I was pleased to attend another great national convention last week in Orlando, Florida along with a great delegation from Illinois.

Illinois delegation

Terri and I hosted an Illinois Dinner at the House of Blues!

There were many highlights but you know me, I concentrated on governmental affairs and The Arc’s Public Policy Staff are the best in Washington D.C. Last year on the national level, we had many victories including:

  • Every Student Succeeds Act
  • ABLE Act Amendment
  • Earned Income tax Credit & Child Care Tax Credits
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program Extension
  • Zika Funding
  • Medicare: Increased Access to Therapy Services
  • Surface Transportation Reauthorization

We are also preparing for the Presidential transition which will begin right after the November 8th elections. Priority setting has already started and will really ramp up after the election. We will see new leadership for key White House and Agency positions. Priorities for disability in the first 100 days will be critical.

We already know Speaker of the House Ryan”s “A Better Way” Plan has us concerned about renewed attacks on SSI for Children and the block granting of Medicaid.

Once again it is critical that you vote in the 2016 elections.
Jack & Terri at the Catalyst Dinner!

Another highlight was The Arc Catalyst Awards recognizing excellence throughout the nation for advocacy and civil rights. President Terri Devine and Jack represented The Arc of Illinois at the Catalyst Dinner.

Winners of The Arc’s 2016 Catalyst Awards were:

  • Author of the Year – Steve Silberman
  • Community Advocate of the Year – Patti Saylor & Erica Wheeler
  • Corporate Advocate of the Year – Nike, Matthew Walzer, and Tobie Hatfield
  • Corporate Foundation Philanthropist of the Year – Google.org
  • Educator of the Year – Pablo Juarez
  • Foundation Philanthropist of the Year – The Ruderman Family Foundation
  • Regional Business Employer of the Year – Giant Eagle
  • Self-Advocate of the Year – Connor Long
  • Television Show of the Year – Born This Way, A&E, and Bunim/Murray

Congratulations all!

What a great convention it was. I am pleased to see the great growth in The Arc under the leadership of our national CEO Peter Berns. It was hard for me to say goodbye to so many good friends at my last convention. The Arc is in good hands and growing stronger in our mission to build inclusive communities for everyone. Lead on!

tony signature
Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
708-828-0188 (CELL)