The Sherlock Center, in partnership with VSA Arts of Rhode Island, is in its fifth year of the Access for All Abilities Mini-Grant initiative. To date, 22 businesses and organizations have received a total of $47,500 to increase access to social, leisure, recreational and cultural activities for individuals with disabilities. The mission of the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities is to promote membership of individuals with disabilities in school, work, and community. The Sherlock Center, Rhode Island's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), receives funding for this initiative through the United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Developmental Disabilities.
The next grant cycle will begin in winter 2014. The award period is July, 2014 – June, 2015. Join our mailing list to receive announcements related to this initiative.
Recipients of the 2013 grants are the Cranston YMCA, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, and the Newport Art Museum.
The Cranston YMCA will use its grant to fund the purchase of a wheelchair-accessible upper body exercise machine.
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, a Woonsocket community development corporation, will use its award to purchase a computer-based individualized reading program, furnishings and sensory materials for its Art Center for grades K-5.
Newport Art Museum
The Newport Art Museum will use its grant funding to reconstruct a ramp at the museum's main building, the John N.A. Griswold House, completing a larger accessibility project.
Support efforts of Rhode Island leisure businesses and organizations to include more people with disabilities in scheduled activities, alongside people without disabilities.
Increase access (physical, financial, programmatic) for people with various disabilities to existing social, leisure, recreational and cultural activities in the community.
AAA Grant applicants* must be businesses or organizations offering social, leisure, recreational, and/or cultural activities to the public in Rhode Island. Non-profit organizations, businesses, city or town government agencies are encouraged to apply.
*Rhode Island College departments not eligible to apply.
A panel of representatives from the Sherlock Center, Accessible Rhode Island and VSA Arts of Rhode Island, including individuals with disabilities, will evaluate applications according to the following criteria:
Degree to which proposal will increase long-term accessibility for people with disabilities to leisure activities.
Degree to which proposal will result in increased integration of people with disabilities into existing community activities alongside people without disabilities.
Degree to which proposed strategies or projects have a long-term impact or demonstrate sustainability
Presence of an effective plan for outreach to people with disabilities, which includes marketing strategies promoting the increased accessibility. Applicants may use a portion of the funds requested for outreach.
Degree to which proposal meets a demonstrated or unmet need.
Creative and innovative ideas for combining grant funds with other existing resources for maximum impact.
Examples of supportable projects: purchase or development of specialized equipment or product to enhance accessibility; sensitivity or specific skill training for employees; modifications to an existing activity to accommodate people with disabilities; seed money for a larger project or strategic planning. These are just a few suggestions. We encourage innovative thinking!
AAA grants will not fund:
Development of a disability-only program (e.g., "karate for kids with autism," "dance classes for adults with disabilities," "hiking for the visually impaired," etc.)
Proposals from entities whose primary client base is already people with disabilities
A service or product which will only benefit a single individual (e.g., equipment needing to be custom fit for a particular person, funding a one-on-one assistant, etc.)