The Larry Biondi Fellowship for Radical Thought & Action
Please consider a Year-End Donation to the Larry Biondi Fellowship for Radical Thought & Action
Progress Center, in partnership with Chicago ADAPT, proudly announces the Larry Biondi Fellowship’s inaugural fundraising drive. We are setting an ambitious goal of $20,000 to underwrite the stipends and expenses of three Fellowship recipients in the 2023-24 class.
The Larry Biondi Fellowship was created to deepen the impact and expand the capacity of the partnership by supporting innovative projects led by diversely talented individuals. Their work carries on the legacy of Larry Biondi, a disability-rights advocate whose lifetime of work advanced some of the movement’s most crucial efforts and victories, including passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, accessibility on public transit in Chicago, community integration through closure of state institutions, and equitable healthcare for the disabled and non-disabled. Larry, who was a dedicated employee of Progress Center for 28 years and a member of Chicago ADAPT for most of its 38-year history, died in June of 2021.
Larry Biondi Fellowship projects will support a broad array of the Partnership objectives, including building community outreach, developing and promoting forward thinking policies, coordinating direct actions, building innovative communications tools, expanding social media presence, and other areas that advance disability justice and equity.
The first Fellowship Request for Proposals will be published in early 2023, and the inaugural class of Fellows will begin their projects throughout 2023 and 2024.
We are grateful to announce that an anonymous donor created a $5,000 Match. This generous donor will match the first $5,000 in donations made between December 30, 2022 and January 31, 2023.
To donate, visit this link: Donate Now to the Larry Biondi Fellowship
About Larry Biondi
Larry worked at Progress Center for 28 years. As the Advocacy Manager, Larry led the Progress Center Community Organizers, and he developed and implemented strategies to improve housing, transportation, public access and health care for the disability community. Larry also was well known for Progress Center’s Legislative Training Course. Larry and his team offered the course twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. The course met once a week over the course of ten weeks, culminating in a trip to Springfield, where students from the course met with Illinois State Politicians and their staff, and applied the skills they learned during the training.
Larry put in just as many hours with Chicago ADAPT, a grass roots disability advocacy organization, and with National ADAPT. Larry went to hundreds of local and national ADAPT demonstrations, participating in civil disobedience when local, regional, and national entities failed to recognize the needs and rights of people with disabilities.
A person with a disability, Larry hired and managed his own personal assistants. The personal assistants provided support with essential tasks like getting out of bed, bathing, dressing, cleaning, cooking and eating. Perhaps as much as anyone else, Larry knew the essential link between accommodations and independence and inclusion for people with disabilities. Understanding that link, Larry never stopped fighting to strengthen and build systems of community services so that all people with disabilities had the opportunity to access services and live independently.
At the front end of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Larry actively engaged in two new coalitions, and remained committed to the coalitions throughout the pandemic. As a member of the PPE for People with Disabilities Coalition, Larry joined the effort to ensure that people with disabilities in Chicagoland and their personal assistants had access to personal protective equipment. With the Institutional Rescue and Recovery Coalition, Larry advocated for residents of long-term facilities, who suffered an alarming mortality rate during the Covid-19 crisis.
To further Larry’s legacy, and to support the Larry Biondi Fellowship for Radical Thought & Action, please consider a donation. To donate, visit this link: Larry Biondi Fellowship for Radical Thought and Action