Grants that grow

Posted on March 6, 2012


Grants that start something new are sometimes called “seed money.” Recently I was reminded how exciting it is to watch a seed grow by one of our grantees, Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region (Easter Seals DFVR).

In October of 2010, a grant from the Tellabs Foundation helped this nonprofit buy iPads and apps to help children with autism and other special needs.

Nurtured by the agency’s excellent assistive technology program, this seed quickly sprouted. Easter Seals DFVR trained staff and used the devices in therapy sessions. Children who previously couldn’t connect to the world around them found their voice.

Now a new partnership is blossoming with an assistive technology company, AssistiveWare. The company recently selected Easter Seals DFVR to administer a donation program for its popular app, Proloquo2Go.

For people who have difficulty speaking, this app enables them to choose symbols or words, and converts the selection to speech. It’s popular, but the cost ($189.99 on iTunes) can be challenging. AssistiveWare wanted to give the program to people who needed it most.

With more than a year of using iPads, Easter Seals DFVR developed deep roots in app expertise. This skill base, combined with decades of serving children with special needs, made the agency a great choice to screen AssistiveWare’s U.S. donation requests. Easter Seals DFVR evaluates financial need, then determines if the app is a good fit therapeutically.

Kudos to the folks at Easter Seals DFVR for

  1. Doing good. Each day they are enabling more people to better connect to the world around them.
  2. Growing the grant. They didn’t stop with a one-time gift to purchase technology. They used it to build skills, which led to new partnerships.
  3. Sharing the news. They took the time to affirm that our grant is still making a difference.

May all “seed money” grants bear this much fruit.

For more info about the program, visit a recent Easter Seals DFVR blog post: Need an autism app but can’t afford it? We can help)