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“The Arc Tank” Competition Grants $200K to Winning Proposals

in Rick Rader MD, Info Blast

“The Arc Tank” Competition Grants $200K to Winning Proposals

Three Chosen from 100+ Submitted To Create New Ways to Improve the Lives of Persons with Disabilities

(From left to right: Steven P. Rosenthal Founder of Changing Lives Fund, Center for Public Representation: Bob Fleischner, Cathy Costanzo, Emily Stephens, YMCA of the North Shore: Meegan O’Neil, Pathways to Inclusive Health Care: Dr. Carol Langer, Jo Ann Simons, CEO of Northeast Arc)

(Boston) November 16, 2017. Northeast Arc announced the winners of the final round of “The Arc Tank” competition that was created to positively disrupt the conventional methods of providing services to persons with disabilities. The winners are: YMCA of the North Shore, Pathways to Inclusive Health Care and Disrupting the Guardianship Pipeline. They were selected by a panel of judges who heard their pitches at an event held yesterday at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, a partner in the initiative. The winning proposals received awards from the Changing Lives Fund that was established through a $1 million donation from Steven P. Rosenthal, founder of West Shore, LLC.

Y’s Water Wise – Submitted by the YMCA of the North Shore, Beverly, Mass., to develop “Water Wise”, a water safety program for children with ASD. According to a 2017 study, children with autism are 160 times as likely to die from drowning as other children. Children with ASD often feel anxious, and wandering, especially toward water, is one way they seek relief. The high risk of accidental drowning reaffirms the importance of teaching water safety to children with ASD. Awarded $30,000.

Pathways to Inclusive Health Care – Submitted by Dr. Carol Langer, Associate Professor at UMass Medical Center and an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health, to develop a pipeline of healthcare professionals equipped to provide quality healthcare to people with intellectual disabilities and autism. The project would focus on the precipitous transition from pediatrics to adult medicine care for this population. Awarded $80,000.

Disrupting the Guardianship Pipeline – Submitted by the Center for Public Representation of Northampton, Mass., to create a “Massachusetts Supported Decision-Making Incubator: to provide an effective alternative to guardianship which is often the only option for people with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities. Awarded $85,000.

More than 100 proposals were submitted from across the globe and throughout the U.S. by an array of inventors, engineers, human service providers, parents, college students, and persons with disabilities.

Northeast Arc is a human services organization that annually serves 9,000 children and adults from 190 Massachusetts cities and towns who have a broad range of disabilities including intellectual disabilities and autism.

“The Ark Tank will continue full steam ahead as we monitor the progress of our winning projects and hope that they achieve success so that the lives of persons with disabilities can improve through their innovative ideas,” said Jo Ann Simons, CEO of Northeast Arc. “With Steven P. Rosenthal’s vision and philanthropy, we hope to shake up the way that services are provided and lay the groundwork for even more ideas to come forward in the future.” Simons said that Northeast Arc will host another Arc Tank Competition in 2018 and will announce details early next year.

Two proposals that demonstrated innovative initiatives from young entrepreneurs but did not make it to the final round were recognized at the event and received “Outside the Tank” gifts to help them further their concepts. They are:

Shop, Drop and Roll - submitted by Andrew Holmes, a junior at Olin College in Needham, Mass., who developed a concept for a wheelchair attachment that simplifies the transport and accessibility of goods on the back of a wheelchair, allowing for increased independence and an easier traveling experience. Awarded $2,500.

The BIONIC Hand – submitted by Nathaniel Lorenz Galdamez, a student at Swampscott High School in Swampscott, Mass., who has a physical disability with his hands. Nathaniel’s idea is to create a device that could be fastened to his wrist, desk or computer to assist with tasks including the common computer command such as CTRL+ALT+DLT which he is currently unable to perform. Awarded $2,500.

Other proposals that did not make it to the final round but have worthy ideas went into “The Holding Tank,” where they will have the opportunity to be reviewed by other funders.

Panel of judges:

  • Matthew Kennedy – Founder, Kennedy Merchant Partners
  • Shirley Leung – Columnist and former Business Editor for the Boston Globe
  • Quincy Miller – President, Eastern Bank
  • Matthew Millett – Security Officer II, Department of Youth Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Mike Roberts – Recently retired Executive Director of the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School
  • Marylou Sudders – Secretary of Health & Human Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Judges received support from David Chang, an entrepreneur and active angel investor and from Rick Rader, MD, Vice President, American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry. The Master of Ceremonies for the event was T.J. Winick, former correspondent for ABC News, former news anchor and reporter at WBZ-TV and Northeast Arc board member.

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