2002 N.O.D. Annual Report
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MAKING PROGRESS IN DIFFICULT TIMES
2002 was a challenging year as our nation struggled to regain its momentum following the terrorist attacks of the previous fall. The war on terrorism, a struggling economy and preparation for further international conflict concerned all Americans.
N.O.D. has long documented that this nation's disability community, comprising 54 million citizens, is disadvantaged by high rates of unemployment, poverty, and a need for better civic services and access to them. Our community has felt the economy's pinch particularly hard, whether through tightened personal budgets or reduced government and support services.
Despite a strong record of accomplishment going into our 20th anniversary year, N.O.D. was constrained by an economy that devastated many nonprofits. Our long-time policy of not accepting government funds made the upheaval in private sector giving (much of which, appropriately, was redirected toward disaster relief) particularly intense. We curtailed our budget to finish the year in a positive financial situation and with a more hopeful outlook for 2003.
We are inspired by N.O.D.'s Board of Directors, who played a particularly strong leadership role in improving our finances, thereby facilitating our important programs and our ability to achieve our mission of full participation in American life for people with disabilities. Thanks to the Board's efforts, several major donors to N.O.D. increased their gifts or accelerated pledged donations at this pressing moment. The Board also decided for the first time in N.O.D.'s history that we should seek support from the U.S. government; we submitted grant applications that are expected to materialize in the new year.
N.O.D. began its third decade by launching one of its most important programs to date, our Emergency Preparedness Initiative, which will help people with disabilities and emergency personnel work together for maximum safety. That program is closely tied to our revamped Community Partnership Program, which endeavors to make people's lives better where it counts - in the towns and cities where they live. We were delighted to salute Venice, Florida as the first winner of our national Accessible America Contest, and we hope Venice's achievement will make it a role model for communities nationwide.
Every day, all across the country, people with disabilities are striving to participate in and contribute to the life of their communities and the nation. All of us associated with N.O.D. - Board members, staff, and volunteers nationwide - are proud to be at the center of America's progress for people with disabilities.
Michael R. Deland, Chairman
Alan A. Reich, President
TELLING THE WORLD ABOUT AMERICA'S DISABILITY AGENDA
"It doesn't matter who you are, there are some things you can do and some things you can't. It's about ability, not disability." — N.O.D. Vice Chairman Christopher Reeve, appearing in N.O.D.'s television public service announcement.
The National Organization on Disability exists in a mass communications society and needs to send its message to the leaders, opinion makers and advocates who can advance our agenda for the full participation of people with disabilities. We want to ensure that a large and diverse array of people become aware of and commit to this effort.
PSA Takes Message to Nation, Wins Award
"It doesn't matter who you are, there are some things you can do and some things you can't. It's about ability, not disability," Christopher Reeve says at the conclusion of N.O.D.'s public service announcement. The PSA, which also features other celebrities, including Wyclef Jean, Stevie Wonder, Camryn Manheim, Jon Stewart, and Harrison Ford, received exceptional airplay nationally this year.
This fall N.O.D.'s PSA won the California Governor's Committee for the Employment of Disabled Persons Media Access Award. Program Director Nancy Starnes represented N.O.D. at the Los Angeles award ceremony.
Website Earns Notice for Sharing Accessible Information
N.O.D. won a second award from the California Governor's Committee in the "new media" category for our redesigned, highly accessible, and content-rich website at http://www.nod.org.
The website was redesigned in 2001 with a focus on the "gap areas" where our Harris surveys have found Americans with disabilities to be at a disadvantage. The website is also a model of accessibility. It is designed so that visitors who cannot see, or hear, or have limited motion, can access the important information they need about disability issues. The website meets the highest standards for accessibility, and complies with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
The website offers data from recent surveys, as well as regularly updated disability news, resources, and original articles. Contributors include award-winning technology writer John Williams; author and N.O.D. Board Member Brooke Ellison; and disability statistician and N.O.D. Senior Policy Advisor Dr. Gerry Hendershot.
