In the second quarter of 2014, The Coleman Foundation awarded four grants totaling $419,500 which advance strategies articulated in the Foundation's Disabilities Impact Plan.
A $177,000 award to Aspire (Westchester, IL) will support "Framework - Training to Live on Your Own", a residential services pilot program created to enable individuals with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities to transition to independent community living. Program participants, most of whom will have lived at home with their parents prior to entering the program, would reside in a group home site for approximately nine months while receiving preparatory training on independent living skills. After graduation from the program, participants are expected to transition to independent residential environments. The Framework pilot was developed in response to Aspire's participation in a research project funded by the Foundation.
A $125,000 award to Have Dreams (Evanston, IL) will support the Have Dreams Academy, Autism at Work vocational services pilot program. This initiative, developed in partnership with a local commercial bakery, will train young adults with autism to gain employment in manufacturing environments. A curriculum focusing on specific manufacturing-related tasks will be developed and piloted with an initial class of trainees. Resources will be provided to cultivate employment opportunities at small manufacturers in the Evanston and surrounding area for program completers.
A $70,000 award to Riverside Foundation (Lincolnshire, IL) will fund the acquisition of furniture and furnishings for two new group homes which will enable eight individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live with greater independence. The award assists Riverside Foundation as it transitions individuals currently residing in the organization's 97-bed intermediate care facility to community homes which better suit their needs and provide greater opportunity for community inclusion.
A $47,500 award to the Julie + Michael Tracy Foundation (Glenview, IL) will provide staffing support for the Growing Solutions Farm, an urban agriculture vocational program for young people with autism and developmental disabilities. The farm is located in the Illinois Medical District and will be scaled from its 900 square foot pilot to upwards to 10,000 square feet of program space, providing training in agriculture and soft skills for 10-15 program participants.