Three Chosen from 100+ Submitted To Create New Ways to Improve the Lives of Persons with Disabilities

Northeast Arc announced the winners of the final round of “The Arc Tank” competition that was created to positively disrupt the conventional methods of providing services to persons with disabilities. The winners are:  YMCA of the North Shore, University of Massachusetts Medical School and Center for Public Representation. They were selected by a panel of judges who heard their pitches at an event held yesterday at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, a partner in the initiative. The winning proposals received awards from the Changing Lives Fund that was established through a $1 million donation from Steven P. Rosenthal, founder of West Shore, LLC.

Y’s Water Wise – Submitted by the YMCA of the North Shore, Beverly, Mass., to develop “Water Wise”, a water safety program for children with ASD.  According to a 2017 study, children with autism are 160 times as likely to die from drowning as other children.  Children with ASD often feel anxious, and wandering, especially toward water, is one way they seek relief. Awarded $30,000.

Pathways to Inclusive Health Care – Submitted by Dr. Carol Langer, Associate Professor at UMass Medical Center and an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health, to develop a pipeline of healthcare professionals equipped to provide quality healthcare to people with intellectual disabilities and autism. The project would focus on the precipitous transition from pediatrics to adult medicine care for this population. Awarded $80,000.

Disrupting the Guardianship Pipeline – Submitted by the Center for Public Representation of Northampton, Mass., to create a “Massachusetts Supported Decision-Making Incubator” to provide an effective alternative to guardianship which is often the only option for people with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities. Awarded $85,000.

More than 100 proposals were submitted from across the globe and throughout the U.S. by an array of inventors, engineers, human service providers, parents, college students, and persons with disabilities. Northeast Arc is a human services organization that annually serves 9,000 children and adults from 190 Massachusetts cities and towns who have a broad range of disabilities including intellectual disabilities and autism.

“The Ark Tank will continue full steam ahead as we monitor the progress of our winning projects and hope that they achieve success so the lives of persons with disabilities can improve through their innovative ideas,” said Jo Ann Simons, CEO of Northeast Arc. “With Steven Rosenthal’s vision and philanthropy, we hope to shake up the way that services are provided and lay the groundwork for even more ideas to come forward in the future.” Simons said Northeast Arc will host another Arc Tank competition in 2018 and will announce details soon.

• Matthew Kennedy – Founder, Kennedy Merchant Partners
• Shirley Leung – Columnist and former Business Editor for the Boston Globe
• Quincy Miller – President, Eastern Bank
• Matthew Millett – Security Officer II, Department of Youth Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
• Mike Roberts – Former Executive Director of the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School
• Marylou Sudders – Secretary of Health & Human Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Judges received support from David Chang, an entrepreneur and active angel investor and from Rick Rader, MD, Vice President, American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry. Emcee for the event was T.J. Winick, former correspondent for ABC News, and Northeast Arc board member.