History

The COALITION is a grass-roots, statewide, disability advocacy organization started in the 1980s by a group of committed people who envisioned the difference that could be made by working together on behalf of all people with disabilities. 

  • From the 1980s until late 1993, the COALITION's activities were carried out by a group of volunteers from throughout the state. 
  • "Access SD Project" was one of the first projects completed by the COALITION. It increased the awareness of local businesses to basic accessibility elements. It was funded by the SD Council on Developmental Disabilities.
  • Another early activity was the completion of a survey of persons with developmental disabilities funded by the SD  Council on Developmental Disabilities. 
  • The "Together We Can" Conference was hosted annually. It involved people with disabilities and family members from across the state.
  • In 1990, the COALITION incorporated under the State of South Dakota Nonprofit Corporation Act. Later that same year, it received it's non-profit status from the IRS.
  • In late 1993, an office was opened in Pierre. The first staff was brought on board through an agreement with the SD Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services.
  • Since 1993, the COALITION has partnered with U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Rocky Mountain ADA Technical Assistance Center and the South Dakota Department of Transportation on efforts to strengthen services, supports and increase opportunities for South Dakotans with disabilities. 
  • The COALITION has worked closely with and continues working with the SD Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services, and the SD Council on Developmental Disabilities on various efforts.
  • Legislative and advocacy activity is a key part of our work. Examples of areas worked on are:
    • State building code
    • Appropriate and equal education for children who are deaf and hard of hearing
    • Continuation of Birth to Three Program
    • Further development of services for individuals on the autism spectrum
    • Increased access to community based public transit services statewide
    • Increased access to accessible, affordable housing statewide
    • Telecommunications Assistive Devices program
    • Consumer directed personal attendant services
    • Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act
    • Prescription Drug Coverage under Medicare
    • Reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act
    • Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
    • Reauthorization of the Assistive Technology Act
    • Appropriations for services for persons with disabilities at the national and state levels
    • Accessible parking
    • Family Opportunity Act
    • Mental Health Parity
    • Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Services Coverage under Medicare
    • Workforce Improvement and Opportunity Act
    • Reauthorization of the Transportation Act
    • Expansion of Medicaid
    • Healthcare coverage for the uninsured
    • Services for people who have sustained a traumatic brain injury
    • Equipment distribution program for people with all types of disabilities
    • Money Follows the Person Project
    • Aging and Disability Resources Center
    • Reuse of adaptive devices purchased by Medicaid
    • ...
  • The COALITION has been awarded the Governor's Award for Distinguished Service.
  • The COALITION has facilitated the formation and continuation of the Disability Advocacy Network.
  • The COALITION joins with others to build coalitions to identify community needs and develop effective and responsive programs to serve these needs.
  • The COALITION works to develop leadership within the disability community statewide.
  • The COALITION has collaborated with other organizations for 20+ years to host an annual Disability Awareness Day at the State Capitol during each legislative session.
  • The COALITION produces and disseminates a legislative update during each legislative session.
  • The COALITION has provided training at the request numerous statewide conference , both public and private.
  • COALITION staff have participated on various task forces, boards, councils and workgroups at the state, regional and national levels over the last 20+ years.
  • And our work continues...