Lori Gangemi, AbilityFirst CEO, and John Kelly, AbilityFirst Board Chair with participants Isotta Eckford (L) and Tyler Osborne (R) at our Lawrence L. Frank Center in Pasadena.

Leadership Message

Dear Friends:

As we write this recap of our 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, AbilityFirst is celebrating 90 years of growth, innovation, and planning strategically to best meet the needs of the people we serve. Year after year, our participants and their families continually give us excellent marks on our feedback surveys – with 100% of respondents saying they would recommend AbilityFirst to others.

We don’t take that feedback lightly. We want to continue to engender that trust in the people we serve for another century and beyond. One of the ways we do that is by assessing current programming and setting ourselves up for future success. In the Fall of 2013, we set quite a few aggressive goals for 2014-2015 and we’re happy to report that we’ve seen great progress on nearly all objectives.

For example, year-over-year at Camp Paivika, we’ve seen an eight percent increase in the number of campers attending our summer programs and increased the number of camperships given to campers with financial need by 50 percent. We expanded our After School Program scholarships for families with financial need to all of our sites. We exceeded our Business and Employment Services contract revenue goals leading to more jobs for adults with developmental disabilities. Our Supported Employment Program more than tripled the number of job placements from twenty in the year 2010 to 66 placements in 2015.

As a nonprofit organization, we rely heavily on your support to continue improving our current programs and expanding to meet the needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities in Greater Los Angeles. Many new, exciting, and innovative programs have recently been launched including: a Community Integration Program in Inglewood; an Employment Facilitation Training Services program serving the San Gabriel Valley; and a College to Career program in Pasadena.

There are challenges ahead, however. Despite recent increases, state reimbursement rates are far behind meeting the cost of providing programs, while municipalities are implementing minimum wage increases over the next few years. We will rise to these challenges and continue to provide excellent programming.

AbilityFirst looks beyond disabilities, focuses on the capabilities of each individual and breaks through any preconceived limitations, opening up a world of possibilities. Preparation, socialization, communication, education – all leading to helping people achieve their personal best.

With your generous support, we look forward to continuing to provide quality employment, educational, recreational, and social programs to our participants.

John Kelly
Board Chair

Lori Gangemi
President & CEO