N.O.D. Disability Surveys Make News
N.O.D. surveys, commissioned from the Harris Poll, continually provide important information to journalists in a variety of fields. Our surveys are frequently cited in articles and reports on employment, education, health care, and housing and transportation issues.
As the nation marked the 12th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act last summer, N.O.D. released a poll showing that awareness of the act has increased considerably in recent years; more than three-quarters of the nation have heard of it. Even more impressively, 93 percent of those who know of the ADA support it.
Phone Donation Campaign Reaches New Audiences
An exciting new partner for N.O.D. this year was wireless phone company Sprint, with whom we launched Project Connect in a ceremony at the FDR Memorial this April. Veteran Senator Bob Dole and actress Marlee Matlin, the Project Connect spokesperson, gave this effort a memorable debut. The campaign has collected tens of thousands of phones nationwide, with the funds from their recycling benefiting N.O.D. and Easter Seals, and the program's publicity bringing attention to our work.
N.O.D. Weighs in on Disability Issues
N.O.D. joined with other disability groups to host an event at the Capitol for the ADA's 12th anniversary on July 26, rallying support and calling for the protection and strengthening of America's disability civil rights law.
Years of advocacy for voting reform contributed to the passage of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which will mandate accessible voting machines in all precincts. N.O.D. Chairman Mike Deland and President Alan Reich joined champions of the legislation, including N.O.D. Congressional Sponsors Steny Hoyer and Jim Langevin, at the White House signing ceremony.
Just as Americans overwhelmingly support the ADA, they have good reason to support N.O.D.'s gap-closing agenda, so that all people with disabilities will have full rights and opportunities. N.O.D. will continue its communications outreach to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of and can join in these efforts.
N.O.D. issued a "State of the Union for Americans with Disabilities," noting what has been achieved and what remains to be done toward true parity for our constituency. This widely-circulated document notes the most urgent priorities for closing the gaps that keep people with disabilities pervasively disadvantaged.
We hear from people with disabilities, by phone, letter and e-mail, every day in our offices. The N.O.D. staff makes a concerted effort to assist individuals, researchers, government employees, and reporters who inquire about disability statistics, issues, advocacy groups, and ways to obtain needed services. While we are not primarily a direct service organization, it is very rewarding to know that our resources and staff are constantly helping people to improve their lives.
JOINING FORCES WITH COMMUNITIES AND ASSOCIATIONS
"We must work together to build better communities by ensuring that people with disabilities have an opportunity to participate equally in community life as do those citizens without disabilities. As President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I am proud to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Organization on Disability." — Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston
"Across the country, home builders care about our communities, which is one reason we're proud to participate in the National Organization on Disability's Partnership Program. Being a partner with NOD helps our network of 850 state and local Home Builders Associations create local disability initiatives designed to influence the quality of life for all citizens." — Kent Conine, President of the National Association of Home Builders
The most important places to improve the lives of people with disabilities are the communities where they live. N.O.D.'s long-running partnership programs are dedicated to making America's communities more welcoming and accessible to citizens and visitors with disabilities. The Community Partnership Program directly enlists communities themselves, while the National Partnership Program, working with national non-disability-focused organizations, reaches local chapters that have the capability to involve people with disabilities.
Community Partnership Program
Towns, cities, and counties across the nation are encouraged to join N.O.D.'s Community Partnership Program, which consists of dues-paying localities dedicated to improving access and welcome for their citizens and visitors who have disabilities. Through mailings and postings at http://www.nod.org, N.O.D. provides opportunities, measures of progress, and important links to member communities.
Mayors or other chief elected officials, as Community Partnership Program members, work with others in their communities, both with and without disabilities, to identify needs, set objectives and put local plans into action. The CPP supports community leaders' efforts by sharing disability-related information on best practices, emergency preparedness, legislation, research data, and valuable resources. CPP Director Nancy Starnes is herself a former mayor with a disability who understands the materials, connections and constituent services that community leaders need to work effectively with their constituents who have disabilities.
