Well, the first criterion is going to be the toughest, because while the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation gives broadly and generously—over 180 grants totaling over $3 million were handed out in 2013—their geographic focus is as tight as it gets. Six counties. You have to be located in one of six counties in order to be eligible for funding from Tower. So if you live in either Niagara or Erie County, New York or Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, or Nantucket County, Massachusetts, consider yourself a lucky duck. You can move on to puzzling out how Tower defines Intellectual Disabilities, and determining whether or not you qualify.
See, the complicating factor is that Tower has both an Intellectual Disabilities program and a Learning Disabilities program. But Tower is really clear about what they want to accomplish with their Intellectual Disabilities program, and it boils down to four goals:
- Early intervention for children
- Meaningful engagement in social or vocational pursuits
- Support to educate families about intellectual disability and available support
- Engaging community support and embrace of intellectually disabled individuals
Accordingly, Tower’s funded projects within its Intellectual Disabilities program from 2012 fit these goals like a glove. There’s a clear focus on helping young people with intellectual disabilities advance socially and professionally. For example, $187,083 went to the North Shore Community College Foundation in Danvers, MA, to fund a pilot college-level program. Two funded projects seem geared toward the early intervention Tower hopes to attain: $150,000 to Brigham and Women’s Hospital to see if simulating inter-uterine sounds will help premature infants with intellectual disabilities, and $136,919 to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, to fund early screenings for sensory integration dysfunction in intellectually disabled children.
And to take some of the strain off families that support intellectually disabled children, Tower is funding the Cradle Beach Camp in Angola, NY, to the tune of $52,302, to provide additional respite weekends and expand knowledge of respite services in the community.
The grant cycle is currently wide open, and if you’re eligible and interested, you have until June 11th to create an online account at http://thetowerfoundation.fluxx.io, and until June 18th to file your application.