New Guide Gives Practical Tips for Disabilities Act Compliance -- The Chicago Community Trust Publishes New Tools For Nonprofits and Others

Share Article

The Chicago Community Trust has released Renewing the Commitment: An ADA Compliance Guide for Nonprofits, an online publication intended to assist and help others in understanding the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Chicago Community Trust, the region’s community foundation, has released Renewing the Commitment: An ADA Compliance Guide for Nonprofits, an online publication intended to assist nonprofits and others in understanding the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and developing their own plans for compliance. As part of its commitment to diversity, the Trust partnered with ADA One, LLC, and an advisory group of nonprofits and organizations of people with disabilities to create the guide for nonprofits throughout the country, but with specific Chicago-area resources.

“Almost one in five people in Chicago – as elsewhere in the U.S. – has a disability,” said Ngoan Le, vice president of programs for the Trust. “Most of us will experience some level of disability during our lives, or we have a family member who has or will have a disability. This guide encourages all nonprofits to welcome this diverse group of people into their activities and offer them equal access to their services, so that we all benefit.”

The year 2010 marks the twentieth anniversary of the ADA. In September the Department of Justice issued the first major revisions to its ADA regulations, with expanded accessibility standards and more detailed guidance in several policy areas.

“The American with Disabilities Act promised civic inclusion and empowerment for people with disabilities," said Marca Bristo, president and chief executive officer of Access Living. “As our region’s diverse, vibrant nonprofit organizations work to improve the quality of life for all residents, this new guide equips them with the tools to fulfill that promise. By embracing a well-informed, individual approach to ADA compliance, nonprofits can help ensure that their services benefit everyone with equal opportunity and equal dignity.”

The guide begins with an overview of how individuals may experience disability, and the law’s principles. It includes a checklist for taking stock of current efforts and explores issues faced by many nonprofits (including communications, access to facilities and holding meetings and events). It then applies these concepts to specific types of services and activities, such as health care, human services, recreation and the arts. Practical tools include:

  • An Agenda for Action, with seven steps to compliance
  • One-page Tip Sheets to guide staff in such day-to-day matters as choosing and using interpreters, holding accessible meetings and admitting individuals with service animals
  • Customizable templates for meeting notices, policies and information about accessible building features, responding to requests for policy modifications
  • Suggestions for interacting with individuals with disabilities in ways that are effective and not condescending
  • Extensive resources and links, including to national, Chicago-area and state-level information.

“The ADA Guide should give nonprofits of any size or type a solid foundation in their obligations and an understanding of opportunities to integrate individuals with disabilities into the fabric of their organizations and activities,” said Irene Bowen, J.D., President of ADA One. “Small groups with limited resources can quickly find basic information as well as specific chapters for their operations. Larger groups can delve more deeply into specific details, checklists and resources. The book offers tools that all private entities can use and adapt according to their resources, their size, and their specific type of programs.”

The online version is accessible online at

About ADA One, LLC
Founded in 2009, ADA One offers consulting and training for public and private entities, including nonprofits. The firm advises entities about how to comply with the ADA, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and related laws. Its president, Irene Bowen, J.D., is former Deputy Chief of the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice, former Deputy General Counsel of the US Access Board, co-founder of the National Center for Law and Deafness and a nationally known speaker and consultant. More information about the firm is available at

About The Chicago Community Trust
For 95 years, The Chicago Community Trust, our region’s community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2010, the Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $100 million to nonprofit organizations: developing new audiences to sustain Chicago’s vibrant arts organizations, protecting the human success safety net for those hardest hit by the recession, stemming the devastating effects of foreclosures on our communities, elevating teaching to meet world class standards; and improving conditions for healthy and active lifestyles. To learn more, please visit the Trust online at


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Eva Penar
Visit website