IndyBar: Indiana Disability Rights Named 2022 Community Empowerment Fund Grant Recipient

Advanced directives are essential tools for ensuring one’s wishes for medical and end-of-life treatment are known. Unfortunately, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities are often overlooked in discussions surrounding advanced directives. Thanks to a $35,000 grant from the Indianapolis Bar Foundation, a new program from Indiana Disability Rights will empower these individuals to make their important end-of-life choices known.

With education and assistance, many people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) can state their preferences, but no accessible or appropriate materials or trainings currently exist. As the 2022 Indianapolis Bar Foundation Community Empowerment Grant recipient, Indiana Disability Rights will create an accessible advanced directives toolkit for this population that includes plain language information about advanced directives options and sample legal forms with step-by-step guides on how to complete and use them. The toolkit will be available in English, Spanish, large-print and American Sign Language and will be accessed through the Indiana Disability Rights website at in.gov/idr.

Following development of the toolkit, workshops throughout central Indiana will be held to help individuals with I/DD get assistance with understanding and completing the forms, along with having forms notarized. Indianapolis Bar Association members will have the opportunity to serve as volunteers during these workshops, which will be held at events largely attended by individuals with I/DD.

About the Indianapolis Bar Foundation and the Community Empowerment Fund

The Community Empowerment Fund (originally known as the Impact Fund) began in 2011 as a vehicle to maximize the financial generosity of Indianapolis Bar Foundation donors and to provide members of the Indianapolis Bar Association with compelling opportunities to donate their time through pro bono service. Since its inception, more than $380,000 has been awarded through the fund to organizations like Reach for Youth, the Center for Victim and Human Rights, Kids’ Voice of Indiana, Indy Reads, Peace Learning Center, the Joseph Maley Foundation, Indiana Legal Services Inc ., and the Health and Human Rights Clinic at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in an effort to provide a significant positive impact in central Indiana through the promotion of access to justice for indigent persons.

The Community Empowerment Fund is an important tool in the foundation’s efforts to fulfill its mission: to advance justice and lead positive change in Indianapolis through philanthropy, education and service. In addition to the Impact Fund, the Indianapolis Bar Foundation grants $105,000 each year to a variety of community service programs co-sponsored with the Indianapolis Bar Association.

About Indiana Disability Rights

Indiana Disability Rights (IDR) is the service arm of the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS) Commission. IDR operates as an independent state agency, operating under nine federally-funded protection and advocacy grant programs. The mission of IDR is to uphold, promote and advance the rights of individuals with disabilities through empowerment and advocacy to achieve a more equitable society.•

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