The Community Partnership Program is focused on adding more communities and their leaders to maximize impact and ensure that all communities make disability friendliness a high priority.
The CPP conducts an annual $25,000 Accessible America Award Competition, generously underwritten by UPS. Cities and towns are invited to submit an application detailing their efforts to become accessible and welcoming in all ways to people with disabilities. The award is presented to the mayor for his or her community, and can be used toward further local disability progress.
It was our great pleasure to salute Venice, Fla. as the inaugural winner of N.O.D.'s Accessible America Award. The 2002 winning community, Irvine, Calif., joins Venice as a role model for the towns and cities of America.
Beyond the two winners to date, the contest has given dozens of communities motivation to examine their disability agenda, celebrate their successes, and find inspiration to do more.
National Partnership Program
N.O.D.'s National Partnership Program (NPP) consists of 40 major national organizations which, though their primary focus is not disability, share N.O.D.'s commitment to advancing the full and equal participation of people with disabilities in community life. They do so through their national, state and local affiliates, which represent a combined membership of more than 75 million people.
N.O.D. works with its National Partners to help them incorporate programs that will increase outreach to people with disabilities in the communities they serve, while encouraging greater participation of employees, members and volunteers with disabilities throughout their organizations.
Through an annual grant from Aetna, Inc., N.O.D. presents $1,000 to each NPP member organization to conduct a cash award competition recognizing outstanding disability programs by local affiliates.
NPP Member Organizations
- American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
- American Association of Museums
- American Association of University Women
- American Bar Association
- American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
- American Institute of Architects
- American Lawyers Auxiliary
- The American Legion
- American Legion Auxiliary
- American Library Association
- American Red Cross
- American Society of Association Executives
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
- Boy Scouts of America
- Boys and Girls Clubs of America
- Camp Fire USA
- Child Welfare League of America
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
- General Federation of Women's Clubs
- Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.
- League of Women Voters of the United States
- National Association of Counties
- National Association of Elementary School Principals
- National Association of Home Builders
- National Association of Secondary School Principals
- National Association of Towns and Townships
- National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities
- National Foundation for Women Legislators
- National 4-H Council
- National School Boards Association
- Older Women's League
- Pilot International Foundation
- Sister Cities International
- Travelers Aid International
- The United States Conference of Mayors
- Women in Community Service
- YMCA of the USA
- YWCA of the USA
MAKING THE CASE FOR EMPLOYING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
"All barriers, including those that are attitudinal, need to be eliminated to empower Americans with disabilities to become a greater part of the 21st Century workforce" — Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Chair of the Presidential Task Force on the Employment of Adults with Disabilities
Of all the areas where people with disabilities are disadvantaged in American life, employment is the most noteworthy. Not only is it the biggest gap - the 2000 N.O.D./Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities found only 32 percent of people with disabilities of working age are employed full or part time, compared to 81 percent of other Americans - but employment and compensation make it possible for people with disabilities to be more fully involved in all aspects of life. By publicizing the employment gap, and informing employers and the public of the tremendous contributions that people with disabilities can bring to the workforce, N.O.D.'s EmployAbility effort is determined to change the employment forecast for the disability community.
Involving the Business Community
N.O.D.'s CEO Council is comprised of more than 100 leading companies and their Chief Executive Officers, who are committed to increasing employment and opportunities for people with disabilities. Their membership sends a strong message of encouragement for all businesses that working with staff, customers, and clients who have disabilities is good business.
Through the enthusiastic support of BusinessWeek President and Publisher Bill Kupper, Council members are saluted in donated public service advertisements in national and regional editions of BusinessWeek Magazine several times each year.
N.O.D. keeps CEO Council members informed on key issues for people with disabilities, especially regarding statistics and programs that relate to the business world.
Membership on the CEO Council is an outstanding way for companies to support N.O.D.'s work, while sending the message that they are committed to America's Disability Agenda.
