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Inaugural Arc Tank awards grants to three projects

Three nonprofits earned grants from Providers’ Council member Northeast Arc to pilot innovative programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) during the finals of the inaugural The Arc Tank competition on Nov. 15 at the John. F. Kennedy Library in Boston.

The Arc Tank, a competition based on the popular Shark Tank television show and funded through NEArc’s Changing Lives Fund, sought innovative ideas to bring positive disruption to disability services for which they could be awarded a grant of up to $200,000. Seven finalists were chosen from more than 100 entries received from individuals and organizations across the country and presented their ideas to a panel of six judges that determined the awards.

Grants were awarded to Northampton-based Center for Public Representation for Disrupting the Guardianship Pipeline: The Massachusetts Supported Decision-Making Incubator, $85,000; UMass Medical School’s Pathways to Inclusive Healthcare Program, $80,000; and YMCA’s Y’s Water Wise program for children on the autism spectrum, $30,000.

Another 48 submissions, including nine from Providers’ Council member organizations, were placed in The Arc Tank “Holding Tank,” for attendees of the competition to learn more about the ideas or pursue them separately by contacting the lead applicant. They may also resubmit the ideas for next year’s planned competition. Council members with acknowledged “Holding Tank” ideas are Bridgewell, Cardinal Cushing Centers, HMEA, May Institute (three), Advocates, Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) and WORK Inc.

The Arc Tank judges were Matthew Kennedy of Kennedy Merchant Partners; journalist Shirley Leung; Quincy Miller, President and Vice Chairman of Eastern Bank; Matthew Millett, of the Department of Youth Services; Mike Roberts, retired Harvard Business School faculty member; and EOHHS Secretary Marylou Sudders. The Providers’ Council was a Community Partner for this event.