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New $2.5 Million Sarah Kenan Kennedy Endowment Fund Will Support Services for Individuals and Families at All About Developmental Disabilities

Contacts: Mitch Leff, Leff & Associates, (404) 861-4769, mitch@leffassociates.com
Kathy Keeley, AADD Executive Director, 404-219-7620

All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD) today announced the establishment of the Sarah Kenan Kennedy Endowment Fund, a new $2.5 million gift to the nonprofit organization. The endowment will fund in perpetuity programs at AADD (www.aadd.org) for those individuals and families that do not have the financial resources to access services provided by AADD.  It was created by Sarah’s husband, Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises, in honor of his wife’s volunteering and commitment to the organization.

The endowment is the largest ever gift to AADD, which provides support services, advocacy and training to Georgia families living with developmental disabilities.  Funds from the endowment will support services and programs to families who cannot afford services and do not have state funded waivers to purchase services.  In 2015 it will fund two full-time positions at AADD and help more than 500 families who live independently in the community.

“The work that All About Developmental Disabilities does is so important and we are excited that our endowment has already been put to work,” said Sarah Kennedy. “This fund will offer long-term support for people with developmental disabilities who often lack the financial resources to live and function independently in the community.”

Family Support Center
AADD provides family support, supported employment, recreation and wellness and workshops to individuals and families throughout the metro Atlanta area.  The Family Support Center (FSC) was established in 2012 to assist families in transition that do not have access to state funded waivers and need assistance to lead meaningful and independent lives in the community.

“Families face many challenges as children move into young adulthood,” says Lisa Blanco, AADD Board Chair. “The Family Support Center was established to help these individuals when few supports are available in the community. The Sarah Kenan Kennedy Endowment Fund will provide assistance directly to these families.”

AADD’s supported employment and recreation and wellness programs targets youth ages 18 to 32, working to keep them plugged in once they age out of high school.  The recreation programs across Fulton and DeKalb Counties include recreational clubs, bocce ball, a hiking club and “Fitness Fridays.”

Supported Employment Programs

For 40 years, children with developmental disabilities have been mainstreamed in the classroom, but once they graduate high school most are not transitioned into the workforce. Georgia lags far behind the rest of the nation in helping people with disabilities find gainful employment in the community in real paid jobs.

“Supported employment” is an answer to those challenges. It provides an individualized approach to match individuals with developmental disabilities with employment opportunities in typical workplaces in the community.

“Our goal is to provide support and job coaching to keep workers successful and employers well satisfied,” says AADD Executive Director Kathy Keeley. “We want to have people with developmental disabilities working alongside people without disabilities earning minimum wage or above.”

All About Developmental Disabilities
Founded in 1956, All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD) is an Atlanta-based non-profit organization dedicated to creating lifelong support, education and opportunities for children, adults and families living with developmental disabilities. AADD provides support services, advocacy and training to families living with developmental disabilities.

Developmental disabilities are defined as severe chronic disabilities that limit three or more critical functional abilities. Examples include Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, autism disorders, fetal alcohol disorders and intellectual disabilities. These disabilities often manifest early in life (before age 22) and last a lifetime.

Georgia relies on a disjointed system of services and support that cannot be sustained long-term.  Economic uncertainties are reducing funding support, even as the number of people in need increases. AADD offers a range of services focusing on Family Support, Public Policy and Advocacy and Community Engagement. For more information, go to www.AADD.org or call us at (404) 881-9777.