This edition is dedicated to  Lynda Steele
April 1948 – February 2016

As we enter into spring, we are honored to share that you have contributed nearly $1.1 million through our Aquathon, Authors Luncheon and annual appeals. You have positioned us to reach our year-end fundraising goal of $1.4 milllion which will continue to support the essential and professional services we provide to thousands of individuals and their families who live with a developmental or physical disability.  A quick summary of your contributions since July 1, 2015 include:

donor generosity ensure our achievements

united for success: fundraising on target

Our annual appeal for the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 was extremely successful.  To date, we have raised $240,000 which is critical to our ability to provide educational, therapeutic, social, and vocational services to children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities. The annual appeal revenue, along with the combined $450,000 raised at the Authors Luncheon and Aquathon, plus individual gifts since July 1, 2015  bring us to our current $1.1 million in donated revenue.

united for the future donation results
We are now halfway through our 2015-2018 “United for the Future” funded projects. Many of those gifts came as naming opportunities for specific projects or programs that Abilities United needed to launch to remain competitive in disability services.  We have met with many of these major donors to share with them the impact their gifts have made on the lives of the people we serve. A quick summary includes:
Art Program: Abilities United participant artists have increased exposure and art revenue in the Bay Area through exhibits at notable locations including the de Young Museum and the Children’s Discovery Museum San Jose.
Art Scholarships: Nearly 50 adult artists have enrolled in art classes in the community to further develop their artistic talents and techniques and be exposed to new teachers and painting styles. The original art works produced have been on exhibit and available for purchase in our Art Program art collection.
Technology Fund: Staff and participants have better access to modern technology software and hardware; the necessary infrastructural developments have been made to prepare us for more sophisticated and robust technology solutions to ensure the organization runs more efficiently and effectively.
Memorial Fund: Adult Day Activities staff members participated in meaningful and effective team building opportunities to develop the skills and competencies to be better leaders. They share what they have learned with other staff to improve services to all Adult Services participants.
Employment Placement Enhancement Fund: Employment placement increased to 39 individuals (up from 32 the previous year) while another 13 individuals received employment readiness support services.  Today, approximately 385 individuals served are currently employed in the mainstream workforce

partnerships make our work possible

united for children: how early intervention changes lives
Board members, Cassy Christianson, Dr. Heidi Feldman, and Rachel Segars teamed up for an intimate and personal presentation on how early intervention services have impacted their lives and the lives of their children and families.  A dozen friends of the board members gained a more in-depth understanding of how these Abilities United services change the future of individuals, families, and the community.

  stronger united: employment services business partners
Employment partners enjoyed networking with like-minded business professionals who have committed to help close the employment and income gap by hiring people with disabilities.  One of our new Employment Services partners, Homewood Suites-Hilton in Palo Alto, sponsored the appreciation breakfast to recognize the contribution of our 140 employment and volunteer partners.  We cannot place individuals in jobs that match their skills without the partnership of these employers.

united for art: a universal language

Community School of Music and Art (CSMA) once again partnered with Abilities United to host an art and wine social  for an intimate group of art supporters.  Donors from CSMA and Abilities United bonded over freshly and artistically made hors d’oeuvres prepared by the Abilities United Integrated Living program participants.  The evening concluded with an enjoyable acrylic painting class led by Abilities United artist, Ingrid Lai, and CSMA Art Program Director, Linda Covello.  Each artist left with a smile and newly discovered pride in their artistic talent and an appreciation for the artistic talents of others.

    united by abilities: the capacity to overcome challenges
Concentric Media and filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman  joined forces with Abilities United to host a film festival debut of “The Annie Gill Story” as well as present three additional Concentric Media films. The audience of 250 community members was moved by each of the individuals featured in the films, including Abilities United participant, Molly Hale, whose story of how she utilized warm-water aquatic exercise and other therapeutic exercises to recover from her spinal cord injury was recounted in the film “Moment by Moment’.

    united for education: Palo Alto Adult School
Celebrating its 95th anniversary,  Palo Alto Adult School provides classes for English learners, parents, job seekers, travelers, and hobbyists. The Adult School recognizes Abilities United this quarter for its high quality services for community members with disabilities. Are you caring for a family member? Consider taking a class for yourself. Learn about the various Spring quarter class offerings beginning March 21st at

Abilities United cannot achieve our mission without your help. Thank you for all your contributions because everything you do brings us closer to reaching our goals to:

Provide seamless transition from one service to another throughout the lifetime of participants
Increase Abilities United brand awareness
Assess the community needs to help define the future of Abilities United services

As we approach the close of our 2015/2016 fiscal year, I look forward to keeping you informed about more progress at Abilities United.

Charlie Weidanz