Edison McDonald 775sc

Edison McDonald

Edison McDonald's activity stream

  • donated via 2022-05-04 12:48:29 -0700

  • published CinemAbility 2022-05-04 12:36:40 -0700

    CinemAbility Event: Lincoln Grand Cinema

    Join us for our CinemAbility Event on Saturday, July 16, 2022 @ 7pm, at the Lincoln Grand Cinema! Be one of the first to see "CinemAbility Premiere" on the big screen. To learn more about this movie, please click HERE.

    Your $25 donation includes 1 admission to the CinemAbility Premiere on Saturday July 16, 2022 at 7pm. Please reserve your "CinemAbility" ticket here!


    • Seats will be on a first come, first serve basis so please arrive early.
    • ADA accessible seating is limited to the ADA spaces in each auditorium
    • Event Timeline
      • 5:30pm Check-in w Ticket Taker
      • 6:00pm Red Carpet Arrival
      • 7:00pm Nebraska Premiere of CinemAbility

    A thoughtful and entertaining look at the history of disability portrayals in the media, and how these portrayals have impacted societal inclusion. Go behind the scenes with some of Hollywood's A-List Stars, Directors, Producers & Studio Heads as we explore the history of disability portrayals in the media and the impact honest media characterizations have on real-life inclusion.

    All net proceeds and any donations will go directly toward The Arc of Nebraska and Solid Earth Communities. 

    Thanks to our Sponsors!

    July 16, 2022 at 5:30pm
    Lincoln Grand Cinema
    1101 P St
    Lincoln, NE 68508
    United States
    Google map and directions
    $25.00 USD · rsvp

  • published Give to Lincoln 2022 2022-05-04 11:16:48 -0700

  • published Disability Voting Rights Center 2022-03-02 10:42:44 -0800

    Disability Voting Rights Center

    Welcome to the Nebraska Disability Voting Rights Center!  This is a resource center to learn more about voting and accessibility issues.

    The Arc of Nebraska prioritizes voting issues for 3 key reasons:


    • Through self-advocacy groups people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities can learn about voting and group decision making.


    • Self-Advocates, have the same right to self-determination as all people and must have the freedom, authority, and support to exercise control over their lives. They must be supported, assisted, and empowered to vote and to become active members and leaders on community boards, committees and agencies.

    Human and Civil Rights

    • People with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities face unique challenges, including: a history of discrimination and exclusion from meaningful choice and participation in employment, housing, voting, transportation, and other programs, activities, and services provided by the public and private sectors of society.
    • We emphasize that all are entitled to human rights... These rights include…access to voting…Local, state, federal, and international governments must strongly enforce all human and civil rights.


  • published Founders Club in Donation 2021-10-20 10:55:53 -0700

  • published Register to Vote in Disability Voting Rights Center 2021-10-14 12:26:12 -0700

  • pledged support via 2021-10-12 16:40:13 -0700

    Pledge to Sign the Raise the Wage Nebraska Petition

    21 votes

    The Arc of Nebraska is a founding coalition member of The Raise the Wage Nebraska Petition Drive that will move to raise the Nebraska Minimum Wage to $15 per hour by 2026. 

    This is centered in our policy statement that “we believe that people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) can be employed in the community alongside people without disabilities and earn competitive wages. They should be supported to make informed choices about their work and careers and have the resources to seek, obtain, and be successful in community employment.”

    By raising the wage to a livable standard we will ensure the opportunity for independence for people with disabilities.  This will also help to ensure that our valuable providers in particular Direct Support Professionals (DSP) will be paid a quality living wage for the vital work that they do to support people with disabilities.

    Will you pledge to sign the Raise the Wage Nebraska Petition?

    Pledge your vote

  • Medicaid Buy-In Expansion Takes Effect

    For Immediate Release


    Press Conference

    Friday, October 1, 12:00 pm

    Nebraska Capitol Rotunda

    Medicaid Buy-In Expansion Takes Effect


    Lincoln-  In 2020 the legislature passed LB 323 a bill to eliminate a major eligibility barrier for people with disabilities to participate in the Medicaid Insurance for Workers with Disabilities (MIWD) program.  This is an important, yet widely underutilized, program that would allow individuals with disabilities who use Medicaid to have a job,  increase hours, or take a raise without losing their Medicaid benefits.  The MIWD program permits individuals to earn above the poverty level without losing Medicaid. Participants with higher income and earnings may have a premium.  The MIWD program is a vital employment tool that encourages more contributions to the community.  We are excited to see that as of October 1, 2021, that this update will take effect!


