2013 was a banner year for ILRCSF. We reached out to our friends asking for support for our dream – a move to a purpose-built, ground-floor, accessible location in San Francisco’s SOMA district. Detractors said this was too big a dream. As disability rights activists, we believe in dreaming big. After all, people with disabilities aren’t striving for a partially accessible community, but a fully accessible community. Dreaming big paid off.
With the help of friends and supporters, ILRCSF was successful in securing site control of the entire ground floor of 825 Howard street, contracted the architectural services of the distinguished Chris Downey, and is moving full speed ahead with The Move. The design is just about finalized, construction of our new, ground-level, state-of-the-art Independent Living Center will begin in March, and ILRCSF is set to make the big move to our new, ground-floor, built-to-spec home in July. Exciting times – not just for ILRCSF, but for all of San Francisco.
“One day I turned on the television and caught a local news story about a disability rights organization located on an upper floor in a building with an unreliable elevator. A woman from the organization was describing how important full accessibility was, and how hard she was working to raise funds to move her organization to a ground-floor location that everyone would be able to access. She talked about how important this would be to all of San Francisco. I’d only been in San Francisco for three months. I’m from New Jersey, where I’ve spent most of my life. I knew this project would be important not just for San Francisco, but for every person with a disability. You see, this news story caught my interest because my mother is a wheelchair user. I understand how important accessibility is, and how simple and can be to achieve, if people are just willing to make the effort. I decided then and there to make a donation towards this project. I work for a tech company that has a donor matching program. When I told the people at HR about ILRCSF’s project, they matched my donation, dollar for dollar. Being able to support this project really made me happy.”
– Mario, a newcomer to SF, donated $500. His employer matched the donation.*
The support of friends from all over America – including many new donors who heard about The Move second or third hand, and felt compelled to donate – has been an inspiration. We have always intended for this project to be about building community, and developing a resource for all of San Francisco. That so many individuals have taken ownership of the project by pledging their support and/or passing the word along only reinforces this intention. The Move is happening thanks to you and so, we thank you for your continued support and friendship.
In the months ahead, we will keep you up to date on our progress, which is only picking up momentum. We will also be informing you of ways you can continue to be a part of this project by posting about it on your online social networks, attending ILRCSF events, and, eventually, coming by to visit us at our new home when we cut the ribbon and open for business in July. You helped make this happen, and we want you there to experience exactly how much your support has achieved.
On behalf of ILRCSF staff and board, I personally want to wish everyone a happy 2014. This promises to be a very good year for ILRCSF, and for San Francisco, and we wish to share our good fortune with our supporters. We cherish having each and every one of you on board this exciting ride.
For background information on this exciting project, and updates on our progress, check out The Move.
* At the request of the donor, his real name was not used.