Giving Kids with Disabilities Critical Work Experience
N.O.D.'s Start on Success (SOS) Student Internship Program provides paid internships to high school students with disabilities. They are introduced to the working world and acquire skills and confidence needed to enter the job market successfully when they graduate. Paired with a job coach and an on-site supervisor, the students work 10 to 15 hours a week for 8-30 weeks during the academic year.
Program Director Charley Dey, a veteran educator and disability advocate, launched the newest SOS site in New Britain, Conn. in 2002. SOS is also now operating in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and in Ohio and Alabama. The program has a more than 90 percent success rate for completion and further employment, school, or job training.
225 students went through the program this year, joining hundreds of others who have completed internships.
CREATING WELCOMING CONGREGATIONS & EDUCATING CLERGY
"There are no barriers to God's love. There should be no barriers in God's House. In Committed Congregations, people with disabilities are valued as individuals, having been created in the image of God." — Ginny Thornburgh, Director of N.O.D.'s Religion and Disability Program
N.O.D.'s Religion and Disability Program remains unique 14 years after its founding. The program urges congregations and seminaries to become welcoming and accessible to their members and guests with disabilities, and often inspires congregation members to expand their efforts into their local communities.
The program has continued to enlist new committed congregations since meeting its initial goal of 2,000 in early 2001. The Accessible Congregations Campaign recognizes congregations that commit to identifying and removing barriers of architecture, communications and attitudes that exclude people with disabilities, while making efforts to ensure that people of all abilities feel welcomed. Committed congregations are listed by state on N.O.D.'s website at http://www.nod.org.
Program founder and Director Ginny Thornburgh initiated an outreach effort to seminaries in 2002, to expose future religious leaders to both theological and practical issues of disabilities so their congregations will be tomorrow's welcoming houses of worship. Several conferences have already been held toward the goal of making seminaries more welcoming to faculty, staff, students and visitors who have disabilities. More than 100 participants from 14 seminaries attended N.O.D's Disability Convocation at Wesley Theological Seminary in March, 2002.
The program's initiatives are enhanced by its publications. More than 70,000 copies of the guides That All May Worship, Loving Justice, From Barriers to Bridges, and Money and Ideas: Creative Approaches to Congregational Access have been sold and are helping religious communities identify and remove barriers to a full life of faith.
The Religion and Disability Program sponsors "That All May Worship" conferences throughout the country. These community-based conferences bring disability and religious leaders together to improve physical and spiritual access in congregations of all faiths. In 2002, the program co-sponsored 23 conferences, bringing the total number held in communities across America in the past decade to 167. A conference in Novato, Calif. had more than 400 participants.
PREPARING TO SURVIVE DISASTERS
"Americans with disabilities have some unique and very special challenges that we have to deal with, but they also have some very unique and helpful ideas, and we want to integrate them in the process of developing a national strategy." — Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge
The world was awakened to a difficult new era when terrorists struck in September 2001. Later that fall, N.O.D. commissioned a Harris survey that documented that individuals with disabilities, the very people who most need to be prepared during an emergency, were in fact less ready should disaster strike.
People with disabilities would be the most vulnerable in future terrorist attacks-but with tens of thousands of man-made and natural disasters in our country each year, preparation is always an imperative.
N.O.D. launched its Emergency Preparedness Initiative (EPI) in late 2001, and hired Elizabeth Davis, who brings an exceptional combined background in disability issues, emergency management, and the law, to run the program. Ms. Davis, who provided emergency support at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, is an exceptional liaison to the communities that the program is bringing together.
Initial EPI outreach targeted audiences in a position to work with the disability community to ensure its safety: public officials, including governors, mayors, county executives, federal cabinet secretaries, and leaders of major disability groups. We urged them to include people with disabilities in all levels of emergency planning and response.