    While Nebraska may enjoy one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, the same is not equal.  Nebraskans with disabilities are approximately 30% less likely to be employed than those without disabilities.  

    Read more

  • wants to volunteer 2020-12-22 08:57:49 -0800

    Become a volunteer

    Volunteers are integral to help The Arc of Nebraska fulfill its mission. Below you will find a list of volunteer opportunities that may be available. If you are interested in finding out more, complete the application form below and we will be in touch.

    Volunteer Opportunities Available

    Special Events
    Community Outreach

    Volunteer Guest Speakers

    Board Membership Become a volunteer

  • Disability Advocates Call on Insurance Companies to Protect Autism Services

    For Immediate Release


    Disability Advocates Call on Insurance Companies to Protect Autism Services

    Lincoln, Nebraska, July 29, 2020 – Families of individuals with disabilities were informed in May that many would no longer receive Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) at the Munroe-Meyer Institute that is vital for children with disabilities starting in September. ABA is an evidence-based practice that helps children with disabilities address deficits in social skills or self-care skills, or other behavioral concerns. This elimination of services came because of low reimbursement rates from Amerigroup, and Optum/UBH’s Commercial Plan (they are continuing with their Medicaid contract rates). The current reimbursement rates are below the cost to provide the services. Munroe- Meyer Institute, a leading provider of these services in Nebraska, has taken losses before; however, in the pandemic can no longer afford to take such heavy losses. While Tri-Care rates were also below market value, however, Tricare has adjusted their rates to ensure ongoing access from families, the other two companies have not.


    This means that approximately a hundred families will no longer be able to receive ABA services. For the children affected, this may cause humongous setbacks in important skill-building. Families like Angela Gleason, who said, “My son Teddy who has autism was nonverbal up until three years ago. We’ve had to piece together services for Teddy. 

    ABA has helped him with his ability to speak and some behavioral issues. I’m afraid that if he stops receiving these services that he will slide back. In particular, with the pandemic that he will begin to lose social skills, he has lost progress on his speech, and he may become a safety concern.”

    “This is unacceptable,” said Edison McDonald Executive Director of The Arc of Nebraska. “ABA services have long been under attack, which is why in 2014 Governor Heineman signed into law LB 254 a bill requiring insurance companies to cover ABA Services. Companies who are shifting rates below the cost to provide these services in an attempt to sidestep this law. It’s time for insurance companies to ensure families have access to the services that they need.”


    Read more

  • Coalition Calls for NSEA to End Support of Discriminatory Policy


    Lincoln- During a virtual event last week calling for  educational equity, the Nebraska State Education Association expressed continued support for LB 147, a bill that would increase the use of exclusionary discipline practices in schools and exempt teachers and other school officials from liability if a child is injured from physical intervention by an adult in a school setting.   In response, a coalition of organizations is calling for the Nebraska State Education Association (NSEA) to   withdraw its support of the bill.

    Coalition members include The Arc of Nebraska, The ACLU of Nebraska, Voices for Children, and Education Rights Counsel.

    The policy changes contained in LB 147 would not only harm individual students but also exacerbate systemic disparities in school discipline.  According to The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, Nebraska’s Black students are overrepresented among students who are physically restrained. Likewise, about eight in 10 of all Nebraska kids who are physically restrained are covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In addition, Black students and students with disabilities are disproportionately subject to out-of-school suspensions.

    Read more

  • Re-Opening and People With Disabilities


    To Whom It May Concern,


    As Nebraska considers when and how to re-open businesses and state services, the Nebraska Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities urges strong state and local actions to protect high risk populations and public health.

    COVID-19 has shown to be particularly dangerous to people with disabilities, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions. Those who reside or receive services in congregate settings have been shown to be at extreme risk of contracting COVID-19.

