering them to become more involved in their own healthcare. To view a copy of the grantee’s final report, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov

Grantee:  The Up Center

Project Title: SAFARI (Sharing Answers & Forging Affirmative Relationships Inventively)
Area of Emphasis: Community Supports
Project Period: 8/1/2019 – 1/31/2021   Grant Award:  $20,055   Match:  $6,685

Project Goal:  To increase Direct Service Professionals’ (DSP) job satisfaction and quality of service provision and reduce DSP turnover thereby improving quality of life for individuals with DD by producing an interactive, cooperative, game-based training tool, SAFARI. SAFARI was designed to address the DSP crisis in the Commonwealth by creating an opportunity for DSPs to better know and understand the specific individuals they are supporting, and thus become more engaged in their jobs. Participants engaged in the cooperative game where players answered questions about themselves to move their game pieces around a board while working together to achieve the goal. SAFARI was developed by collaborating with service providers in the Hampton Roads area to ask individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) and their families what they feel is important for their support staff to know about them. The project, which began August 1, 2019, was extended for 6 months until January 31, 2021, due to COVID-19 related delays. During the course of the project, the grantee produced 100 copies of the interactive SAFARI game, which were distributed to day support and residential providers throughout the state. Direct training in game implementation was provided via Zoom to 74 individual provider representatives, and an electronic training presentation was e-mailed to an additional six providers. Preliminary data suggests that DSPs and individuals with DD are have enjoyed playing SAFARI, and that staff are discovering information they did not previously know about the individuals they support. SAFARI’s effectiveness in increasing job satisfaction and quality of service provision, thus reducing DSP turnover rate and improving quality of life for individuals with DD, will be assessed in the coming post-grant months due to COVID-related delays in obtaining data.  To view a copy of the grantee’s final report, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov.

 

Grantee:  James Madison University

Project Title: Improving Health and Wellness through Empowerment
Area of Emphasis: Healthcare
Project Period: 10/1/2017 – 12/31/2019    Grant Award:  $182,591   Match:  $61,500

Project Goal:  The goal of the project was to create a collaborative community-centered wellness program that serves individuals with disabilities across all demographics of the Shenandoah Valley Region. Through the creation of a wellness coalition and the development of online training modules, organizations will be able to acquire the knowledge, skills, support and resources to offer a spectrum of opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The collaboration, training and support developed and provided will enable individuals with DD to make significant gains in health, wellness, function and community integration. The grant, which began October 2017, was extended for three months through December 2019. The project trained wellness organization staff on planning and implementing inclusive programming via a number of online web-based training modules, and also awarded a number of scholarships to people with disabilities and their family members to cover incurred expenses related to physical activity or wellness programs of interest. The grantee also provided funding to wellness organizations to purchase adaptive physical equipment. The developed resources can be found at https://inclusivewellness.org. To view a copy of the grantee’s final report, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov.

 

Grantee: Virginia Department of Education

Project Title: Development of Adult Curriculum on Critical Decision-Making Points for Students with Disabilities
Project Period:  10/1/2016 – 3/31/2019   Grant Award: $150,000  Match: $50,000
Area of Emphasis: Education

Description: The goal of this project, which began in October 2016 and concluded in March 2019, was to develop a curriculum on critical decision making points for families of students with disabilities, that could be easily updated and would include Diploma Options and their Course Requirements, Standards of Learning versus Alternative Assessments and Key Grade Level Decision Making Points, Explanation of Credits (standard and verified), End of Course Assessment Requirements, Assessment Options and Accommodations, Credit Accommodations, Applied Studies Diploma, Long Term Planning for Graduation, Importance of Attendance and What is Required to (1) Acquire Postsecondary Education/Training, (2) Become Competitively Employed, and (3) Live as Independently as Possible.  During the course of the project, the grantee created a critical decision making points guide for parents and educational professionals, several technology-based training modules that would be housed on the Virginia Department of Education Web site, an in-person parent-training program, and an in-person “train the trainer” training program for school officials.  This curriculum was designed to enhance parents’ understanding of the ways in which decisions made in their children’s early years can impact their lives well into adulthood. (DOE Critical Decision Points Guide). Two years of post-grant monitoring were required of the grantee, which concluded in March 2021. To view a copy of the grantee’s final report, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov

 

Grantee: Virginia Hospital Research & Education Foundation

Project Title: Virginia NICU Early Intervention Collaborative
Project Period:
10/1/2016 – 3/31/2018   Grant Award: $125,000   Match: $41,670
Area of Emphasis: Formal/Informal Community Supports

Description: The goal of the project was to achieve systems change of practice and improvement in outcomes for all infants and young children by engaging Virginia Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) and their community partners in a statewide learning and improvement collaborative to enhance linkages to Early Intervention (EI) services for NICU patients and families. The project aimed to improve and expand NICU referrals and follow up, enhance policies, practices, and competencies by developing training models that ensure effective and efficient linkages to support and services for patients and families. The project began in October 2016 and concluded in September of 2018. VHREF developed several resources, including best practice protocols for hospitals on when and how to make referrals, an Encyclopedia of Measures for collecting data, and a skill-building handout which helps providers coach parents as they prepare to take their children home. Throughout the course of the project, the grantee conducted several in-person and virtual training events, attended by over 300 individuals and archived many of its developed resources on a dedicated website which has captured over 800 views of the material. Two years of post-grant monitoring were required of the grantee, which concluded in September 2020. To view a copy of the grantee’s final report, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov

 

Grantee: The disAbility Law Center of Virginia

Project Title: Increasing Transportation Planning in Cities and Counties to Increase Access to Community-Based Healthcare
Project Period:
5/1/2017 – 9/30/2018   Grant Award: $60,000  Match: $20,000
Area of Emphasis: Transportation

Description: The goal of the project was to achieve systems change by ensuring that people with developmental and other disabilities can utilize public transportation to reach community-based healthcare. By working with community stakeholders and through surveys, data and measurable evidence, the grantee aimed to influence local and regional communities to ensure that sidewalks, curb-cuts and routes of travel from public transportation to medical services are available. The project began in May of 2017 and concluded in September of 2018.  The grantee worked with officials in the areas of Roanoke, City of Richmond, Norfolk and Loudoun County to identify barriers to healthcare facilities that people with developmental and other disabilities face when utilizing public transportation. The grantee developed a “toolkit,” both in hard copy and in an online format, which included an accessibility survey, the addresses for Virginia mayors and county supervisors, as well as a comprehensive listing of Virginia’s transportation providers and letter templates when contacting city/county officials to notify of potential transportation accessibility barriers. During the active grant period, the grantee provided training to over 600 individuals in the targeted areas regarding how to use the toolkit and identify/report public transportation barriers. In addition, the localities of Richmond, Roanoke, and Loudon County have at least partially addressed transportation barriers identified through the project. Two years of post-grant monitoring were required of the grantee, which concluded in September 2020. To view a copy of the grantee’s final report, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov

 

Grantee: The Arc of Northern Virginia

Project Title: Increasing Access to Disability Resources in non-English Languages
Project Period:
5/1/2017 – 11/1/2018   Grant Award: $124,782   Match: $41,600
Area of Emphasis: Targeted Disparity

Description: The primary purpose of the project was to increase access to information and resources related to Early Intervention and Disability planning for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families who are speakers of various non-English languages in Northern Virginia through the translation of vital materials. The guides translated were “Starting Life with your Child with a Disability”; “Getting the Most from Special Education – Preschool through High School”; “Securing a Future for your Child with a Disability”; “Entering the World of Work”; “Finding a Home for Adults with Disabilities” and “Aging with a Disability.” The project began in May of 2017 and ended in November of 2018. During the active grant period, a total of 235 of the translated guides were provided in PDF and hard copy format to families and service providers, including Alexandria City, Arlington, City of Falls Church, and Fairfax County Public Schools; the Down Syndrome Society of Northern Virginia; the Autism Society of Northern Virginia; the Virginia Korean American Disabled Peoples Association; the Islamic Center of Northern Virginia, as well as the Infant and Toddler Connection in Fairfax and Arlington Counties. In addition, the translated guides were viewed 45 times and/or downloaded from the Arc of Northern Virginia’s Transition Points website. Two years of post-grant monitoring were required of the grantee, which concluded in October 2020. To view a copy of the grantee’s final report, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at Jason.withers@vbpd.virginia.gov