Dear Mr. Benjamin,
As a native Minnesotan and, more importantly, the Funding Services Coordinator for the Iowa Program for Assistive Technology, I always read Access Press with great interest and enjoyment. Today, however, I am writing to point out an error in a recent article. The article “Rising to the Challenge,” about Kevin Sullivan, mentions the Jonathan Lindbergh Brown Grant, and describes it as a grant “which focuses on adaptive technology …” and then goes on to describe how he bought a van with the grant.
The major focus of my job is to identify sources of funding for assistive technology and make that information available to Iowans. At the Lindbergh Foundation site, I reviewed the description of the grants (It is: “We are interested in funding a variety of innovative research and educational projects which focus on the Lindbergh’s vision of balance between the advance of technology and preservation of the natural/human environment.”). While it is true that assistive technology is listed as a sub-category (of “education: health”), I was concerned that your readers would think these grants are a source of funding for equipment for individuals. They’re not. A review of past grants makes it clear they are for research and education projects. People search so long and hard for sources of private funding for A.T., for vans especially, (and there are hardly any) that it would be a mistake for anyone to think this was such a source.
It was a good article, otherwise.
Thanks for your paper.
Funding Services Coordinator
Iowa Program for Assistive Technology
Ms. Britton –
Access Press thanks you for your interest in the paper and for your letter. Your thinking is right-on! The Lindbergh Grant is not intended to be used for individual funding for assistive technology. However, Kevin was one of the first recipients of this grant.His usage of the grant monies awarded him was allowable then, where today, stricter demands on how the money is to be spent would be attached to any grant given to any individual or institution. Thanks again for keeping us on our toes.