TAKE ACTION – Media Outreach
Letter to the Editor Campaign

BACKGROUND

Illinois is considering additional budget cuts that will deliver a devastating blow to an already
bare-bones disability system. Recent data shows Illinois is spending $429 million annually
to operate seven state institutions serving just 1,700 people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities. Illinois can serve four-and-a-half people in the community for
every one person in an institution. This is unacceptable. It’s time for a forward-thinking
approach to redirect wasteful state institutional spending into a community-based program
that offers an improved quality of life and cost savings to taxpayers.

ACT NOW

Join us in our initiative to educate lawmakers by writing a letter to your editor. We need a
variety of letters from self-advocates, guardians, industry experts, and community leaders
that offer a broad perspective. Please make your letters personal and explain how this
issue is impacting you and why it’s important to you.

Some facts to consider:

  • Illinois ranks nearly last in the nation for supporting people with disabilities in the
    community
  • Only two states institutionalize more people with disabilities, positioning Illinois as
    the third highest institutionalized state in the nation
  • Currently, it cost an estimated $429 million annually to serve the approximately
    1,700 people living in institutions in Illinois compared to the $92 million it would cost
    to fund those people in the community
  • Illinois could save approximately $337 million a year by redirecting funds from state
    institutions to community-based programs and services
  • There are 22,000 people with disabilities in Illinois waiting to receive services in the
    community

We are asking policymakers to take this cost savings and redirect those funds to
get people off the PUNS waiting list and support programs helping people with
disabilities live fulfilling and independent lives in the community

Here are tips for getting your letters accepted by the editor:

  • Write to your local papers
  • Check guidelines for maximum word count for each paper
  • Make sure your most important points are stated in the first paragraph
  • Use personal stories
  • Sign the letter with your name, affiliation, address, city, phone number and email
    for authentication
  • If your letter is not accepted the first time around, try again

Media Submission Contact Information:

Use the following email addresses to submit your letters. We also highly encourage
submitting your letter to your local and community outlets.

The State Journal-Register: letters@sj-r.com
Chicago Tribune: tribletter@tribune.com
Daily Herald: Submit online here
Rockford Register (must be 200 words or less): opinions@rrstar.com
The Southern Illinoisan: letters@thesouthern.com
Belleville News-Democrat: submit online here
The Telegraph: submit online here
The Pantagraph: letters@pantagraph.com
Quincy Herald-Whig: letters@whig.com


Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
 
Tony@thearcofil.org