ILRCSF is a small organization that is proud of big accomplishments. While the Laguna Honda lawsuit and settlement had an impact on disability rights on a national scale, it is important to remember and honor small accomplishments. We work towards a fully accessible society not only on a systemic level. We provide support, information and advocacy to individuals who are working to establish or preserve their own independence. For some people, this means figuring out how to manage their own finances. For others it means exploring assistive technology options that will make it possible for them to seek higher education or enter the workforce. In any given week, ILRCSF staff helps people with disabilities secure emergency funding to avoid eviction, provides use of our accessible computer kiosk, demonstrates and lends out cutting edge assistive technology, hosts workshops on Fair Housing, benefits, and economic empowerment topics, assists in accessing Paratransit and other programs that provide equity of access, and coordinates recreational and social activities throughout the Bay Area.
A few weeks ago, the entire ILRCSF staff rejoiced at the news that, several years after embarking on an advocacy effort to help a consumer with multiple disabilities secure housing in SF, our good friend, Frank* will be ringing in the new year from his new home: a fully accessible apartment that meets not only his access requirements, but his budgetary constraints. Providing Frank with the advocacy, support and resources that made it possible for him to make the shift from homelessness to accessible, affordable, independent community living is just one of our “small” accomplishments – the accomplishments that may not make the headlines, but which make a real difference in the every day lives of people with disabilities.
As the year winds down, many of you will be inundated with requests for donations. Every not-for-profit needs support from the community in order to survive. ILRCSF is no different. As Director of Programs and Development, I often hear from supporters who say they feel badly about not being able to donate more. This is why I’m writing, today. I’m writing to say that, just as no accomplishment is too small to celebrate and, in fact, it’s often the so-called small accomplishments which really deserve to be celebrated, no donation to ILRCSF is too small. This is traditionally a time of year when long-time supporters make their end-of-year donations. I speak for every member of ILRCSF’s staff when I say that we appreciate a $5 donation every bit as much as we appreciate a donation of $1,000. We don’t want or expect our friends to provide any specific level of support. What we ask is that people who believe in ILRCSF’s mission, and wish to support it, give what they can. For some people this means volunteering their services. For others, it means making a $10 donation via text message. We have supporters who make monthly donations throughout the year, and others who choose to gift us a equipment or supplies we need. The year is, in fact, winding down, and we are, in fact, asking our friends to make a year-end donation. It’s important to all of us, though, that our friends know this: there is no such thing as too small a donation. Your friendship and support are vital to ILRCSF – a small, community-based organization, which places an emphasis on “community.”
Small things matter.
*For reasons of privacy/confidentiality, this consumer’s name has been changed.