Articles in disability and emergency management periodicals have helped to spread the word, while Program Director Elizabeth Davis has met with relevant agency heads and taken part in national and regional forums on emergency preparedness, bringing the disability perspective to the discussion.
The Mott Foundation has underwritten the launch of N.O.D.'s Emergency Preparedness Initiative. Their three-year grant is allowing us to develop this program and ensure that people with disabilities are taken into account when emergency plans are laid-and equally importantly, will participate in developing the plans that can save our lives. Generous donations to the program from the JM Foundation, the J.C. Penney Company, the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, and MetLife are also ensuring its success.
Targeting Information to Emergency Personnel
N.O.D. has reached out to the emergency responders who are on the front lines in any disaster, and who need to know how they can best assist persons with disabilities. We published a new 28-page Guide on the Special Needs of People with Disabilities for Emergency Managers, Planners and Responders that we have mailed to more than 20,000 such individuals already. N.O.D. is joining with various emergency management and professional membership associations to further circulate the publication.
The Guide is also posted on N.O.D.'s Website, along with a repository of important and germane emergency-related information, articles, studies, checklists, contacts, etc. for both the emergency management community and the disability community.
ENCOURAGING INTERNATIONAL PROGRESS
"The recipient of this year's Franklin Delano Roosevelt Award - Ecuador - has long been at the forefront of the movement for equal opportunities for disabled people, and for their full participation in society... I am delighted to congratulate the people and Government of Ecuador on receiving the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award for 2002. It is richly deserved." — U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
The World Committee on Disability
Established in 1985, the World Committee urges the leaders of the U.N., its member nations and international organizations to make the full participation of people with disabilities - of which there are over six hundred million worldwide - an ongoing priority. The Committee is comprised of people with and without disabilities from all continents.
Ecuador Wins FDR International Disability Award
Ecuador was saluted at the United Nations as the sixth annual winner of the Franklin D. Roosevelt International Disability Award, presented by the World Committee on Disability, N.O.D.'s international arm, in partnership with the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. President Gustavo Noboa accepted the award on behalf of his nation.
Ecuador joins a distinguished cadre of global winners of the award, which was established in 1995. The winning nation is saluted for making noteworthy progress toward the U.N. World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons, which calls for the full and equal participation of people with disabilities worldwide in all aspects of life, regardless of their nation's level of development.
The prize consists of a cast bust of President Roosevelt; a $50,000 cash prize from the Roosevelt Institute to be given to a non-governmental disability organization in the winning nation; and for the past two years, one thousand wheelchairs donated by World Committee Board Member and Wheelchair Foundation founder Kenneth E. Behring.
A highlight of this year's ceremony was a stirring salute delivered by N.O.D. Vice Chairman Christopher Reeve, who took the opportunity to call for a U.N. Convention on Disability.
Other winners to date have included the Kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of Hungary, Ireland, Canada, and the Republic of South Korea. Applications are received annually from nations throughout the world. The World Committee coordinates their review by judges who are international disability experts, and provides recommendations to the Board of Trustees of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.
Interest in the Award is stimulated largely by communications with chiefs of state, ambassadors and permanent representatives to the U.N., as well as by the international media attention the Award receives each year. Through the Award, the World Committee continually encourages governments throughout the world to make progress on disability issues a national commitment.
SUPPORTERS ENABLE N.O.D.'S SUCCESS
Without the strong support of contributors who believe in our work, none of N.O.D.'s efforts could succeed. They make it possible for us to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
- New Millennium Leaders
- Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.
- C.S. Mott Foundation
- Pat and John Rosenwald
- Michael and Jane Deland
- Stephen Hammerman
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
- Roger S. Firestone Foundation
- The UPS Foundation
- Frederick Whittemore
- Alcoa, Inc.
- The Altria Group, Inc.
- American Express
- Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Richard and Helen DeVos
- Stephen Feinberg and Susan Foote
- Bruce and Lueza Gelb
- Michael and Helen Hughes
- John and Gail Hughes
- The J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
- JM Foundation
- The McGraw-Hill Companies
- Netherlands-American Community Trust
- Jeffrey P. Reich
- Citigroup, Inc.