    Read more

  • published Ways to Donate in Donation 2019-09-16 09:18:08 -0700

    Ways to Donate

    Ways to Give

    Our mission is to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  In order to get us there we need your support.  Here are some of the different ways that you can help to further our mission.  If you have questions about any of these please give us a call.

    Different Types of Gifts

    Different Ways to Give

    o Donor Advised Fund (DAF) charitable donation (for tax purposes) occurs when DAF receives funds. Gifts to the ARC can then occur each year or other frequency you choose. Many have no minimum to open.

    o Charitable Gift Annuity (typically starting at $25k) donor receives immediate income, income for life, all while benefiting the ARC.

    • Life Insurance often, ARC members have a life insurance policy that is paid up or they no longer have a need for. They can designate The ARC as the beneficiary.

    • Non-qualified assets donated at full market value (FMV)
      Say you purchased 50 shares of Starbucks stock at $10/share many years

      ago, your initial outlay was $500.

      Over the years the value has increased to $100/share, bringing your value today up to $5,000 for your 50 shares.

      Knowing if you use these shares for routine expenses this year you would incur capital gains tax of approximately $675* when filing your income taxes, you instead donate the 50 shares to the ARC. You receive a $5,000 charitable deduction; the ARC receives a $5,000 gift; and no one pays any income tax!

      * Assuming 15% capital gains tax

    Retirement assets (such as IRAs)

    Many of our members will never exhaust their IRAs over the course of their lives. Most designate family members (spouse, children, grandchildren, etc.) as their beneficiary. Thinking of widows/widowers, many without children, whose lives have been touched by the ARC. The ARC could be their beneficiary.

    When members reach age 70 1⁄2 they must begin withdrawing from these accounts via their Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). For many, they would rather not have to withdraw these amounts and incur the corresponding income tax (and possibly higher Medicare premiums) on the amount withdrawn. An alternative is for them to do a Qualified Charitable Deduction (QCD) in which they direct the RMD amount directly to the ARC. No income tax is due on the amount and the ARC benefits via 100% of the gift. Members are allowed a QCD of up to $100k/individual/year.

  • published Nebraska Waiver Study in End The List 2019-09-05 12:37:05 -0700

    Nebraska Waiver Study

    Executive Summary

    Nebraska is facing three intertwined crises that have a stranglehold on our Medicaid Waiver System. In order to address these issues we have assembled this paper to identify the issues, analyze solutions, and offer proposals to remedy the following issues.  Click this link to see the full paper The_Arc_of_Nebraska_Waiver_Study.pdf

    The following require immediate attention:

    Provide support to children with disabilities being found ineligible for Nebraska’s Aged & Disabled (A & D) Medicaid Waiver

    Changes implemented to the state’s A & D Waiver is causing children/families to be found ineligible based upon increased scrutiny over the Level of Care Assessments. 

    Provide a pathway for individuals with disabilities to gain access to job coaching and employment supports by identifying a way to eliminate the new Waiting list for services from Vocational Rehabilitation

     State interpretation of federal regulations means that individuals with disabilities are not able to access job coaching or employment supports - something that is not occurring in other states.

    Eliminate the 6-8 year Waiting List for Developmental Disabilities

    The lack of a cohesive for the delivery of long-term services and supports, failure to properly leverage alternative funding sources (federal and state funding, private insurance, and families’ dollars) has created a fragmented patchwork state system that has had few true updates since its creation. 

    We can far better serve Nebraskans by stepping back and approaching these issues with a systematic and broader vision.  This paper has been assembled by a group of parents, professionals, academics, and self-advocates in order to better analyze and create a framework for some systematic improvements that we believe will make the world a bit easier for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

    Our primary policy opportunities include:

