Press Release - 10.06.21

ANCOR Announces Six Recipients of Association’s 2021 Excellence in Public Policy Awards

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Awards program to honor elected officials, leading advocates for community
disability services at association’s upcoming policy conference

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – Today, the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), the leading voice in Washington for providers of community-based services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), announced the recipients of the association’s 2021 awards for excellence in public policy and advocacy. Honorees will be recognized in a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, October 13, concurrent with ANCOR’s 2021 Policy Summit.

Today’s announcement included recipients of awards in four categories: (1) the Congressional Legacy Award, (2) the Suellen Galbraith Award for Excellence in Public Policy, (3) the Diane McComb State Association Star Award, and (4) the Bonnie-Jean Brooks Rising Star Award.

ANCOR’s Congressional Legacy Award is being bestowed for the first time this year in recognition of an elected official whose career-long support of disability services has had a transformative impact on the ability of people with I/DD to live and work in the community. The recipient of ANCOR’s inaugural Congressional Legacy Award is The Honorable U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.).

Named for the late Suellen Galbraith, who led ANCOR’s government relations work for several years before she passed away in 2015, the Suellen Galbraith Award for Excellence in Public Policy recognizes the contributions of advocates who have had a significant impact on advancing the association’s public policy agenda in the past year. Two outstanding advocates are being recognized with this year’s honor: Ann Hardiman, chief innovation officer for the New York Alliance for Inclusion & Innovation in Albany, N.Y., and Lynne Megan, president and chief executive officer for TSE, Inc., in Roseville, Minn.

Named for a long-time disability services professional known for her work to cultivate a national network of statewide disability service provider associations, the Diane McComb State Association Star Award recognizes the contributions of a state provider association leader to service delivery transformation. The recipient of the 2021 Diane McComb State Association Star Award is Shelly Chandler, chief executive officer of the Iowa Association of Community Providers in Des Moines, Iowa.

Finally, named for an early pioneer in the field who continues to serve as chief executive for a leading provider organization (OHI in Hermon, Maine), the Bonnie-Jean Brooks Rising Star Award honors emerging leaders in the field who are defining the next generation of community-based disability services. Two impressive leaders are being recognized with a 2021 Rising Star Award: Amy Staed, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Private Providers in Danville, Ky., and Christine Touvelle, director of advocacy for the Ohio Provider Resource Association in Columbus, Ohio.

Barbara Merrill, ANCOR’s chief executive officer, spoke to the association’s decision to honor Senator Casey with inaugural Congressional Legacy Award. “The very moment we began to envision something of a ‘lifetime achievement’ award, we knew ANCOR’s first-ever Congressional Legacy Award honoree just had to be Senator Casey. For the nearly decade and a half he has served in Congress, [the Senator] has been essential to the preservation of community disability services, including most recently as the architect of the $400 billion ‘Better Care Better Jobs’ proposal which, if passed, will permanently and positively transform the federal Medicaid program.”

Speaking about this year’s other award recipients, Shannon McCracken, ANCOR’s vice president for government relations, added, “It’s no coincidence that the five women we have the honor of recognizing this year not only play key leadership roles in their state provider associations, but are among the leading federal advocates in their states. From New York to Minnesota, from Iowa to Ohio, and here in my home state of Kentucky, Amy [Staed], Ann [Hardiman], Lynne [Megan], Christine [Touvelle] and Shelly [Chandler] are leaving an indelible mark, in ANCOR’s history books, but more importantly in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

The six 2021 honorees will be recognized during a virtual ceremony, “Heeding the Call to Action,” at 3:30 pm EDT on Wednesday, October 13. The ceremony is part of ANCOR’s 2021 Policy Summit, the theme for which is If Not Now, When? Developing Solutions for a Workforce in Crisis. The Summit will convene 200 policymakers, regulators, advocates, subject-matter experts and others. Members of the press interested in attending the awards ceremony or other select Policy Summit sessions should contact Sean Luechtefeld, ANCOR’s Senior Director for Communications, at [email protected].


For more than 50 years, the American Network of Community Options and Resources ( has been a leading advocate for the critical role service providers play in enriching the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). As a national nonprofit trade association, ANCOR represents 1,600+ organizations employing more than a half-million professionals who together serve more than a million individuals with I/DD. Our mission is to advance the ability of our members to support people with I/DD to fully participate in their communities.