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Press Release - 10.11.22

Two Members of Congress Among Honorees for ANCOR’s 2022 Excellence in Public Policy Awards

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Awards recognize leading professionals, organizations dedicated to inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – ANCOR, the leading voice in Washington for providers of community-based services that empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to live and work in the community, announced today the recipients of its 2022 Excellence in Public Policy Awards. Honorees will be recognized in a ceremony to take place in Washington, D.C., at the association’s 2022 Policy Summit & Hill Day.

In all, one organization and seven individuals, including two members of Congress, are being recognized with ANCOR’s annual honors. Honorees are being recognized in five categories: (1) the Congressional Champion Award, (2) the Suellen Galbraith Award for Excellence in Public Policy, (3) the Diane McComb State Association Star Award, (4) the Bonnie-Jean Brooks Rising Star Award, and (5) the Grassroots Star Award.

ANCOR’s Congressional Champion Award is bestowed each year to recognize one or more elected officials who have played a substantial role in the lives of people with I/DD by supporting legislation that improves access to high-quality disability services. This year, ANCOR celebrates two recipients of the 2022 Congressional Champion Award: Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01).

Named for a public policy professional who served for several years as ANCOR’s Vice President of Government Relations before her untimely death in 2015, the Suellen Galbraith Award for Excellence in Public Policy recognizes the contributions of advocates who have had a significant impact on advancing ANCOR’s public policy agenda in the past year. Two outstanding advocates are being recognized with this year’s honor: G. N. Janes, executive director of Valley Community Services in Mt. Pleasant, Penn., and Amy Brooks, chief executive officer for RCM of Washington, in Washington, D.C.

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 role of a state provider association leader in transforming the delivery of I/DD services. The recipient of the 2022 Diane McComb State Association Star Award is Kathy Carmody, chief executive officer of the Chicago-based Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities.

The Bonnie-Jean Brooks Rising Star Award is named for a pioneer in the field who continues to insist on more inclusive services for people with I/DD, even after her retirement in 2021. The Award honors emerging leaders in the field who are defining the next generation of community-based disability services. The two leaders being recognized with this award in 2022 are Kelly Jepson, director of government relations for Louisville, Ky.-based BrightSpring Health Services, and Barry Simon, president and chief executive officer for Oak Hill in Hartford, Conn.

Finally, the Grassroots Star Award is a brand-new category this year. Established to recognize the contributions of a community-based I/DD provider organization to a grassroots advocacy effort that has the potential to substantially improve the public policy landscape for home- and community-based services and the people who accept them, 2022 is the first year in which this honor will be awarded. The inaugural recipient of ANCOR’s Grassroots Star Award is Milton, W. Va.-based Unlimited PossAbilities. Under the leadership of co-founder and chief executive officer Sarah Mariani, Unlimited PossAbilities is being honored for the significant work it did to raise awareness about home- and community-based services as members of Congress and the White House sought to advance the Inflation Reduction Act.

“For the past year, ANCOR members have been at the forefront of an effort to encourage Congress to pass an historic investment in the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services program,” said Barbara Merrill, chief executive officer for ANCOR. “Although the Inflation Reduction Act ultimately did not include badly needed funding for community-based services, our collective advocacy effort nevertheless accomplished so much. More than ever before, members of Congress understand, value and appreciate the role of providers in strengthening communities and championing inclusion. And frankly, none of that would have been possible absent the contributions of the outstanding organizations, individuals and lawmakers we are fortunate to honor this year.”

The recipients of ANCOR’s 2022 Excellence in Public Policy Awards will be recognized during an awards luncheon on Tuesday, October 11, 2022. The ceremony is part of ANCOR’s 2022 Policy Summit & Hill Day, taking place at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill (400 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.). 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].

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For more than 50 years, the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ancor.org) 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 nearly 2,000 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.