Oscars Gift Bags Shine Spotlight on Potential of People with Disabilities

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“The Shape of Water,” which is up for 13 Oscars at the March 4 Academy Awards, puts a protagonist with a disability on center stage. Behind the scenes, people with disabilities are contributing to the celebrated awards ceremony. This year’s award gift bags include lipsticks from Blush & Whimsy, which partners with SourceAmerica network member Adelante Development Center to get its all-natural, cruelty-free product to consumers.

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Workers with disabilities at Adelante prep gifts for the 2018 Academy Awards swag bags.

“Our vision is to create an Inclusion Economy™, one in which our talents and differences are celebrated,” said SourceAmerica President and CEO Steve Soroka.

“The Shape of Water,” which is up for 13 Oscars at the March 4 Academy Awards, puts a protagonist with a disability on center stage. Behind the scenes, people with disabilities are contributing to the celebrated awards ceremony. This year’s award gift bags include lipsticks from Blush & Whimsy, which partners with SourceAmerica network member Adelante Development Center to get its all-natural, cruelty-free product to consumers.

SourceAmerica is a national leader in creating employment opportunities and choices for people with disabilities. Adelante is one of its more than 800 nonprofit agencies across the country employing a workforce that is often overlooked. SourceAmerica network agencies offer manufacturing, maintenance services, packaging, staffing, call centers, warehousing, reverse logistics and more to support the needs of federal and commercial clients.

“Our vision is to create an Inclusion Economy™, one in which our talents and differences are celebrated,” said SourceAmerica President and CEO Steve Soroka. “An estimated 80 percent of people with disabilities are currently left out of the workforce, and companies like Blush & Whimsy are working to change that.”

Micaela Brown, founder of Blush & Whimsy, combines business savvy with a strong social conscience. Her father is a disabled veteran, so she understands not just the challenges people with disabilties face finding meaningful work, but also their potential. Adelante embodies her commitment to supporting her local community and empowering people with disabilities. For her exacting standards for packaging and product presentation, Adelante’s employees offer a level of customer service and customization other companies couldn’t compete with, she said.

“You can find partnerships like this across the country,” she said. “They’ve really become a foundation of my business. Their mission aligns so closely to mine, it made perfect sense to partner with a nonprofit that takes care of its employees and really works hard to empower the individual. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do with Blush & Whimsy.”

Adelante provides order processing, fulfillment, quality control, hand-packaging, warehousing and shipping for the cosmetic startup. The Blush & Whimsy lipsticks are clear with gold flecks and real flowers inside. Once applied, the lipstick changes color based on whoever’s wearing them. The product was included in this year’s Grammy gift bag and will be part of the Emmy Awards gifts as well. Each gift bag and every consumer purchase includes a thank you card describing the partnership between Adelante and Blush & Whimsy.

“Empowering people to be themselves—that needs to be what we celebrate,” Brown said. “We are all important, we are all valued. That’s my message. To have Adelante embody that, it just gives me goose bumps every single day. There is no better fit for my company and what we’re trying to achieve.”

For more information, visit http://www.sourceamerica.org , http://www.blushwhimsy.com or http://www.adelanteenterprises.com.

About SourceAmerica
Established in 1974, SourceAmerica creates job opportunities for a skilled and dedicated workforce of people with significant disabilities. SourceAmerica is the vital link between the federal government and private sector organizations that procure the products and services provided by this exceptional workforce via a network of more than 800 community-based nonprofits. Headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, SourceAmerica provides its nonprofit agency network with business development, contract management, legislative and regulatory assistance, communications and public relations materials, information technology support, engineering and technical assistance, and extensive professional training needed for successful nonprofit management. SourceAmerica is an AbilityOne-authorized enterprise.

About Blush & Whimsy
Founded in 2016 by Micaela Brown, Blush & Whimsy is a New Mexico startup offering their first product line, a color-changing lipstick that interacts with the pH and temperature of each individual’s lips to create a pink that is uniquely theirs. The company can be followed on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @BlushWhimsy.

About Adelante Development Center
Founded in Albuquerque in 1978, Adelante is a nonprofit organization that provides support services for people with mental, physical and developmental disabilities, as well as seniors and disadvantaged populations. The organization’s work positively impacts over 69,000 people across New Mexico annually. The nonprofit can be followed on Facebook and Twitter @GoAdelante.

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Kerry McGinley
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