    1 Creating a Family Support Waiver

    2 Increase Developmental Disability Funding

    3 Fund an Autism and/or IDD/Mental Health Waiver

    4 Revise and streamline our plethora of advisory committees

    5 Properly implement the Rate Rebase

    6 Amend our Appeals System

    7 Increase Adverse Notice Timeline and Notice Standards

    8 Provide an opportunity to recoup attorney costs on appeals cases

    9 Be the final state in the nation to have an Employment First Proclamation

    10 Modify our First Dollar In requirement for Vocational Rehabilitation

    11 Implement the Family Opportunity Act

    12 Revise regulatory standards to protect the sanctity of marriage



    Aged & Disabled Waiver Issue

    Celeste is a beautiful, happy and fun-loving three-year-old.  She loves books, knocking down block towers and going to the swimming pool. When you see her, she will most likely have one of her award-winning smiles for you. Her disability doesn’t define her, but it is a huge factor in her life. Her diagnoses include: a brain cyst, agenesis of the corpus callosum, hypotonia, aberrant subclavian artery, malrotation, hearing loss, exotropia, oral aversion, and previously failure to thrive but now tube fed. Nearly 100% of her calories are put through the tube. She is also suspected (not yet confirmed) to have a tethered spinal cord. Her family is also currently awaiting approval for further genetic testing because even with the feeding tube she’s very petite. All these diagnoses together make it difficult for Celeste to live the life of a typical three year old. She doesn’t stand on her own, walk or talk and is nowhere near being ready for potty training. She can’t consume enough calories on her own to sustain herself. She can’t have normal bowel movements without medications to help her. She is at a higher risk of bowel obstructions or life-threatening volvulus in her intestines.

    Celeste’s family has private insurance, but without the waiver, her family would be paying nearly $1,400 a month just for the necessary medical supplies and specialized formulas. This doesn’t even include the necessary therapies Celeste requires in order to reach her maximum potential or the childcare necessary for her parents to maintain their teaching careers. Without the waiver, her parents would have to work additional jobs to cover the nearly $2,000 worth of bills; but, that would add additional stress fitting in nearly 40 hours a week on top of teaching and getting Celeste to her therapies--exposure to stress that Celeste doesn’t need or deserve. Another option would be for them to quit their careers and move to lower-paying jobs in order to meet the income requirements to qualify for Medicaid, move out of state or take on an astronomical amount of debt. The idea of losing the waiver has led to a great deal of stress and even the consideration of keeping Celeste out of therapy for fear of her making “too much progress.”

    The waiver for Celeste has meant more than medical bills being paid- its more time with her parents at home helping to extend what she does in therapy. It has meant time for her parents to use respite care and invest in their marriage, son, careers, and community.


    Developmental Disabilities Waiver

    Erin Phillips is a powerful self-advocate, works for Super Saver, has a second job with People First of Nebraska, and is engaged in her community.  This was not the case ten years ago when she was placed on The Waiting List for people with developmental disabilities to get access to residential services.  While in school, she had made great strides towards independence and self-sufficiency.  Without that support, she slid back.  Obviously, this led to a great amount of frustration for Erin.  Eventually, she got the call that she had made it to the top of the list.  This has helped her be the fun, happy individual we see today.

    Sixty years ago, people with developmental disabilities were forced into segregated institutions, unable to live with their friends, families, and communities.  Now, 2,332 people qualify for services under the developmental disabilities services waiver but are not receiving funding.  Instead, they have been forced onto a waiting list that will require them to wait years to access vital services.  This means that they are being supported by their families- many of whom are aging.  Many individuals with IDD who are nearing retirement age themselves are still being cared for by their aging parents.  Children with IDD and behavioral health issues who may pose a risk to themselves or others cannot access support.  Young adults with IDD who don’t have the necessary support frequently encounter police.  Rather than providing more preventative and less intensive HCBS, we are supporting these individuals through foster care placements, prison/juvenile detention and nursing facilities.  Unfortunately, these are much more costly to tax-payers and is also at a significant cost to both the individual and family.

    Over a decade ago, the LR 156 report said, “Nebraska is at a crossroads with its obligation to Nebraska citizens with developmental disabilities. Several Nebraska Senators have recognized the urgent need to develop a strategic plan to address the current and future needs of citizens with DD and their families.”

    It seems that we have still failed to take the sort of serious action needed to help people with disabilities.  It’s time to ensure that we fully fund the waiting list.


    Vocational Rehabilitation Waiting List

    Many individuals with disabilities want to obtain competitive jobs and a career path.  Unfortunately, there are systems issues that are preventing them to access the support they need to do so.

