By Phil Pangrazio
Photo by Johanna Huckeba
Community partnerships have been the hallmark of our success at Ability360 for more than 35 years.
These partnerships have leveraged and expanded our reach to better serve people with disabilities. For instance, the Ability360 Center was established for this very purpose: to be a one-stop center for disability services conveniently offered at one location.
Our partners, such as the Arizona Center for Disability Law, Raising Special Kids, Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association and all the others at the Ability360 Center give us access to information and resources that we could not otherwise provide. All serve as invaluable referral sources, as we could never be experts on everything disability related, nor do we want to duplicate what others are doing well. Our partners at the Ability360 Center are just one color in this beautiful rainbow.
Other treasured community partnerships include government, corporations, foundations, other nonprofits and even individual donors. All of these complete the rainbow and extend our reach beyond what we could ever do by ourselves.
For instance, our partnership with Dignity Health’s Barrow Neurological Institute and Barrow Connection offers us the ability to have our consumers experience adaptive water sports at the annual “Day on the Lake” event and sports programs like wheelchair rugby. Also, their funding of our Project Independence & Empowerment program makes it possible for us to serve consumers coming out of the rehab setting at the Sports & Fitness Center, providing that important link between rehab from injury or illness back to community life. In addition, our close and longstanding relationship with the City of Phoenix not only allows us to offer home modifications to low income residents with disabilities, but also led to the capital bond funding for the Sports & Fitness Center, and the transit tax funding for a light rail stop near the Ability360 Center.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the other fabulous community partners that make it possible for us to deliver the highest quality programs to those we serve. Some of these include AHCCCS, ALTHCS, DES, Mercy Care, Bridgeway, United Health, Thunderbirds Charities, Arizona Community Foundation, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Coyotes, The Reese Family Foundation, Cowin Charitable Fund, VMI Mobility, Lovitt & Touché, Dick’s Sporting Goods and many, many others.
Ability360 depends on these community partnerships. They are the lifeblood of our programs. Without them, we could not offer the broad range of programs we now deliver. These include home care; employment; youth transition; SSDI/SSI work incentives counseling; health & wellness; adaptive sports & fitness; living well with a disability; Latino, African American, and American Indian summits and conferences, just to name a few. On behalf of Ability360, I thank them all for their support and commitment to this incredible community partnership!