Thanks to a generous grant support from Hollister, Inc., this past year United Spinal Association and its national chapter and peer support network were able to empower thousands of people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D) across the country to regain their quality of life and independence.

The grants ensure our members are connected to strong resources and support so that they can continue to be productive members of their communities.

“Many wheelchair users want to be active, socialize and seek out new opportunities. But it can be difficult to find the right fit. Our chapters and peer support groups open the door to it all and can make a huge difference in someone’s outlook on life,” said Lindsey Elliott, MSW, Director of Member Initiatives at United Spinal.

Although United Spinal’s chapters and peer support groups utilized the grant support in a variety of ways, the outcome was similar; it changed lives for the better. And that’s always been the goal.

Since 2013, this program has distributed 227 support grants to United Spinal chapter and peer support groups.

Grant Support Highlights

Here are just a few ways Hollister-funded grants made a positive difference in our community in 2019.

SCI Network Metro DC–The grant funds were used to help fund transportation to group activities as well as cover costs for food, tickets and registration for different activities. Without the funds the underserved community wouldn’t have had access due to the lack of transportation options.

Spinal Cord Injury Association of Connecticut–The grant funds provided healthy meals, snacks and water at different support groups.

United Spinal Association Northeast Ohio Chapter–The chapter plans events, such as Cleveland Indians games, Cleveland Cavalier games, Playhouse Square Theatre tickets and Blossom Outdoor Music Arena for the Cleveland Orchestra. Tickets to these events are provided to our members free of charge, to allow opportunities to get out into our community.

United Spinal San Francisco Bay Area Chapter–The chapter used the funds for its annual Berkeley holiday party which doubled as a send-off for its Chapter Leader Matthew Tilford as he starts a new chapter of his life in Salt Lake City.

Individual Abilities in Motion- I AM–The funding that the chapter received from the grant helped it put together its very popular ‘Friends and Family Picnic’. The event provides a great mix of both social and adventure aspects through the relaxed picnic atmosphere along with the fun and freedom of kayaking. Not only does it positively impact those with SCI/D, but it is a great way for family and friends to connect with each other. it to continue to offer that opportunity.

Greater Kansas City Spinal Cord Injury Association–The chapter hosted a night of food, entertainment, and camaraderie for its members and their families. including an appetizer buffet, open pool tables, shuffleboard tables, and two hours of free play in the arcade for each member and their family members. It also provided transportation for a family who would not have been able to attend this event otherwise.

United Spinal Arkansas Chapter–The chapter hosted an adaptive bowling event. It also provided food and drinks.

United Association of Tennessee–The chapter participated in Camp United, a disability sports event held at its local YMCA

Madison SCI Inc.–Participants engaged in mentoring, peer/mentor training and suggestions on a pontoon boat with an enclosed shelter on it in case of rain. It also helped the chapter host a summer picnic and member meeting.

South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association–The grant helped our chapter host peer support group move screenings, as well as better understand the current needs of these groups—namely coming up with innovative ideas to build and sustain the number of group members. It is also pushed the chapter to start sending out more communication like surveys to get more regular feedback from group leaders and members alike.

Louisiana Chapter United Spinal Association–The chapter hosted a “Connections Circle” event for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). The even t included a guest speaker with an SCI that gave an inspirational/motivational talk followed by an evening of bowling, refreshments and fellowship.

Iowa Chapter of United Spinal Association–The chapter hosted its Annual Bowling Event, with a record-breaking 54 people in attendance.

Spinal Network, A Chapter of United Spinal Association–The grant allowed the chapter to conduct two informative workshops, an event to celebrate the International Day of People with Disabilities and two Interabled Couples support group meetings. It also helped the chapter impact the lives of many individuals with disabilities in San Diego county, individuals that it may not have had the opportunity to reach otherwise.

United Spinal Association Northwest Ohio Chapter–The chapter purchased tools for its educational program and marketed its group to students who could then share with the newly injured as a resource. It also printed out disability etiquette bulletins, brochures, cards, t shirts and a banner to for outreach purposes.

Oklahoma Chapter of the United Spinal Association–Since Oklahoma is a rural state, the chapter used the funds to support its website and provide resource information, calendar of events, and grant opportunities, as well as contact us information.

Hudson Valley Chapter of United Spinal Association–The funding was used to host an evening on the water with the Impossible Dream Sailing Organization for all the support group participants and community.

Greater Philadelphia Chapter–Our chapter hosted its 4th annual tailgate party and Phillies/Red Sox game on September 15, 2019 for which we discount the ticket price significantly out of Chapter monies.The $500 grant money enabled our chapter to extend that discount to many more people.