2018 Year In Review

Celebrating 20 Years of Helping Children and Adults with Disabilities Lead More Independent Lives


The Eric Fund is honored each year to help incredible children and adults with disabilities maximize their potential and live their dreams


The difference you've made


Dear Friends of The Eric Fund:

It’s been a year of celebration and more progress for The Eric Fund. In September, we held a 20th anniversary celebration at the National Press Club in Washington, DC where we raised a record $28,000 through both ticket sales, donations and a lively silent auction with our nearly 100 guests.

Many of Washington’s finest restaurants donated gift certificates. Washington’s sports teams, salons and wineries were also represented and the Press Club’s banquet service outdid itself! We are grateful to all.

This continued generosity of our supporters allowed us to assist four wonderful people this year with equipment and devices that include a standing walker for a young girl who is unable to stand on her own; a stair lift for a woman with multiple sclerosis who will now be able to stay in her home and safely navigate her stairs, and a iPad with specialized applications that will help a young boy with Down syndrome communicate with family, teachers and friends.

The Eric Fund remains true to its mission to help level the playing field for people with disabilities, bringing a greater degree of independence to their lives. Our assistance is available to applicants when all other resources are unavailable to obtain these essential devices. It is gratifying to see that the impact of these awards reaches beyond the applicants, to their families, fellow students, teachers, friends and workplace colleagues.

We’ve come a long way from 1998 when there was enough money in the bank to fund one recipient and a one-page newsletter. This, our 20th year, we will have purchased $210,000 worth of assistive technology and equipment for 92 worthy recipients.

We remain the same small band of dedicated volunteers who are grateful to our generous supporters and hope you will be with us as we head in to our 21st year with a goal of identifying even more Eric Fund applicants..


Mary Hanley




2018 Recipients


2018 Dollars Granted



Recipients To Date


DOllars Granted To Date


The Eric Fund Celebrates 20 Years and More than $200,000 in Assistive Device Donations to the Washington-Area Disability Community. 


A young boy with Down syndrome and autism will receive a communication device. A teenage boy with autism will receive an iPad that he can use at home and share with his twin who is also autistic. A young woman who is blind and has a brain development disorder will receive a standing walker. A woman whose multiple sclerosis has progressed will receive a stair lift allowing her to stay in her home. This is how The Eric Fund celebrated its 20th anniversary!

The Eric Fund is a Washington-based nonprofit organization that purchases needed but often expensive assistive technology that helps children and adults with disabilities live on their own terms in their communities.

“It’s exciting and still hard to believe that The Eric Fund is 20 years old. We have now surpassed the $200,000 level of assistive equipment purchased and delivered to 92 people in the Washington, DC, metro area. The technology and devices are vital to our applicants who strive to live with greater independence. Eric Fund supporters make a significant difference in their lives,” said Mary Hanley, president of The Eric Fund.

Founded in 1998, The Eric Fund’s mission is inspired by the memory of Eric Savader who died from cancer in 1997 and who worked on behalf of several disability causes.

Please read on to hear the compelling stories of the 2018 Eric Fund award recipients and past awardees.

Dollars Granted by the Eric Fund


DC City Council Honors The Eric Fund 

The DC City Council honored The Eric Fund with a resolution in November recognizing its “many contributions to people with disabilities in the Washington metropolitan area; and congratulates it on its 20th anniversary.”

The Eric Fund is proud to receive this recognition from the DC City Council and wants to thank At-large Council Member Elissa Silverman for sponsoring the resolution. 


2018 Recipients

As The Eric Fund completes its 20th year of providing assistive devices to people with disabilities, we are thrilled by the meaningful impact of your generous donations. Because of your generosity, we are able to provide four deserving people – Jake, Natalie, Ammar, and Ngozi – with equipment that will allow them to live more independent lives.


Eric Fund Celebrates 20th Anniversary at National Press Club

More than 100 Eric Fund friends joined us on Sept. 27 at the National Press Club for our 20th Anniversary Celebration and annual silent auction which raised more than $28,000 to continue our mission of providing assistive technology for children and adults with disabilities in the Washington, DC, metro area.

