Winter 2021 Grant Round 1st Recipient: 99 Balloons

grant announcement

for March 1, 2021

We are excited to announce our Winter 2021 Grant Round Recipient!

Thanks to our generous donor community, 99 Balloons is receiving a $25,000 grant towards their Equip Initiative!

99 Balloons is working to change the Story of Disability by building inclusive communities so that every person with a disability and their family can live a full life within relationships.

99 Balloons Equip is a new initiative to formalize and expand training materials for their rEcess and bEfriend programs, as well as expand training opportunities to serve their global partners and anyone wishing to learn more about inclusivity and building community with those experiencing disability.

  • rEcess provides a turn-key training and event programming plan for those wishing to provide respite for families experiencing disability. rEcess also provides a curriculum and a support group atmosphere for siblings of those with disability.
  • bEfriend is a replicable model of community that cultivates mutual friendship and 1-1 friendship pairings between typical adults and adults experiencing disability.

The training site will allow current and future 99 Balloons volunteers and advocates to learn how to provide respite, friendship, and community to those experiencing disability, and will also open up our first-class training program to anyone wishing to advocate for and create friendships with those experiencing disability. Users will work through our training modules, culminating in a certificate as a 99 Balloons Certified Advocate. As language, terminology, and best practices are constantly changing, advocates can complete an additional module each year to keep their Advocacy status current.  99 Balloons will partner with ELIM, an organization with an established school for children and adults experiencing disability, to develop a global disability training program to help create educational opportunities for children experiencing disability across the globe.  99 Balloons currently supports 42 rEcess sites in the United States creating over 2,300+ opportunities to serve people and families with disability through volunteers providing approximately 20,000 hours per year.  bEfriend has just launched and currently supports 4 sites.

The mission of 99 Balloons to build inclusive communities so that every person with a disability and their family can live a full life within relationships drives their initiatives and desired outcomes. Their desire is to create advocates and friends, not just for its own sake, but to decrease the isolation experienced by those affected by disability.

99 Balloons is well-positioned to reach a wide audience as their programming extends throughout the United States as well as Canada and Australia. They also have global partners located in Uganda, Nicaragua, South Asia, and Haiti. With over 50 rEcess and bEfriend sites utilizing between 5 and 75 volunteers each, their training will have an immediate impact on these volunteers. They also have a number of sites ready to train and launch as soon as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Furthermore, 99 Balloons is well-respected, long-established, and seen as a leader within the disability community. Their relationship with other non-profits will allow them to access additional potential advocates. They will also utilize advertising on social media platforms to promote our Equip program.

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