Since 1991, the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) has been dedicated to helping youth with disabilities maximize their potential and participation in society by implementing National Grant and Employee Volunteer Programs in the United States. To date, MEAF has invested more than $14 million in innovative projects and employee volunteers have given an estimated 60,000 volunteer hours to promote the full inclusion of youth with disabilities. Currently, MEAF makes grants that empower youth with disabilities to lead productive lives by focusing on:
Furthermore, the MEAF Board of Directors established a new vision for the organization, to empower youth with disabilities to lead productive lives in 2011. Dubbed the M>PWR Initiative, MEAF is working to use the power of Mitsubishi Electric's philanthropy, people and products to make lasting Changes for the Better to empower youth with disabilities that are transitioning from school to the workforce.
To learn more about MEAF and its activities, please visit www.MEAF.org
By developing their leadership and self-advocacy skills, youth with disabilities will be prepared to successfully transition to adulthood and inclusive employment. Strategies MEAF has supported with recent grants include: Self-Advocacy, Service and Volunteerism, and Youth and the Environment, such as:
The I am Norm Campaign and Autistic Campus Inclusion Program are two examples of projects MEAF supports that are helping youth with disabilities develop their leadership and self-advocacy skills. Projects like these help empower youth so they are better prepared to enter the workforce after graduation.
The Corps Network's Inclusive Crew Model, which provides tools to national service and volunteer programs, such as Americorps, so youth with disabilities can work in the nation's parks and forests where they gain an appreciation of nature, and valuable leadership and career skills.
Wilderness Inquiry, which provides youth with disabilities an opportunity to participate in adventure leadership programs where they gain valuable social and problem-solving skills that will help them attain and keep a job upon graduation.
Visit www.meaf.org/what_we_do/leadership_development to learn more about the Leadership Development strategies MEAF supports.
By providing opportunities for practical work experiences, youth with disabilities will have the employment skills they need to succeed in competitive jobs. Strategies MEAF has supported with recent grants include: Mentoring & Internships, Workforce Readiness, and Careers in Science and Technology, such as:
The American Association of People with Disabilities' (AAPD) Pipelines of Talent Program, which expands AAPD's successful Disability Mentoring Day program into a year-long mentoring, shadowing and internship experience for students with disabilities so they can gain practical work experience. Mitsubishi Electric US companies serve as mentoring and internship sites for the program.
The American Association of People with Disabilities' Summer Internships Program, which MEAF has supported since 2002, placing nearly 200 college students with disabilities in summer internships in Congressional Offices, Federal Agencies and nonprofit organizations in Washington, DC. Many of these interns have gone on to careers in Federal Government and the private sector.
Project SEARCH, which provides students with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to intern in companies during their last year of high school followed by placement into competitive jobs. MEAF provided the initial funds to expand the program, which is now in over 200 sites worldwide.
Visit www.meaf.org/what_we_do/employment_preparation to learn more about the Employment Preparation strategies MEAF supports.
By improving awareness of inclusive practices and focusing on people's abilities, attitudes will change and barriers will be broken so that ALL youth are empowered. MEAF supports this strategy through grants focused on Inclusion, Access, and Raising Awareness, such as:
The Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital Include All Girls Initiative, which collects and shares promising practices on how to fully include girls with disabilities with Girl Scout councils across the U.S.
The U.S. Business Leadership Network's Disability Supplier Diversity and Career Link Mentoring Programs, which provides entrepreneurs and youth with disabilities access to opportunities so they can demonstrate their ability leading to productive lives.
Mitsubishi Electric Organized Volunteer Efforts (M.O.V.E.), which harnesses the power of employee volunteers to make a difference in their communities and for youth with disabilities through: foundation Matching Grant programs, support of fundraising projects like the annual Hallway Golf Tournament, and presentation of the annual M.O.V.E. Award for innovative volunteer projects, such as installing solar panels on the home of a child with a disability to help reduce the family's energy costs.
Visit www.meaf.org/what_we_do/ability_awareness/ to learn more about the Ability Awareness strategies MEAF supports.