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Hello, Friends of Kerr,

Happy July 26th! Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This milestone has transformed the lives of individuals with disabilities by making it illegal to discriminate based on disability and affording rights and protections to all people with disabilities.

July is also Disability Pride Month, an opportunity to celebrate people with disabilities, their self-determination, and their accomplishments. This month encourages us to celebrate and acknowledge differences and destigmatize disabilities as a natural part of human diversity. Join me in advocating for a society that empowers every individual to celebrate what makes them unique.

New Strategic Plan Updates Kerr’s Mission and Values
After careful deliberation and collaboration, Kerr’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to update our mission: Kerr empowers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health challenges to lead self-determined lives in their communities. At the core of everything we do are our values: compassion, partnership, advocacy, accountability, and innovation. Additionally, the Board approved an ambitious strategic plan for a greater positive impact. Stay tuned for the exciting details of our goals.

Disability Pride Fun Zone
Our July Fun Zone was extraordinary as we celebrated Disability Pride Month. Our amazing team and clients came together at Kerr Bikes & Boats for another unforgettable party on the waterfront. Moments like these remind us of the power of unity and the joy that comes from embracing inclusion.

Generous Gifts Transform Crisis Psychiatric Care for Youth
Thanks to the incredible generosity of the James and Shirley Rippey Foundation ($150,000), the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund ($100,000), and the Clark Foundation ($10,000), we received $260,000 in grants for the Unit Improvement Project at our Crisis Psychiatric Care facility. With these funds, we’re creating a more comfortable and supportive environment for the youth in our care. The makeover includes updates like soundproof ceilings, adjustable LED lighting, and refreshed bathrooms, all designed to provide a serene, calming space for youth in crisis. We cannot express enough gratitude to the Rippey Foundation and our community for helping us deliver the best care possible.

Project SEARCH Graduation
On July 13, our interns from Kerr’s Project SEARCH program at Multnomah County’s Department of County Services graduated in a ceremony with a packed room of family and friends. The interns blew the audience away with their fantastic presentations detailing the knowledge they gained during their nine-month internship. Kerr’s goal with this nationally acclaimed program is to provide employability training for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, helping them find meaningful employment in the community. Congratulations to our unstoppable interns!

Oregon Resource Association (ORA) appointment
I’m proud to announce that Albertina Kerr will have a stronger voice in advocating for services and supports benefiting people with disabilities as I’ve been elected to ORA’s Board of Directors. ORA has been the statewide voice of service providers for over 50 years, engaging with Oregon legislators and policy makers. I’m thrilled to be a part of their important work!

Housing Oregon: Exploring Kerr’s Visionary Project
In September, I’ll be a panelist and presenter at the Housing Oregon Annual Conference, sharing the impact of Kerr’s universally accessible, affordable, and sustainable housing project, Wynne Watts Commons. Housing Oregon works to ensure all Oregonians have a healthy and stable place to live. This amazing organization advocates for programs and policies to expand affordable housing on the local and state levels.

More Wynne Watts Commons Accolades
Kerr’s Wynne Watts Commons has been selected as a finalist for the Terwilliger Center Award for Innovation in Attainable Housing by the Urban Land Institute (ULI). This award recognizes unique and replicable developments that offer or preserve deeper affordability. We’re competing with seven other impressive nominees from across the country. They will announce the winner in October. Fingers crossed!

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to our shared vision. Let’s keep pushing forward and creating positive change!

Allison Stark
CEO, Albertina Kerr