What We Believe And Have To Offer

Disability is not something to be feared. It is something to be understood.

The Ability Center (ACT) exists to help the community understand Disability. Whether it is a parent just informed their child has a disability or a community business wanting to become more accessible, a school needing to know how to better serve its students or an employer looking to hire, The Ability Center helps people to get what they need: information and support.

The Ability Center offers the community a perspective based not on myth and old stereotypes, but on real life and years of experience. More than half of the Center’s staff and Board of Trustees are people living with disabilities, living successfully, with families and friends, homes and responsibilities, like everyone else in the community.

Ability Center staff know what is possible because they live it, have done it or know people who have. Whatever your question or concern, whatever your dream, The Ability Center can help you find answers, the latest tools, the most progressive solutions or positive directions.

People with disabilities can and have been great writers and leaders, scientists and inventors, artists and visionaries. For most of these successful people, living differently is what set them apart; gave them a unique perspective. It offered them the impetus to lead, write, discover, invent, paint or interpret the world the way they did.

With this understanding, The Ability Center helps young people and parents find role models and dream big dreams. It helps educators teach with high-expectation and better train the next generation. The center helps business and community leaders to create communities that are truly welcoming and inclusive, to better make a difference by examining where they are and what they know. Together we explore what is possible.

The Ability Center is an important voice that needs to be heard by the entire community, a partner that shares a vision for a better world. It is a voice of equality, dignity and respect, the voice of citizens living with disabilities now (and someday). It is a voice worthy of your support.

Within the heart of each community, everyone belongs. Help us to help the communities of northwest Ohio and the citizens of these fine communities to strive for and reach their fullest potential.

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Our Legacy And Vision

For nearly a century, The Ability Center has provided disability-related services and evolved to meet the ever changing needs of northwest Ohioans with disabilities. Since 1920, The Ability Center has been a leader in the support of people living with disabilities. We have been a children’s hospital and polio center, a kindergarten for children with disabilities, and a social service agency. Since 1990, we have been a Center for Independent Living, providing Advocacy, Peer Support, Information and Referral, and Independent Living Skills Training. The Ability Center currently collaborates with over 100 partners to build accessible, welcoming communities where all citizens are included, respected and valued for who they are. We create opportunities for individuals to live full lives while contributing to their communities.

View our Mission and Vision

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Community Impact: A Few Examples

  • In October 2011, The center merged with Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence. This strategic alliance creates efficiency, eliminates duplication, and makes an even stronger community impact.
  • The center brings to the area internationally recognized speakers, providing educational opportunities to community leaders, educators, families and individuals with disabilities.
  • Satellite offices at Wayman Palmer YMCA and Adelante, LLC in Toledo and in both Port Clinton and Bryan, provide critical outreach to under-served populations.
  • The Ability Center collaborates with architects and community planners to ensure venues like 5/3 Field and the Huntington Center provide inclusive experiences for all visitors and employees.
  • The Center works with numerous summer camp providers to ensure all children have safe, fun and inclusive summer experiences.
Boy on a bike.
Boy on a bike.

Administrative costs for The Ability Center are supported by an endowment and through a number of grants.

This allows 100% of donations to support programs and services.

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Our Programs And Services

Following are the departments, their annual budgets, a few examples of the services they provide and how your support can assure successful outcomes.

Community Connections

Annual Budget: $1,306,630

Summer Camp: $300 provides hands-on support to a young person with a disability at a community camp where they can enjoy summer experiences with their peers.

Independent Living Skills: $25 provides one-on-one skills training needed to reach an independent living goal. Training might include home economics, personal hygiene, money management, adaptive cooking techniques and devices, or job seeking skills.

Recreation and Leisure: $100 could provide an individual with a membership or supporting accommodations needed to participate in inclusive leisure activities.

Housing and Advocacy

Annual Budget: $1,469,978

Permanent Wooden Ramps: $2000 supports a consumer with independent access to
their home. It ensures that a person has the ability to get to work, receive medical
treatment and attend important events. Most importantly, it provides a person with the
freedom to become an engaged and valued community member.

Temporary Aluminum Ramps: $800 gives a recipient of hospice services the ability to
stay at home for as long as needed. Temporary ramps also help people to stay in their
own homes while undergoing physical rehabilitation.

Nursing Home Transition: $500 provides housing expenses, household furniture,
dishes, bedding, utility connection fees, start-up groceries and other basics to living
independently.

Educational Advocacy Services: $300 supports a student, and their family, by providing
Educational Advocacy services that greatly increases a student’s long-term success.

Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence

Annual Budget: $409,319

Puppy Program: $500 will purchase a puppy that will grow up to become a major part of someone’s life, giving them the assistance they need to live independently and a friend for life.

Food and Health Care: $1,000 will feed one dog for one year and provide veterinary care needed as they grow and train.

Complete Package: $20,000 provides the funding necessary to bring a dog through the entire two-year training program, from acquisition to placement. At the end of this training, these dogs may become Service Dogs, which assist people with mobility challenges to pick up dropped items, open and close doors and retrieve a phone, book, etc. Or, they may become Therapy dogs, which provide unconditional love and companionship to children with autism and adults with traumatic brain injuries or comfort and friendship in facilities such as hospice, nursing homes and schools.

Options For Tomorrow

Annual Budget: $110,000

Future Planning: $4,000 helps a family create a financial plan for the future of a loved one with disabilities. This plan provides direction and, most importantly, peace of mind knowing their family member will be supported and cared for their entire life.

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The Greatest Partnership

The Ability Center has, for over 90 years, spent all of its talent and energy serving people with disabilities in Toledo, northwest Ohio and beyond. We continue to help people every day to meet their needs, chase their dreams and reach their goals. With your partnership and support, we can touch so many more lives. We’ve shared a few examples of how you can help. Please consider being a supporter of this dynamic organization that is changing lives every day.

Download the Case for Support (pdf)

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