December 21, 2011 - NDI's S
enior Management Team released today their annual list of
Top Ten Accomplishments for NDI in 2010. NDI's education, service and advocacy activities touched people with disabilities in all 50 states. "In these challenging times, the message of economic empowerment resonates and raises expectations for people with disabilities and their families," said Michael Morris, NDI's
Director. NDI continues to chart new pathways to a better economic future for Americans with disabilities and their families.
Top Ten NDI Accomplishments for 2010
10. Launched new NDI website with easy to find information on the Real Economic Impact Tour and other economic empowerment projects. Extended visibility of National Disability Institute to an average of 20,000 visitors per month via website, monthly newsletters, and social media efforts including Twitter, Facebook and the Real Economic Impact Blog.
9. Hosted in collaboration with the Congressional Disability Caucus the first ever Congressional staff briefing on innovative strategies to promote the economic advancement of citizens with disabilities. There were over 85 attendees with participation of staff from 20 offices and six federal agencies.
8. Secured introduction of the VITA Act of 2010 and solidified an increase in annual federal appropriations to 14 million dollars for the Community Volunteer Tax Assistance grant program.
7. Testified before the Presidential bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Commission and provided recommendations to advance economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities and their families.
6. Completed year one of the groundbreaking BEST Interns project that is both developing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities in over a dozen credit unions in New Jersey and identifying new products and services to meet the needs of the disability market sector. Funded by the Kessler Foundation, NDI is partnering with the Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, the Credit Union League of New Jersey, and Allies, Inc.
5. Participated in the first ever meeting of the Federal Reserve to focus on understanding the disability market sector and contributed an article in a new publication by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston concerning Opportunities for Community Development Finance in the Disability Market.
4. Began training and technical assistance to nine states awarded grants as part of the US Department of Labor Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) to advance employment and asset development opportunities. NDI was awarded the national TA contract to assist the first nine states and additional states in 2011 and 2012.
3. Hosted the first ever American Dream Video Contest that involved an audience of over 200,000 participants on YouTube and Facebook. The winner, Kenzi Robi, selected by votes nationwide tells the story shared by millions of people with disabilities of a goal to be financially stronger, own a home and be more self sufficient.
2. Helped cultivate bipartisan support for the Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act with over 200 members of the House of Representatives and 25 Senators signing on to be co-sponsors. The ABLE Act would create tax advantaged savings accounts to cover extra costs of housing, education, health care, transportation, and technology that people with disabilities experience on a regular basis. With a focus on tax reform in 2011, we are optimistic about passage of the ABLE Act.
1. Increased free tax returns 99% from 2009 and assisted over 360,000 low income taxpayers with disabilities receive over 350 million dollars. The Real Economic Impact Tour expanded from 84 to 100 cities with the assistance of over 700 local partners including United Way, Mayor’s Offices, financial institutions, and community organizations. Expanded the DeafTax pilot to 16 cities that used video relay services to prepare taxes remotely by deaf certified tax preparers. Provided over $150,000 in grants to working groups in REI Tour cities to increase their outreach to people with disabilities. Expanded training on optimizing use of work incentives and other public benefits in coordination with asset building strategies in ten cities and held Asset Development Summits in eight additional cities. The Real Economic Impact Tour with major support from Bank of America, Walmart, AT&T, and Acorda Therapeutics is now an advancing economic empowerment agenda through direct services, education, and technical assistance that touches over one million people annually in 100 cities. Conducted the 5th Annual Mayor’s Leadership Academy in Chicago with participants from 50 cities. The program expanded to 20 breakout sessions and a media lab with great support from the IRS.
- Continue to pioneer use of new media and social media strategies to advance the NDI message of work, save and build assets to advance self sufficiency.
- Testified at the first and last Listening sessions of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) in Philadelphia and Denver to recommend ways ADD and other federal partners could create better pathways out of poverty and focus on savings and asset development strategies.
- Completed a variety of webinar trainings and technical assistance activities as a subcontractor to the Office for Community Services within the US Department of Health and Human Services to increase engagement of individuals with disabilities with Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and set asset goals.