The Gingrich Foundation is proud to announce Easter Seals as its June Charity of the Month, in recognition of the important services it provides to Americans with a variety of special needs.
Easter Seals has worked to improve the lives of those with disabilities for more than 90 years. It was founded by Ohio Businessman Edgar Allen, who established a hospital after the death of his son in a streetcar accident. His work there brought him face to face with the lack of support for children with disabilities. In 1919, Allen founded the National Society for Crippled Children to help address their unique challenges.
Fifteen years later, the society launched an Easter fundraising campaign in which donors purchased “seals” featuring a lily for letters and envelopes. The initiative took off, sparking a tide of awareness across the country about Americans with disabilities. With this increased attention, the organization expanded its mission nationwide, and its “seal” campaign was so identified with these efforts that in 1967, it officially changed its name to “Easter Seals.”
Today, Easter Seals has grown to an international organization supporting individuals with a variety of disabilities and serving more than one million people each year. Through its network of more than 550 sites in the United States, Easter Seals offers childcare for those with special needs, with careful attention to each child’s learning and development. For school-aged children and adults, Easter Seals provides several support programs, including outpatient therapy and a school to work transition program, in addition to its adult day care, in-home, and workplace services.
Easter Seals was instrumental in developing and passing the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. Because those with disabilities have needs that often go unseen, the law makes important accommodations in public places and services. In addition, it provides that individuals may not be discriminated against in employment situations due to disability, just as they may not be due to race or gender. For the millions of disabled Americans who work to help support themselves, Easter Seals’ efforts on their behalf made a big difference.
After more than a decade of American service members at war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Easter Seals is responding to the mounting physical and mental disability challenges of soldiers attempting to transition back to civilian life. Since many families are welcoming home veterans who bring needs they did not have before their military service, Easter Seals, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, offers training support services for caregivers. And as one of America’s largest disability services organizations, Easter Seals is on the front line of assistance for many of our disabled returning veterans.
Easter Seals does critical work to aid more than a million Americans with special needs. Please join us in supporting its efforts today.