    Nebraska has one of the lowest unemployment rates across the United States.  This means that employers are having difficulty finding individuals to fill their needs. “This is now the most pressing economic issue in the state,” stated Bryan Slone, president of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “It doesn’t get a lot of attention, but we are on the cusp of this becoming the 1,000-pound gorilla.”’ (Omaha World-Herald article)  In contrast, many Nebraskans with disabilities have difficulty finding employment, keeping acceptable benefit levels, and ensuring employment stability.  It seems that one of the best opportunities to address this workforce crisis is by ensuring people with disabilities can work. However, the system has to be built so that they can do so.

    While the Developmental Disability Waiting List is a decades-old issue we have seen a more recent Waiting List pop up.  The Vocational Rehabilitation Waiting List is now even larger than the DD Waiting List.  Although this only affects employment issues, it seems that this is antithetical to the current Nebraska workforce crisis. 

    While there is some hope in legislation (such as LB 323 sponsored by Senators Linehan and Crawford), it seems that we still need further steps in order to ensure employment opportunities for individuals with Developmental Disabilities.  One unique opportunity is that Nebraska is the last state in the nation to set an Employment First Proclamation. Implementing an Employment First Proclamation would make competitive, integrated employment the first option for individuals with disabilities who are receiving public benefits.


    If you would like to read the full report please click here. The_Arc_of_Nebraska_Waiver_Study.pdf

    Please contact us if you have any questions at (402) 475-4407

  • End The Waiting List



    Contact: Edison McDonald, Executive Director, The Arc of Nebraska, 402-475-4407 or [email protected]

    Disability Advocates Kick Off Grassroots Campaign to Ensure Access to Vital Services

    Lincoln, Nebraska, July 2, 2019 – “Nebraska is at a crossroads with its obligation to Nebraska citizens with developmental disabilities. Several Nebraska Senators have recognized the urgent need to develop a strategic plan to address the current and future needs of citizens with DD and their families.” This is what the 2008 LR 156 report said over a decade ago.  Yet we have instead allowed this waiting list to grow and vulnerable Nebraskans to go without vital services.

    In reaction to this disability advocates are taking up a new grassroots drive to end the Developmental Disability Waiting List.  “It is absolutely unacceptable that we have over 2,332 Nebraskans with disabilities who are not receiving these vital supports.” Said Edison McDonald Executive Director for The Arc of Nebraska.  They have been forced onto a waiting list that could require them to wait for years to access vital services.  This waiting list forces them to consider more expensive and segregated settings.  This average cost per Nebraskan with a disability could be hundreds of thousands of dollars per citizen with disability.  We must do better.

    Launching off a petition drive, community conversations, and careful research of the issue advocates are ready to take on this significant issue for Nebraskans with Disabilities.  The first community conversation will happen at the annual Disability Pride Event at The Nebraska State Capitol on July 12th at 1pm.  For more information please refer to https://www.arc-nebraska.org/end_the_waiting_list


    About The Arc of Nebraska

    For over 60 years, The Arc of Nebraska has provided advocacy to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. A nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors, The Arc has more than 1,500 members across the state.

  • Waiting List and Unserved Individuals Stories

    The Arc of Nebraska has been working for over 60 years to ensure that people with developmental and intellectual disabilities can live in the community. Previously, the status quo was that people were forcefully segregated into isolation in institutions. Now 3,000 people qualify for services under the developmental disabilities services waiver but are not receiving funding. They instead have been relegated to a waiting list that could be years away.  We are also concerned about the nearly 80% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who fall in "the gaps" in our service system.

    We want to gather first-hand data, stories, and develop a coalition to take on the waiting list.  We need you to add your story.  Tell us about your family, the issues that you deal with, why your loved one isn't eligible, what you need, and if possible a picture.  Together we can ensure that people with disabilities are appropriately supported.

    Take the survey

  • published Waiting List Resources in End The List 2019-07-02 08:55:51 -0700

    Waiting List Resources

    Waiting lists are not unique to Nebraska.  This significant issue has inspired a great amount of research, conversations, legislation, and tools working to address it.  Here are some resources that can help to inform you further about the detrimental effects on waiting lists.  But more importantly our hope is that these resources help to inform people about ways in which we can ensure more people have access to needed services.

