At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

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Jun 22, 2023, 10:49 AM | Updated: Jul 5, 2023, 10:56 am

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.

It’s hard to overstate the impact that Ability360 has made in the lives of so many for more than 40 years. And “independence” is at its core.

“Ability360 is one of our country’s largest ‘CILs,’ or Centers for Independent Living,” said President and CEO Chris Rodriguez. “And all of these services and programs that we provide people – across the whole spectrum of disabilities – are focused on one thing, and that’s maximizing their independence in the community.”

An organization of this magnitude, with such wide-ranging capabilities, relies on constant innovation and community support to continually meet the needs of its consumers and members.

Take the Ability360 Independence Cup Esports Tournament, which is being held today.

Ability360 started researching this event in part because of estimates that some 20% of all people that play video games are people with disabilities.

“We’ve been studying this space for some time and knew we had to gauge the potential to support gamers who have a disability as part of our mission,” said Ability360 Director of Development Meghan Fable. “And doing it on Independence Day, making it free, and inviting the general public to play, felt like such an inclusive, appropriate and unique way to celebrate the Fourth.”

The Tournament concept immediately attracted a diverse set of sponsors, from healthcare giant Humana to CIL technology provider Q90/CIL Suite.

“When Humana Healthy Horizons toured the Ability360 campus, we were amazed by all the ways they serve the disability community. Every space showed why the Ability360 campus is a model for accessible design,” said Chris Hansen, Humana’s Medicaid Market Vice President. “At Humana, we pride ourselves on partnering with organizations that identify inventive new ways to support the communities they serve. Following our visit, we were very excited to get more involved and sponsor Ability360’s first annual Independence Cup.”

Q90 President John Cheney was equally taken by the concept. “We provide ‘technology for independence’ to CILs across the country and, when we heard what Ability360 was up to with a tech-driven and independence-themed esports tournament, we knew we had to be a part of it given their national reputation for pioneering cutting edge programs and services.”

The Independence Cup is being played 100% online and streamed to the public from the Microsoft Start.gg tournament platform, something that Microsoft’s Shawn Comstock calls an “ideal example” of their product vision.

“I see Start.gg as the tournament platform that empowers esports communities to create, discover and engage in meaningful ways, so needless to say, I am thrilled to support Ability360 and the entire disability community by hosting Independence Cup,” he said.

The Independence Cup specifically benefits the Ability360 Phoenix Rising Power Soccer Team and honors the memory of former players Austin Cuaderno, Everett Frahm, Dalen Soto and Chris Schwab.

“Phoenix Rising is happy to show its support of the Independence Cup, helping Ability360 garner additional visibility and financial support, said Phoenix Rising FC President Bobby Dulle. “We are proud to be partnered with an organization that does so much to empower people with disabilities.”

Of course, Independence Cup is just the latest example of an innovative organization with a sprawling set of programs and services that can sometimes be difficult to succinctly summarize to partners, donors, sponsors and the community-at-large.

But Ability360 Board Chair, Nathan Pullen, puts it this way:

“Our name really says it all. We offer 360 degrees of programming and services to ensure people with disabilities are equipped with the ability to live their best lives.”

To learn more about all of the programs and services offered by Ability360 click here. You can also join Ability360 at its 360Breakfast on the morning of Thursday, October 26th on the courts of the Sports and Fitness Center. Companies and individuals interested in attending or sponsoring the event can contact Meghan Fable at MeghanF@ability360.org



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day