It is estimated that between 7 and 8 million Americans of all ages, or three percent of the general population, experience intellectual disabilities. Nearly 30 million, or one in ten families in the United States, are directly affected by a person with intellectual disabilities at some point in their lifetime.
The Columbian Foundation Supporting People with Intellectual Disabilities, Inc. (the Foundation) has as its mission to promote and provide financial support to IRS 50 l (c)(3) organizations providing care and activities for people with intellectual disabilities. This often overlooked and marginalized portion of society often has difficulty in communicating and advocating needs. People with intellectual disabilities learn and process information more slowly, and have difficulty with abstract concepts such as money, time and the subtleties of interpersonal interactions. They may also suffer from autism or sensory impairments or be physically disabled.
It is important the care, safety and quality of life for these individuals be assured and tailored to their individual needs. It is also important opportunities be provided to interact with the general public, and methods be devised to raise and maintain their self- esteem. To the extent possible, they should be empowered to be independent and involved in their community. The foundation does this with the help of participating Knights of Columbus Councils through cash grants to schools, residential care facilities, work training centers, summer camps and Special Olympics. In the 25 years the Foundation has been in existence, over $16,400,000 has been raised for organizations serving those with intellectual disabilities. Social Justice – if we don’t do it, Who Will?
The Foundation Board is composed of 19 members, holding formal meetings at least twice within a fiscal year. In addition, the Foundation submits semi- annual reports to the Knights of Columbus California State Council, and over 600 Knights of Columbus councils in the State of California. These reports are the vehicle through which information is provided to state, regional and local leadership regarding participation and issues pertaining to those with intellectual disabilities.
- Name:Ben Byrne