Tim Brown, chief innovation and strategy officer, and Jo Ann Simons, president and CEO, together after Brown received the Program Innovation Award at the annual convention of the Arc of the United States

Tim Brown, Northeast Arc’s chief innovation and strategy officer, received the Program Innovation Award during the annual convention of the Arc of the United States on November 11 in Denver, Colo. The award, presented by the National Conference of Arc Executives, recognizes chapters that have designed and implemented creative programming to address the unique needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their community.

In his more than 30 years with Northeast Arc, Brown has spearheaded the agency’s innovative approaches to service delivery. These include Breaking Grounds Café, a coffee shop that serves as a hands-on employment training program for individuals with disabilities, and The Arc Tank, a competition that has provided nearly a million dollars to disruptive ideas that will improve supports for people with disabilities.

In October 2020, Brown helped Northeast Arc launch the Center for Linking Lives at Liberty Tree Mall. The Center represents 26,000 square feet of inclusive program space for all of Northeast Arc’s community-facing initiatives. The Center is a novel approach to the reuse and revitalization of mall space, and is a valuable way to make sure individuals served by Northeast Arc are not just in the community, but are part of the community. With a central location served by public transportation and ample parking, the Center also means that Northeast Arc’s services are more accessible than ever to the families supported by the agency.

“I’m honored to be recognized by the National Conference of Arc Executives for this project,” said Brown. “Most importantly, I’m excited that this is an opportunity for other Arcs to learn how our Center for Linking Lives model could be replicated at malls across the country, opening the door for more inclusive service delivery.”

Brown conceived and curates Northeast Arc’s parcels retail store at the Liberty Tree Mall, which carries only items made by entrepreneurs with intellectual and developmental disabilities or autism, or social enterprises that employ them. He has cultivated and continues to steward relationships with 100 entrepreneurs based locally, around the country and around the world. Brown’s efforts have raised the profile of each entrepreneur, and contributed to their financial success. The store also has an internship program, enabling individuals supported by Northeast Arc to learn valuable retail skills.

In addition to his work at Northeast Arc, Brown is active in multiple community organizations, serving on the boards for the Peabody Cultural Collaborative, Behind You, Inc., North Shore Children’s Museum, Salem Arts Association, and Peabody Main Streets.

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