Charity of the Month: Easterseals

The Gingrich Foundation

This June, the Gingrich Foundation is proud to designate Easterseals as its Charity of the Month for the organization’s important work in helping disabled Americans live meaningful and productive lives.

Easterseals was founded more than 100 years ago with the mission of improving the lives of those with special needs.  Pioneered by businessman Edgar Allen, the organization began as a hospital that was established following the death of Mr. Allen’s son in a streetcar accident.  His son’s long recovery highlighted the severe lack of support for children with disabilities.  This experience led Mr. Allen to establish the National Society for Crippled Children in 1919, to help address these unique challenges.

More than a decade later, the society launched an Easter fundraising campaign in which donors purchased envelope “seals” featuring a lily.  The popularity of the seals helped to spark a wave of awareness and support across the country for Americans with disabilities.  The increased attention allowed the organization to expand its efforts nationwide.  The “seal” campaign became so recognizable that, in 1967, the name was officially changed to “Easterseals.”

Since then, Easterseals has developed into an international organization supporting individuals with a variety of disabilities, helping more than 1.5 million people each year.  Through its network of 69 affiliates in the United States, Easterseals offers childcare for those with special needs and gives special attention to each child’s learning and development.  Easterseals provides adult day care, in-home and workplace services, and several support programs, including outpatient therapy and a school-to-work transition program.

The impact of Easterseals has been felt across the nation, and most notably through the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed under President George H. W. Bush in 1990.  Easterseals helped develop and lobby for this historic law, which ensures that vital public accommodations and services are made available for those with disabilities of all kinds.  Moreover, the law protects individuals from being discriminated against in academic and employment situations due to disability.

Easterseals’ efforts have made a profound positive impact on the millions of disabled Americans who work to support themselves and pursue lives free of discrimination.

Easterseals also supports American service members who have fought in recent conflicts.  Veterans and caregivers can receive help and training to overcome physical and mental disabilities and successfully transition back to civilian life.

This June, we hope you will join the Gingrich Foundation in supporting Easterseals.