Client Spotlight: Joseph Maley Foundation

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This is a very special client spotlight in honor of International Day of People with Disabilities.

What is International Day of Persons with Disabilities? 

According to the World Health Organization, International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a “United Nations Day celebrated on December 3rd every year. According to the WHO, “The day is about promoting the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities at every level of society and development, and to raise awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of political, social, economic, and cultural life.” 

In honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we are highlighting the work of the Joseph Maley Foundation for their contributions to people with disabilities.  

Who they are

Joseph Maley Foundation logo

Joseph Maley Foundation, established in 2008, is cultivating a more accepting, respectful, and inclusive community through education and service programs for youth. 

The Joseph Maley Foundation actively works to include the diversity and depth of the human experience in all it does. Through education and service, the Foundation strives to create an inclusive community in Greater Indianapolis where all belong. 

The Foundation engages individuals, families, and schools through programming, and events that support diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Regardless of ability, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, religion, socio-economic status, age, geography of origin, residence, sexual orientation, or disability, everyone should be included and celebrated.

What they did

Children putting on a disability awareness puppet show.

The cornerstone of the Joseph Maley Foundation, DisABILITY Awareness is their largest program and is presented in more than 50 schools each school year. The program includes speakers and different activities for children in preschool through eighth grade. The program’s goal is to plant the seeds of awareness and respect for others.  

With a board comprised of professionals the Maleys worked with and family friends, they talked about what the DisABILITY Awareness program was going to be. They tried many different approaches and are not risk averse. The Joseph Maley Foundation kept what stuck and developed the program. With the help of teachers writing the DisABILITY Awareness curriculum to Indiana State Standards, the program took off. 

Very quickly, it was clear there was a demand for the services Joseph Maley Foundation provided. Many schools wanted to bring this programming to their students. That’s why the Joseph Maley Foundation invested in their van to transport materials from school to school as they grew and expanded their reach. 

What you can do

Stick with what your mission is and do it to the best of your ability. The Joseph Maley Foundation now serves well over 100,000 children each year with their programming. Your nonprofit may serve fewer or more people, but what matters is that you stick to your mission and serve those you can. 

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The Joseph Maley Foundation relied on those around them to grow their DisABILITY Awareness program into what it is today. They even ask for donations to keep their van filled so that they can offset the cost of delivering their program to schools in their area. 

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