Happy New Year!

I am very pleased to tell you that 2017 is already off to a great start. As we begin the new year, I want to thank you so much for your incredible support of the lifetime of vital services Abilities United provides to thousands of individuals with a developmental or physical disability and their families. Your contributions of over $750,000 through our Fall Appeal, Authors Luncheon, and Aquathon have positioned us extremely well for an outstanding 2017!

I am excited to announce that Rod Linhares joined us in December as our Vice President of Fund Development. Rod brings a wealth of knowledge acquired throughout his 20+ year career as a fundraising executive. His accomplishments include successful fundraising growth and visibility through capital and endowment campaigns, major gifts, planned giving, annual giving, and foundation and donor prospecting. Rod shares Abilities United’s passion and goal to maximize each individual’s potential, self-growth, and development. His expertise in creating fund development programs will help drive our strategic plan and redevelopment efforts. If you have the opportunity to come by our office, introduce yourself to Rod – he’d love to meet you. Until you meet Rod in person, you can learn more about him on the Abilities United website.

Other good news…

Abilities United Children’s Services is now in its 3rd year as a research partner with Grace W. Gengoux, PhD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine. A licensed psychologist, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D), and one of the foremost experts in behavioral treatments for young children, Dr. Gengoux’s research focuses on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and developing and evaluating evidence-based interventions for children and families. Research conducted at Abilities United contributed to her findings, which have been pivotal to improve the lives of children with autism and their families.

We are pleased to start our new partnership with Amazon. As an equal opportunity employer, Amazon is committed to a diverse workforce and is also committed to a barrier-free employment process. They are working with our Employment Services to fill open positions in their Fremont fulfillment center. As of January 1, our first two participants have found jobs at Amazon and we look forward to further developing this employment partnership.

Our entire staff is excited to build upon our tremendous successes and begin or continue their work on our 2017 goals, including our primary first quarter projects:

  • A feasibility study that will define our ability to raise the necessary funds to improve and rebuild our facilities.
  • A brand awareness survey to help us understand your perceptions of Abilities United.
  • The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) review of our programs and services.
  • Continued rollout of our new Abilities United logo, as well as our revised mission and vision statements, which we are delighted to share with you:
    • Our mission: Abilities United advances advocacy, inclusion, and independence for people with developmental disabilities
    • Our vision: Abilities United sees a world where people of all abilities learn, live, work, and play together.

Your help is integral in Abilities United’s ability to achieve our mission and vision. Thank you for your contributions, in so many different ways. Your support brings us closer to reaching our goals to:

  • Provide seamless transition from one service to another throughout our participants’ lifetimes
  • Increase Abilities United’s awareness in the community
  • Assess the community needs to help define the future direction and focus of Abilities United’s services

We look forward to and wish you, your family, and loved ones a fantastic and productive 2017!

Charlie Weidanz