Philip A. Donahue Endowment Fund
The Philip A. Donahue Endowment Fund, established by the Richard & Nancy Donahue Charitable Foundation, is MDSC’s first endowed fund. It focuses on supporting individuals with Down syndrome by helping them prepare for and find employment and professional development opportunities. The Philip Donahue Endowment Fund was established in conjunction with the launch of the Philip Donahue Your Next Star (YNS) Employment Center, one of MDSC’s four Centers of Excellence.
Originally launched in 2015, YNS is dedicated to opening employers’ eyes to the abilities of workers with Down syndrome. The expanded Employment Center will continue on the front lines of educating employers about the value that people with Down syndrome bring to the workforce while working directly with employers to build inclusive hiring programs.
The Gary Charles Pappalardo Fund
The Gary Charles Pappalardo Fund was announced on June 6, 2019 at the MDSC’s 6th Annual Advocacy Day. The fund is named in memory or self advocate Gary Pappalardo, 1964-2019.
The fund recognizes that Gary’s love for his community and his advocacy skills along with the support he received from his family paved the way for others who are born with Down syndrome to have the lives they truly deserve.
“When Gary was born in 1964, families often had nowhere to turn to get information, support and guidance on how to help their children,” said MA Department of Developmental Services Commissioner Jane Ryder at the ceremony. “Fortunately, Gary was surrounded by people who truly cared about him and were able to ensure he had a long meaningful life.”
The funds from the Pappalardo Fund will extend Gary’s legacy by providing more opportunities for people with Down syndrome and their families in Massachusetts, making a profound impact on the work MDSC does in the near and distant future for people with Down syndrome across the lifespan.
Gary’s beloved aunt, Sara Fogg, was in attendance to receive a remembrance award.
Let It Shine Fund
The Let it Shine Fund at the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress was founded in honor of Calvin O’Donnell and in memory of Calvin’s grandmother, Maria Nelson, and his two great uncles John and Jim Nelson. Through the fund, the Nelson Family and others who contribute to the fund, will support children with Down syndrome and their families through the MDSC Center on Inclusive Education for years to come.
Funds generated through the Let it Shine Fund are used to support our education programs that share best practices in educating students with Down syndrome.
The Sultan J. Begum Masood Fund
The Sultan J. Begum Masood Fund at the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress is founded in memory of Sultan J. Begum Masood, loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother.
Through the fund, she continues her legacy of supporting her family – particularly her children and grandchildren – by supporting families with Down syndrome for years to come. Funds generated through the Sultan J. Begum Masood Fund are used to support key programmatic initiatives at the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, including the Advocates in Motion for Teens and Young Adults Program, the Self-Advocate Advisory Council, the Your Next Star Initiative and the MDSC’s Family Support Center.