For the first time, we are happy to share some of the stories behind the Fund’s grants (with permission from grantees).
Rayn is an autistic person with multiple other disabilities who lives in California (US), and received a grant to help with debt relief from bills.
Angel received a grant to help with food after they had their food stamps taken away, and electric and gas bills that they fell behind on.
“I’m a poet and author desperately trying to create and survive at the same time.”Angel McCorkle
Mason and Raquel McAfee
Mason and Raquel are autistic siblings who live in Missouri (US). They received a grant to help pay for clothing and food.
LaLa lives in Massachusetts (US), and received a grant to help pay for treatment for fibromyalgia, therapy and psychiatrist appointments, transportation to and from school/work/appointments, winter clothing and shoes, food, and hygiene products, all of which they have struggled with immensely as a multiply-disabled person.
Shamiir lives in Ontario (Canada), and received a grant to help with adaptive equipment or augmentative/alternative communication device, clothing, and medical or mental health expenses.
Brianna lives in Utah (US) and received a grant to help pay for school-related costs, as they began a new program in January 2020. Brianna already has three associate’s degrees, and is now seeking a Bachelor’s in Psychology and later a doctorate of psychology. They plan to focus on providing cognitive therapy and dialectical therapy to adult clients.
“I have been able to overcome the social difficulties of adulthood through the Roller Derby community. Roller derby became a special interest of mine 6 years ago, and I attribute most of my newly found social and coping skills to this community.”Brianna Manzanares
Lauren lives in Maryland (US), and received a grant to help with books for the Fall 2019 semester of college as she began classes.
Jocelyn lives in California (US), and received a grant to print zines, get a monthly buss pass, help with my school fees, pay for my medications, and record their band’s first demo.
“I am a queer xicanx Zine maker, environmental social justice activist, artist, punk musician, and a film student at MSMU with Autism. I have been very behind on my creative endeavors since I’ve been unemployed and have been surviving off odd jobs for a while now. It’s been hard for me since I had to sacrifice my creative projects so I can simply eat and have a roof over my head. “Jocelyn Moguel
Eunisha Y. Emerson
Eunisha lives in Missouri (US), and received a grant to help pay a shut-off electricity bill.
“After discovering that my youngest son is on the spectrum (Asperger’s) his therapists suggested that I get some testing done as well. Watching him have similar struggles as two of my older children and myself was hard, but also a revelation. Now that we know our differences from ‘mainstream’ society, it is not always easier to navigate in the big wife world- but now (for the most part) we know what works best for us. I was diagnosed with ADHD at 46 ( my children have ADHD as well) which I am working on every day to control.”Eunisha Y. Emerson
Lennée lives in Washington (US), and received a grant to help pay for travel for her and her kid (who she raises as a single mom) to Chicago for a national poetry slam, since she was the Olympia People’s Mic Poetry Grand Slam Champion. She also organized the second annual Olympia Witches March for Unity and Solidarity.
Naakai Dzole Addy
Naakai lives in California (US), and received a grant to pay for application fees to Master’s of Fine Arts programs in writing. She has been underemployed as a part-time freelance writer and editor, and has been staying with friends and family because of unstable housing.
I received my autism diagnosis later in life, but am very grateful for the clarity. I always struggled to keep full-time work not because of my competence at my job, but because of my difficulty navigating its social requirements. […] I was pushed out of a job for reporting racism, and I believe that the way my autistic traits presented in that office exacerbated the bullying and mistreatment I was subjected to there. My hope is to get a scholarship to an MFA program, find work that is better suited to my natural disposition, and rebuild my life in an environment that celebrates neurodiversity.Naakai Dzole Addy
Visit Naakai’s portfolio.
Heather lives in Maine (US), and received a grant to help pay for a weaving workshop.
I plan to use the funds toward a weaving workshop at Haystack Mountain School of Craft with Cynthia Alberto. I am a queer Peruvian-American performer & transdisciplinary artist who works with intuitive movement, installation, printmaking, fiber, Instagram and food. I draw the content of my work from my maternal heritage, bridging my own hybridized culture with traditional Peruvian culture. I believe taking Cynthia’s workshop would be transformative and would allow me to dive deeper into my practice. She teaches traditional and contemporary weaving techniques while looking at indigenous cultures for inspiration. I am seeking to learn more skills from my ancestors to be able to tell my story.Heather C.
Nazanin Afshar Szanto
Nazanin lives in California (US), and received a grant to help with rent and treat themself after leaving a job where they were working over 60 hours a week, which was completely unsustainable as a multiply disabled and chronically ill person.
“The reason I left my job is because it was a case of life or death, legitimately. […] Ever since then I have been trying to survive month to month by working odd jobs and doing healing work (which isn’t valued enough.)”Nazanin Afshar Szanto
Xhey lives in Pennsylvania (US), and received a grant to reincorporate art, exercise and getting outside as healthy practices in their life. They are the only income earner of a household of two autistic adults, and despite being multiply disabled themself, must fill their time with teaching, research, and service to receive their stipend. Their grant went toward a new laptop charger, art supplies to do their own art therapy at home, new clothing and shoes, supplies for body butters, winter shoes and a sweater for their emotional support animal, and a good pillow.
“I consider myself a creative and I plan to incorporate my art into a dissertation about living with disabilities in higher education while black, trans nonbinary, and a survivor so the supplies in particular could help me launch myself into a career that will earn me a living family wage for the first time when I graduate. […] This grant would be the difference between acruing more debt and momentary relaxation.”Xhey Evans-El
Jamie lives in Missouri (US), and received a grant to help him pay for food (since he was primarily living out of a campus food pantry), medications and psychiatry appointments, winter clothing, and mandatory health insurance payments.
“I love math, calligraphy, reading, ballet (I’m currently a scholarship student at Springfield ballet and dance around 15h a week), rock climbing, have 3 kittens, if money wasn’t an object (I owe a ton due to loans I took to cover my first year of undergrad) I’d love to open a small ‘school’ to provide high quality personalised education to autistic and neurodivergent children who are from underrepresented demographics and wouldn’t otherwise have access to anything like it and spend the rest of my time dancing, cuddling kittens, running a bookstore and doing math research.”Jamie Cayley
Ikie Jahmai Lambert
Jahmai lives in Kentucky (US), and received a grant to help pay for an iPad for communication.
Sharon, Keaten, Amerin, MiTrell, and Mitrae
Sharon, Keaten, Amerin, MiTrell, and Mitrae are an all-autistic African American and Native descended family living in Minnesota (US), and received a grant to help pay for food and winter coats. Sharon is raising her children without being able to work due to PTSD, and without transportation to get to the nearest food pantries.
“It’s just really hard times. And scary situations . On top of my mental health raising four amazing young bi racial young men with learning disabilities and many diognosis . It can be a struggle but we make it through each day a little bit stronger trying to break the cycle”Sharon
Noemi lives in Texas (US), and received a grant for artistic and cultural pursuits, and for medical or mental health expenses.
Deion is an autistic young adult with intellectual disabilities who lives in Washington, DC (US), and received a grant to help create pins based on his art for autism awareness. He recently finished school with a non-diploma certificate, and is currently enrolled in an art program. He is planning to start his own business so he can use his strengths.
Greyson lives in Tennessee (US), and received a grant to help pay for his daily lunches.
Chevone lives in West Cape (South Africa), and received a grant to help with school-related expenses and driving lessons.
“I love writing and have 2 novels that I hope to have professionally edited one day. The one is fiction and the other a memoir of 11 days in my life.”Chevone Petersen