Honorary Chairman John D. Kemp reflected on the number of people The Eric Fund has assisted in 20 years and shared a moving and comical tribute capturing Eric Savader’s passion and incredible sense of humor. Eric Fund President Mary Hanley thanked everyone for their generous support over the years and marveled that our all-volunteer organization was marking two decades of making a difference.

Eric Fund friends dined on passed hors d’oeuvres and enjoyed a carving station, pasta bar, and a 20th anniversary cake while bidding on auction items including sports memorabilia, restaurant and service experiences, museum memberships, wine, jewelry, and a rental home on Martha’s Vineyard.

A big THANK YOU to all of our Eric Fund supporters who shared this special evening with us and donated so generously to our mission and to the numerous sponsors who donated auction items. Special thanks to friends who could not attend but made a special 20th anniversary donation and to Mary, Heidi Kurtz Walters and Sarah Watkins for all of their work on the event.


Where are the now?

The Eric Fund is honored each year to help incredible children and adults with disabilities maximize their potential and live their dreams. Here is an update on some of our past winners.

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Francis Dwyer

Francis Dwyer is a 28-year-old young man with Down syndrome who lives in Virginia. Francis received an iPad, specialized applications and Google calendar in 2017, devices intended to help him progress toward living with greater independence in his community. Francis’ s family has worked with him to integrate the iPad into his daily life by transferring his printed schedule to his iPad and Google calendar on his phone. As he has grown more comfortable with the technology, Francis has developed “an overall feeling of ownership and accomplishment of his daily life,” according to his mother, Jeanne.
The specialized applications provide Francis with both visual and audio reminders of his daily schedule and tasks as well as easy-to-follow steps that help him remember what items he needs for work and recreation. Francis has a job as a bagger at Safeway, interns at Holy Cross Hospital and at Mother of God Catholic School. He also participates in Special Olympics bowling. His mother told us that they are very grateful to The Eric Fund because the iPad and applications “allow Francis to live more independently than ever before!”


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James Aliban

James Aliban is a 15-year-old boy who has endured two open-heart surgeries, a bone marrow transplant, and is in remission from leukemia. He also has hearing loss in both ears and limited verbalization skills. The communication technology that he was using was helping but progress was very slow. It was recommended that a device dedicated solely to communication was necessary. The Prentke Romich Company manufactures the costly device that could help James. The Eric Fund worked with the company to reduce the price and raised extra funds in a special appeal to our generous supporters.

James’s father, Anastacio, told us that James “started saying more words, phrases and some sentences with his communication device. With some prompting and guidance, he uses his device to communicate better. James will say words that are unintelligible but with his device, one can understand him.” He says he is very grateful to The Eric Fund and hopeful “that James’s language and communication will continue to improve by consis- tently using the device.” 

NEW Emilia photo_2018.jpg


Emilia is a nine-year-old from Northern Virginia who received a new wheelchair and car seat from The Eric Fund in 2017. Emilia, who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy as well as physical and intellectual disabilities, had out- grown her adaptive stroller to the point it was negatively impacting her posture. Emilia’s mother, Valeria said, “The wheelchair has been a real blessing for all of us. It fits perfectly in our car so we can take it anywhere we go. She uses it to go to school and it’s basically everything for Emilia. We are very thankful to The Eric Fund.” Emilia’s parents donated her old adaptive stroller that was in good condition to another family.


The Eric Fund receives dozens of applications from extremely deserving candidates throughout the D.C. metro area.

Support the Eric Fund in 2019


As you can imagine, narrowing the application pool down was difficult, and left many very worthy candidates without the funding they need to lead independent lives in the community. Your generous donations will help us continue to change lives, by putting equipment in the hands of people who desperately need it. Help us expand our reach. More donations means more grants and fewer people we need to turn away each year. We will continue to put every dollar to work!