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Universal Participation Initiative Receives LEAD® Award

Charles G. Baldwin, Program Officer

Charles Baldwin, Anita Walker, and Betty Siegel
Mass Cultural Council’s Charles Baldwin and Anita Walker with Betty Siegel, Director, Office of VSA and Accessibility at The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at the 2019 LEAD award ceremony.

In August, our Universal Participation (UP) Initiative received the 2019 LEAD Community Asset Award at the Kennedy Center’s Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®) Conference.

The Award recognizes outstanding arts leadership in the field of accessibility, demonstrating success by improving access at cultural institutions and by providing access to individuals with disabilities. Over the course of five years, the Universal Participation Initiative has stewarded a growing network of more than 60 organizations; hired more than 100 people with disabilities as speakers, consultants, teachers, panelists, and adjudicators; implemented and disbursed 40 Innovation and Learning Network stipends, 30 Innovation Grants, 10 LEAD stipends, and presented the first biennial UP Award; and facilitated creative learning workshops across the Commonwealth. This scope of work additionally recognizes the critical importance of diversity within the disability community.


We stand on the shoulders of individual activists and side-by-side with social service agencies and share this acclaim with all the partnering organizations within the Universal Participation network. Hats off to our the Institute for Human Centered Design, VSA Mass, Partners for Youth with Disabilities, National Center for Accessible Media, Cultural Access New England, the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, Disability Law Center, the New England ADA Center, and ADAPT.

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