    Arc Blog About The Waiting List

    Case for Inclusion Comparative State by State Data

    Disability Scoop Update on Waiting Lists

    DHHS Developmental Disability Division

    Nebraska Legislature Resolution 156 Report (2008 the last significant study in Nebraska)

    Kaiser Family Foundation State by State Data


    We are especially excited about the presentations we have provided on Nebraska Systems Issues!  If you have missed it and want us in your town let us know!

    End The List Presentation

    Pathways to Medicaid


  • published End the List Petition Recruiters in End The List 2019-07-02 08:55:34 -0700

    End the List Petition Recruiters

    Help us to get the word out about #EndtheList  We need your voice to help spread how important it is to ensure everyone has access to vital services that they need.

    Start recruiting

  • published End The Waiting List Petition in End The List 2019-07-02 08:55:15 -0700

    End The Waiting List Petition

    The Arc of Nebraska has been working for over 60 years to ensure that people with developmental and intellectual disabilities can live in the community.  Previously, the status quo was that people were forcefully segregated into isolation in institutions.  Now 2,332 people qualify for services under the developmental disabilities services waiver but are not receiving funding.  They instead have been forced onto a waiting list that could require them to wait for years to access vital services.

    Over a decade ago the LR 156 report said, “Nebraska is at a crossroads with its obligation to Nebraska citizens with developmental disabilities. Several Nebraska Senators have recognized the urgent need to develop a strategic plan to address the current and future needs of citizens with DD and their families.” It seems that we have still failed to take the sort of serious action needed to help people with disabilities.  It’s time to ensure that we fully fund the waiting list.

    (Sign Petition Below)

    1,582 signatures

    We the people of Nebraska believe that it is our legal, ethical, and moral duty to ensure that people with disabilities are properly served.  Too long have our good neighbors struggled to care for their children, siblings, church members, employees, friends, and community members due to improper funding of the Developmental Disabilities Services Waiver.  We as Nebraskans want to ensure that people with disabilities receive the services that they need in a thoughtful and comprehensive approach that allows them to live full lives in the community.

    We must take action to provide full and proper funding to eliminate the waiting list.

    Add signature

  • published End The Waiting List History in End The List 2019-07-02 08:54:45 -0700

    End The Waiting List History

    The Waiting List is not just a recent problem.  We began this debate nearly 60 years ago as we worked to move people into community settings.  However, despite significant strides, we have left many Nebraskans without access to the vital care that they need.  Here are some of the many steps that have occurred in that time period.

    • 1850 – 1950
      • Institutional care began in Beatrice
        • Nebraska Institution for Feeble-Minded Youth, Beatrice State Home
      • Forced sterilization: no consent required
    • 1950 – 1960
      • Greater Omaha Association for Retarded Children (GOARC) founded
      • Nebraska Association for Retarded Children (NebARC) founded
    • 1960 – 1970
      • Governor Morrison created Interagency Committee on Mental Retardation (same happening at the national level)
      • Legislature established the Office of Mental Retardation within Department of Health
      • Lee Terry of KETV Channel 7 Documentary series on Beatrice State Home (Out of the Darkness)
      • Legislature passed 14 laws to provide for creation, funding & coordination of community-based programs throughout the state
    • 1970 – 1980
      • Eastern Nebraska Community Office of Retardation (ENCOR), first regional community services agency, formed by four county governments
      • Pilot Parents Program in Omaha by GOARC
      • Horacek v. Exon lawsuit
      • People First movement began
      • Individual Program Plan (IPP) process began
      • PL 94-142—Education for All Handicapped Children Act (later became IDEA)
    • 1980 – 1990
      • Home & community-based waiver services for children with mental retardation & their families approved for Nebraska
    • 1990 – 2000
      • ARC began quality review teams
      • Governor Nelson’s Blueprint for Action addressed the waiting list
    • 2000 – 2010
      • Waiting list grows
      • Conditions at Beatrice State Developmental Center are brought to light
      • Changes to services delivery
    • 2010 – present
      • Introduction of Managed Care
      • Establishment of Enable Savings Accounts
      • Historic Budget Cuts, Cuts to Transition Services, and various cuts to Medicaid lead to new struggles that have forced many to reconsider institutions
    • 2020
      • End the Waiting List