United Way of Midland County (UWMC), in collaboration with the Patricia and David Kepler Foundation, announced today that up to $300,000 in grants will be available to support innovation in service delivery for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) over the next three years.

“We are so pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Patricia and David Kepler Foundation and Midland County service providers to create innovative change for an underserved population in our community. This is exactly the kind of thing we exist to do – unite our community to improve lives,” said Holly Miller, Executive Director of United Way of Midland County.

In the past year, with support from the Patricia and David Kepler Foundation, UWMC engaged Public Sector Consultants (PSC), a public policy research and consulting firm, to evaluate available community supports and services for adults with I/DD in Midland County. Through this evaluation, PSC determined that while Midland County is advanced in terms of the quality of services offered and overall culture of acceptance of individuals with I/DD, some major barriers remain. “The report highlighted that we can do better in areas like improving vocational opportunities, minimizing paperwork required of those who work with the I/DD community, and coordinating providers and services,” Miller stated.

“We sponsored the study to help develop a common view of the progress and challenges for individuals in our community with I/DD. Through this process the voices of consumers, providers, and other stakeholders were invaluable,” said David Kepler of the Patricia and David Kepler Foundation.

Over the summer, the steering committee met to review the report and begin to prioritize potential action areas. Following that, a broader group of stakeholders generated ideas to reduce burden, build capacity, promote innovation, and focus on sustainable outcomes.

Grants available through UWMC will support initiatives that are aligned with the report’s recommendations, involve collaboration and are able to show measurable outcomes. Projects must be focused on building capacity for continued improvement in services, support, or independence of people with I/DD.

United Way will serve as the backbone organization. Participants will be coached through the collective process with support around collaborative budgeting, shared accountability, measuring outcomes and capacity building.

An informational meeting will take place at 3pm on November 6 at United Way of Midland County’s office at 115 Jerome St.

The “Independence-based Service Delivery in Midland County” report is available on UWMC’s website at: https://unitedwaymidland.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2019-Independence-based-Service-Delivery-in-Midland-County.pdf