September 24, 2020 | Issue #60
Essential Services Are More Essential Than Ever

Over the past weeks, day programs have opened for adults with disabilities. This week’s Leo Live webinar features an interview with Dan Burke, who shares several weeks of experience at Lifeworks, which opened its day services in mid-July.

Participants continue to return. Some of the barriers: transportation and space limitations. Dan talked about the daily safety protocol that Lifeworks and other agencies across the state are using to insure infection control. In addition, the team has begun outreach visits to those individuals who have not been able to come back yet. Continue reading.
The CARES Act and Charitable Giving

Earlier this year, Congress passed the CARES Act, which provides new and expanded tax incentives for charitable giving. Even if you do not itemize your income tax deductions, you can reduce your taxable income by up to $300 when you make a contribution to a nonprofit organization like The Arc of Massachusetts. If you itemize your deductions, you now can claim cash contributions up to 100 percent of your adjusted gross income on your 2020 returns; this is up from 60 percent.

Plus, if you are 70 ½ or older, you can make a contribution to The Arc directly from your IRA and completely avoid the income tax you would have paid on the withdrawal. Charitable distributions from an IRA are not eligible for a charitable tax deduction since they are exempt from income tax. The tax-free transfer lets you benefit from making a gift to The Arc of Massachusetts, even without itemizing.

Featured
DDS Releases Indoor Visitation Guidelines

On September 23, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) released indoor visitation with safeguards for congregate homes. The implementation date is October 1. Guidance can be found here.
Computer Menu
Department of Public Health (DPH) Survey on COVID-19 Impact
Individuals and families are asked to please respond to this state public health survey. The results of the survey will influence future responses to COVID-19. Share how COVID-19 has affected your life. The front page of this survey link has a number of languages with which to begin responding. For agencies that are interested in contributing to the survey, here are files to use if you wish to communicate in one of the other languages offered.
Webinars
On Monday, Vinfen CEO Bruce Bird will join Leo to discuss the $4.9m MGH contract in which Vinfen is a collaborator. The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) award provides 2 years to evaluate and improve practices in DMH and DDS congregate care settings to reduce the effects of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Bruce and Leo will talk about MGH's award, lessons learned from the COVID-19 experience, and priorities today.
On Tuesday, join Kerry and Randi Sargent for Talking Mats. Planning for your loved one with communication and intellectual disabilities can be difficult if they can't reply to abstract ideas. The webinar will provide an overview of a research-based communication technique from the UK called Talking Mats. Talking Mats enables individuals of any age and disability to make choices about their well-being using pictures. Register for this presentation here.
I Did It My Way! From Day Services to Individualized Supports
Learn from a group of self-advocates and their families on how they transformed their traditional day services into individualized support. Presenters will provide discussion of the before and after, how they decided the right supports, and funding sources utilized. Register for this presentation here.
Miscellaneous
  • For those celebrating Yom Kippur, we wish you a good holy day, Yom Tov.
  • The Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council is requesting input on their state plan. The survey can be completed in English and in Spanish.
  • Vinfen’s Annual Celebration of Family Partnerships is back for its 13th year. The event honors the partnerships between family members, staff, and the people served at Vinfen. This year’s virtual event will be held on Tuesday, October 27, Wednesday, October 28, and Thursday, October 29, daily, at 6PM. Hosted by Susan Wornick, the multi-day event will include special guests, family and staff spotlights, and exciting new features including the unveiling of a commissioned work of art by renowned Gateway Arts artist Ruby Pearl.
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The work of The Arc of Massachusetts is made possible by generous donations from people like you, friend. None of our advocacy, education, and outreach would be possible without your continued support. Please consider giving today.