{New Program} Project Mariposa: Granting 50 iPads in 50 Weeks

We are beyond excited and thrilled to announce theGSF's newest initiative: “Project Mariposa.” Project Mariposa has a simple mission: to make the world more accessible to those with severe disabilities through targeted technology product grants. Mariposa is butterfly in Spanish — theGSF's signature symbol — and like a butterfly emerging from it's cocoon, Project Mariposa will help those with disabilities to spread their wings.

Project Mariposa will initially focus on granting iPads to those impacted by Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) — 50 iPads in 50 weeks. Yep, you read that right — theGSF will be granting FIFTY iPads in FIFTY weeks. Funding has already been secured and we are accepting applications NOW. These incredible devices, coupled with the growing application library that accompanies them, are literally life-changing in assisting with communication, education, and independence. The iPad is opening up new avenues that were previously impossible. It's large screen size, light weight, portability, and featherlight touch screen make access to education, entertainment, and independence possible and in some cases it is allowing children to communicate for the first time in their lives. Its impact is truly incredible.

BACKGROUND >> In June 2010, the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation granted two iPads to two children with SMA. The iPads were relatively new at the time but were already being applauded for their remarkable ease and achievements provided to those with disabilities. Nothing like this had been offered in the SMA community previously and we were blown away by the response. The application stories were simply beautiful. While we were thrilled to grant two iPads, giving one in person at the annual SMA conference, it was also disheartening to not be able to give more. We knew then that providing truly impactful support was something we wanted theGSF to do on a larger scale, long-term. On the personal side, Gwendolyn was gifted an iPad from a very generous friend and we saw firsthand how it changed her life. In fact that gift is what prompted the initial two iPad grants from theGSF. For the first time Gwendolyn's ever-so-slight finger movements could have a big impact and she felt in control, independent, and so proud. Since that time, the apps available in the iPad store have ballooned and now the possibilities are truly endless. The iPad is far more than entertainment for families impacted by disabilities. While independent play (an enormous challenge with SMA) is AMAZING, what is even more incredible is hearing your child say, “I love you”  for the first time. Now that is life-changing for the entire family.

  • WHAT >> theGSF is granting 50 iPads in 50 weeks. In addition to an iPad, each Project Mariposa grant recipient will receive a $50 gift card to the Apple iTunes store to begin building their app library and will receive a FREE download of theGSF's “Say Hi! AAC” communication app (launching in 2012).
  • WHEN >> Applications are now being accepted. Grant recipients will be announced beginning Friday, February 3, 2012. One grant recipient will be announced each week via theGSF Facebook Fan Page.

An enormous THANK YOU to all the many, many people who have supported the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. It is because of your support and your belief in us and our mission that we are able to create programs such as this. Please know that you are making an incredible difference.

Want to see Project Mariposa grow beyond the initial 50 iPads? Become an official Project Mariposa Sponsor. Click HERE for details.