News

May 22, 2019

2019 PA Community Alliance Summit

The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council invites you to a day of networking, discovering alliances and collaboration building among diverse organizations throughout Pennsylvania led by and/or supporting underserved/unserved populations who experience marginalization and oppression.

About the Summit

Oppression affects many of us, for different socially constructed reasons: racism, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual identity and orientation, disability, economics, rural/urban location, religion, and so much more. Although our discrimination experiences may be different, we can be a valuable support and resource to each other in our struggles for equality, inclusion, and social justice.

Join the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council on May 21 and 22 to participate in the discussion. This year, the Summit will focus on the goal of meeting and engaging new potential allies, stimulating learning from one another, and exploring opportunities for partnerships and collaboration.

Download the Summit agenda.

Registration

Registration is free and may be accessed via the event page. Availability is on a first come first serve basis.

More information on the event, hotel accommodations, travel, and more can be found on the event page.

Questions

For questions, contact Dana Thompson at 717.214.8103 or danathomps@pa.gov.

News

May 21, 2019

2019 PA Community Alliance Summit

The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council invites you to a day of networking, discovering alliances and collaboration building among diverse organizations throughout Pennsylvania led by and/or supporting underserved/unserved populations who experience marginalization and oppression.

About the Summit

Oppression affects many of us, for different socially constructed reasons: racism, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual identity and orientation, disability, economics, rural/urban location, religion, and so much more. Although our discrimination experiences may be different, we can be a valuable support and resource to each other in our struggles for equality, inclusion, and social justice.

Join the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council on May 21 and 22 to participate in the discussion. This year, the Summit will focus on the goal of meeting and engaging new potential allies, stimulating learning from one another, and exploring opportunities for partnerships and collaboration.

Download the Summit agenda.

Registration

Registration is free and may be accessed via the event page. Availability is on a first come first serve basis.

More information on the event, hotel accommodations, travel, and more can be found on the event page.

Questions

For questions, contact Dana Thompson at 717.214.8103 or danathomps@pa.gov.

News

December 5, 2018

What’s Next for the Allegheny County Children’s Fund?

Although the outcome of “Our Kids. Our Commitment.” initiative was not what proponents wanted, key stakeholders are looking toward the future and finding some victory in the vote.

Voting Results

During the recent election, over 513,000 Allegheny County residents cast their vote on a proposed amendment to establish the Allegheny County Children’s Fund through an increase in property taxes (0.25 millage rate, an estimated $30 increase per year for the average household). The fund would have supported early learning opportunities for children, after-school programs and nutritious meals. The amendment was defeated, with 48.31 percent of voters in support and 51.69 percent against.

“What I heard from my constituents was that they liked the idea of increased and specific funding for early learning, after-school programming, and nutrition programs,” says Councilwoman Deb Gross. “But they had concerns about the governance of the fund.”

What Does This Mean?

The defeat means that Allegheny County still does not dedicate any funding to early learning programs and nutritious meals but does allocate approximately $8 million to after-school programs. Advocates of the Children’s Fund say, despite the vote’s outcome, the need for these programs is still there, and that the vote showed that there is great public interest in finding a solution to funding these programs for our children.

“What this tells us is that just over a half-million people in Allegheny County care about this issue,” says Patrick Dowd, executive director of Allies for Children. “There is wide consensus that these types of programs are something we should be supporting, and clearly a number of people care about this issue. That part to us is helpful and inspiring.”

James Doyle, executive director of Higher Achievement, Pittsburgh, appreciates the number of people who did vote yes. “The people are saying they care about these three critical things enough to support a small increase in their taxes,” he says. “That sends a strong message for us to continue our work.”

Advocates agree that the vote shows people care about this issue and people want to see some sort of funding be provided for this type of early childhood support.

What’s Next?

The 10 organizations that came together to form the Allegheny County Children’s Fund Initiative will continue to advocate for these programs in the day-to-day work of their organizations.  The path to move forward, Dowd says, is through continued conversations with supporters, as well as listening very carefully to those who weren’t supportive.

The group plans to create a space for people to re-engage as they sift through many ideas and other feedback they received.  A future source of funding will need to have a transparent means of reporting back to the public, they say, but the source of that funding remains to be seen.

Allegheny Children’s Fund supporters will continue to advocate for these initiatives in the day-to-day work of their organizations, as well as through their continued collaboration to create a source of funding that will support these programs in the long-term.

“Our organization’s mission has been and will continue to be one that focuses on advocating on behalf of the needs and rights of children,” says Cara Ciminillo, executive director of Trying Together. “The needs remain and the needs are great.”

“I am hopeful that the state will continue the pattern of the past few years with incremental increases to funding for these programs, but this has not been enough to fill the gap,” she says. “We will be continuing the effort to look for local revenue to help support some of that gap.”

*Information provided by Kidsburgh*