Northeast Arc is proud to announce the winners of The Arc Tank 5.0 competition.  The event was created to positively disrupt the conventional way that services are delivered to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities or autism.

Northeast Arc awarded a total of $247,500 to three projects during the event on Tuesday, December 5, at the JFK Library and Presidential Museum in Boston:

  • NFlyte of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina was awarded $87,500 for an all-in-one practical life skill app for autistic adults. Autistic adults use the mobile app to create customized visual schedules, keep track of shopping lists, create, and share recipes with the NFlyte community, and store documents. Programs and families log into a web-based dashboard to add tasks remotely and see how the mobile user is progressing through the day. Programs can remotely support all students with a simple dashboard view to efficiently assign tasks to one or many students, track completed task success, upload recipes to share and collaborate on shopping lists. NFlyte gives postsecondary the ability to quantify skills learning progress over time, identify students needing more support, and create better collaboration among the entire support The mobile app empowers autistic adults, as well as adults with other disabilities, to have more independence while having the security of remote support. NFlyte is designed to make the dream of independence into a reality.
  • The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Center for Indigenous Health in Alburquerque, New Mexico was awarded $85,000. The funding is for Ask Grandma: A Culturally Responsive Early Developmental Support App.  Native American populations experience the highest rate of disability but have the least access to developmental and education support services to address their Given the legacy of policies and practices which resulted in disproportionate rates of child removal over many generations, Indigenous families face extra barriers to services and supports related to fear, communication barriers and cultural differences. This project, led by a team of Indigenous leaders, will customize, and adapt an evidence-based home visiting curriculum  which support early childhood development called Family Spirit – Language is Medicine, for enhanced use with Indigenous families of young children with disabilities and/or neurodevelopmental differences.
  • Lynn Disability Network of Lynn, Massachusetts was awarded $75,000. The funding is for The Lynnebago, a mobile solution intentionally designed to create a welcoming, inclusive space at municipal events. The Lynnebago provides a universally designed space for all to address their toileting needs with safety and dignity, a sensory sanctuary for those who need time and space for self-regulation and respite, and multilingual Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) technology/braille panels/Sign Language infographics to bridge communication gaps. Lynnebago’s design centers the needs of individuals with various disabilities and communication methods, creating a welcoming space for all within a diverse, multilingual city.

In total, 150 proposals were submitted for Arc Tank 5.0, the fifth time the contest has been held since 2017. Seven of these submissions were selected to present to a panel of judges at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. The winning three proposals will receive funding from the Changing Lives Fund established through an initial $1 million donation from Steven P. Rosenthal, founder of West Shore.“Arc Tank has now funded fifteen bold ideas, totaling more than $1 million, to proposals that promise to break down barriers for people with disabilities,” said Jo Ann Simons, President & CEO, Northeast Arc. “We look forward to watching our three new Arc Tank winners disrupt the status quo and make significant changes for the better for people with intellectual disabilities and autism. We are extremely grateful to Steve Rosenthal for his generosity, which made these awards possible.”

“The funding of these three innovative ideas continues to prove that the Arc Tank is changing lives for the better for people with disabilities,” said Steven P. Rosenthal. “From the first to the latest Arc Tank, powered by the Changing Lives Fund, the goal has been to encourage creative disruption in the way services are provided in the disability community. It’s encouraging to see the number of inspired ideas that will make positive changes for years to come.”

The winners were chosen by a panel of experts with experience in philanthropy, human services, and business. The panel was: Ralph James, philanthropist and former Executive Director of University Affairs at Harvard Business School; Marylou Sudders, senior policy advisor at Smith, Costello & Crawford and former Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services; Shirley Leung, award-winning columnist at The Boston Globe and host of the new podcast Say More”; Nora Moreno Cargie, president of the Point32Health Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship for Point32Health; and James Day Keith, a student at Northern Essex Community College, Special Olympics athlete, and actor in the film Champions with Woody Harrelson. The panel was supported by David Chang, GM, Expert Network at Hunt Club and founding member of TBD Angels.

Latoyia Edwards, anchor at NBC10 Boston served as the event’s emcee.

Visit Northeast Arc’s YouTube channel to watch presentations from all seven Arc Tank finalists.

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