Gigi’s Playhouse: Providing a Welcoming Community Space for Individuals Living with Down Syndrome in Western New York

A former beauty school in Buffalo is now a lively gathering place for people with Down syndrome and their families. The spacious, welcoming site is GiGi’s Playhouse Buffalo, a local organization connected to the GiGi’s Playhouse national network of 51 Down syndrome Achievement Centers. Renovations to the space were complete and Executive Director Emily Mondschein … Continued


Team Fourteen

In early 2016, Lahey Behavioral Health (now Beth Israel Lahey Behavioral Services) was looking to bring more family-focused counseling options to young people dealing with substance use disorders in Essex County.  Community-level data suggested that as many as 28% of patients in treatment were under the age of 25.   Young people leaving treatment (residential or … Continued


ACHIEVE Program

Villa Maria College, a private Catholic college, is known for having the highest percentage of students with a learning disability among all Buffalo-area colleges.  But the college has seen these students struggle to succeed academically.  The retention rate for students with learning disabilities was only 59%.  While colleges are required by law to provide supports … Continued


Helping Young People Achieve Their Goals: Center for Self-Advocacy

Transitioning to adulthood is a challenge for many young people. This challenge is further heightened for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) as they move from children to adult services. Studies show that individuals with ID are more likely to have poorer post school outcomes relative to their peers without disabilities. Recently, the Tower Foundation provided … Continued


LDA Builds Parents’ Confidence in Advocacy Skills

2018 marked the end of a three-year grant to the Learning Disabilities Association of Western New York (“LDA”) for its Equitable Education Advocacy Program, which helps parents build their capacity to advocate for a child with a learning disability. Parents are often not sure what kinds of accommodations can help their child succeed in school, … Continued

The phrases "Join the Conversation" and "Let's Talk Stigma" on either side of a microphone.


Join the Conversation: An Anti-Stigma Campaign

Back in the fall of 2015, a coalition of Erie County-based behavioral health providers, agencies, and funders began to take shape. The group, coming together as the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition, dedicated itself to addressing the negative perceptions that so many continue to have about mental health challenges and people who deal with these challenges. … Continued

Two pictures-2 smiling girls sitting working on lessons and then group shot of boys and teacher working through problems


Building Capacity to Adopt New Curriculum

The Research Institute for Learning and Development (ResearchILD) was granted $205,000 in 2016 to build a robust, school-wide approach to implementing an Executive Function (EF) curriculum in Saugus, Massachusetts at the Belmonte Middle School. ResearchILD is a nonprofit located just outside of Essex County in Lexington, that designs, implements, and evaluates programs that strengthen EF … Continued

Six girls standing at rail overlooking water, backs toward camera, looking into water


Restoring a Long-Lost Language

The Wôpanâak Nation seizes an opportunity to use words for good   Finding the right words to express yourself in the face of stress can be difficult enough. But not having the actual words to describe the experience in the language of your culture can be even harder. For the Wôpanâak Nation in Mashpee, Massachusetts, … Continued

Boys running on basketball court, one boy going for ball


Unifying Students Through Sports

Special Olympics of Massachusetts (SOMA) connects young people with disabilities to sports and activities designed to build their skills, confidence, and social connections. The Tower Foundation is a longtime supporter of SOMA’s work on the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, and it seemed only natural for the Foundation to support additional efforts in Essex County. … Continued


Caring for Moms-To-Be With Substance Use Disorders

Catholic Health steps in on the opioid epidemic   Women with substance use disorders come from all walks of life. The disorder does not discriminate and can be hard to identify. This can make neonatal care difficult for doctors and nurses who unfortunately aren’t able to identify a patient with the disorder before it’s too … Continued