When The Arc’s Alumni Council was formed in 2017, it was envisioned as a gathering place for former employees and board members of The Arc’s national office, as well as local and state chapters. Nancy Webster is the founder and current chair of the council. She is also the former Board President of The Arc of The United States. As the Alumni Council founder, Nancy recognized that many former staff and volunteers were eager to remain engaged in The Arc’s network but were unsure how to contribute.
The Alumni Council provides a way to capture the rich experiences and knowledge of former employees and volunteers while keeping them connected to The Arc’s mission of supporting people with disabilities to be full members of their communities. Further, each alum offers unique skills, perspectives, and experiences that benefit the entire network, from chapters in small rural communities to those in bustling metropolitan areas.
In working with the council, Nancy said she had a goal of “reaching out to as many alumni as possible to invite them to engage with The Arc and other alums to support our mission, our chapters, and individuals.” This goal would be achieved by implementing several objectives:
- Advising state and local chapters of The Arc on management considerations, including governance, finance, strategic planning, best practices, sustainability, and more
- Serving as a think tank for risky questions, ideas, and concerns, as well as identifying the important battles and challenges on the horizon.
- Providing guidance to individuals with disabilities and/or their families around crucial issues, such as housing and future planning
In addition to Nancy, The Arc’s Alumni Council is currently supported by Kerry Mauger, Director of Special Projects at The Arc, with input from its 54 members. Current members bring a variety of experiences to the council based on their roles as former staff, volunteer leaders, committee members, and self-advocates.
The council strives to offer a variety of activities, including:
- Quarterly Zoom briefings which include policy updates
- Opportunities for members to mentor executives of state and local chapters of The Arc
- Eliciting member input on The Arc’s Strategic Plan and other documents
- Assisting individuals with disabilities in leadership roles
- Speaking engagements
- And more!
Nancy noted that, in the future, they hope to gather in person for networking opportunities at The Arc’s National Convention and other events, as well as create new activities based on member feedback. To aspiring members of the Alumni Council she says, “Jump in! We are delighted to have you.”
Kerry adds to this sentiment saying, “There are so many great advocates within our chapters, and the Alumni Council offers a way for us to continue to keep them engaged in our efforts to support people with disabilities, both locally and nationally.”
Steve Morgan became a council member after working for nearly 45 years at The Arc Baltimore, 32 of which he served as executive director. Upon retirement, he says he was anxious to “stay connected to The Arc both personally and professionally…since I had been very active with The Arc and the National Conference of Executives.”
If you are a former board member or employee of The Arc at the national, state, or local level and are looking for ways to stay engaged, check out the Alumni Council. Membership is free, and you can participate as little or as much as your schedule allows.