- Cummings Foundation
- DaimlerChrysler Corporation
- Eastman Kodak Company
- Household International, Inc.
- Foote, Cone & Belding
- Greg Hughes
- International Code Council
- Johnson & Johnson
- Microsoft Corporation
- New England Patriots
- Northrup Grumman Corporation
- Gregg Petersmeyer
- Potomac Electric Power Company
- Powers, Pyle, Sutter & Verville
- Kenneth and Ellen Roman
- Whitehead Foundation
- Wireless Foundation
- ABC, Inc.
- Air Transport Association
- Alice Busch Gronewaldt Foundation
- Allstate Insurance Company
- Blum-Kovler Foundation
- Deloitte & Touche LLP
- Hewlett Packard
- Kemper Insurance Companies
- Marriott International, Inc.
- Evelyn S. Nef
- National Structured Settlements Trade Association
- Robert C. Pew II
- Pillsbury Winthrop LLP
- R.P. Simmons Family Foundation
- Rockwell Automation
- Sony Corporation of America
- Steelcase, Inc.
- T. Rowe Price, Inc.
- Lucy R. Waletzky, M.D.
- Wal-Mart Stores
- Worthington Industries
- Xerox Corp.
- Alex Lee, Inc.
- Allegheny Technologies
- Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
- Bayer Foundation
- The CIT Group, Inc.
- Howard and Constance Clery
- John M. and Linda Derrick
- Fisher Scientific
- Ford Motor Company
- General Electric Company
- Genetech, Inc.
- C. Boyden Gray, Esq.
- Graybar Foundation
- Hilton Hotels Corporation
- Illinois Tool Works
- Ingersoll-Rand Company
- Young Woo and Kay Kang
- KeySpan Corporation
- William P. Kupper, Jr.
- David and Lois Larson
- Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.
- The May Department Stores Company
- Ambassador Alfred and Carol Moses
- Northeast Utilities
- Panasonic/Matsushita Corporation of America
- Philanthropic Collaborative
- Pitney Bowes, Inc.
- PPG Industries, Inc.
- Rockwell Collins
- David and Kimberly Roosevelt
- Richard Salem, Esq.
- Sears, Roebuck and Company
- State Farm Insurance Companies
- Humphrey and Penny Taylor
- W. Reid Thompson
- Tower Perrin
- United Way of St. Lucie
- Wesley Theological Seminary
- Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
- Wynd Communications
- Arlene and Philip Anns
- AOL Time Warner
- Peter Arnold
- Jennifer L. Benli
- Lela R. Bethel
- Henry and Monica Betts
- Richard Bishop, Esq.
- Dodie and John J. Boyle, Jr.
- Braitmayer Foundation
- Robert L. Byer
- Colburn T. Cherney
- Yoshiko and Justin Dart
- Alice L. Davenport
- Bert and Susan Edwards
- Brooke Ellison
- Express Title Service, Inc.
- Theodore Frankenbach
- The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
- Carolyn Hall
- Martin and Margaret Hoffmann
- I. King Jordan, Ph.D.
- Marc A. Nadelman
- John Richardson
- Alan and Elizabeth Rubin
- Mary A. Toman
- Penn Towne Chapter, The Links
- PipeVine, Inc.
- R.D. Erickson Appraisal Company
- Resource Plus Mortgage Corp.
- Andrew and Lois Timmerman
- Caroline and Reverend John Twiname
- United Way, National Capital
Special Giving Opportunities
N.O.D. welcomes planned giving. There are special donations where the gifts of assets may provide the donor with particular advantages. Planned gifts should always be made with the advice of an attorney or financial advisor. If you are interested in giving to the National Organization on Disability through a bequest, charitable lead trust, charitable remainder trust, or in donating life insurance, please contact the President of N.O.D. at 202/293-5960 or TDD 202/293-5968.