Mark Hassemer

Mark Hassemer

Dear Friends of ACT,

I want to say thank you and give special recognition to ACT’s Board of Directors.

We don’t say it enough. The work they do matters. Believe me, they are not a rubber stamp Board that blesses every idea I come up with.

They are engaged in the hard work of guiding and directing this company called ACT. And they are digging in to solve problems in our community, our organization, and in the lives of people with disabilities.

Thank you, Chuck Collins, Aron Cowsert, Don Howser, Rez Farid, Darren Hellwege, Myles Hinkel, Susan Goldammer, Lyle Johnson, Bob Schaal, Lisa Tye, and Trish Wallace.

As I look back on the past year, I am aware that these leaders in our community have stepped up in a new way and taken on emerging challenges that we simply didn’t face several years ago.

They’ve had to work harder and offer more of their time as we’ve faced new roadblocks and opportunities:

  • Medicaid Waiver definition changes
  • Transition from ACT Works to Job Preparation services
  • Ending recycling operations and efforts to sell that business
  • Our 40th anniversary events
  • New fundraising efforts through, and, of course
  • Rebasing

The investment these folks have made on the rebasing issue alone is truly remarkable.

Please accept our gratitude and acknowledgement of your service and contribution.

Since I mentioned rebasing, I’ll give a quick update.

The Governor’s proposed budget included funds to support rebasing. Missouri’s House of Representatives passed the Department of Mental Health’s appropriations bill with the Governor’s proposed funding intact, plus an additional $8 million. Now the Senate will take up appropriations with an eye toward passing it in April. Once it lands on Gov. Nixon’s desk, he’ll have 15 days to either sign or veto.

The stakes are high. I am optimistic, but cautious. I’m confident, but concerned that nearly anything can happen as the legislative session nears its final day on May 13th.

Why does all of this matter?

It’s the people we serve, of course. You read their stories, their joys and concerns, their victories and setbacks in every issue of this newsletter.

People who thought they could never be employed are now working in jobs in the community, earning a living. People are living with supports in the homes of their choice in the community, not hidden in an institution.

People are active and involved in the community, volunteering, serving, shopping, learning, recreating, and contributing, rather than being isolated. People are overcoming behavioral challenges that limited their interactions with others. People are reaching new levels of independence and autonomy with daily living services and aids tailored to their specific desires and needs.

It’s the people. They matter. They belong. They’re included.

Until next month,