Grant money to help people with fetal alcohol syndromeTwo Duluth organizations are among seven statewide receiving thousands of dollars in grants to help people born with fetal alcohol syndrome find jobs.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Two Duluth organizations are among seven statewide receiving thousands of dollars in grants to help people born with fetal alcohol syndrome find jobs.
Goodwill Duluth and CHOICE, unlimited, both of which seek to provide work opportunities for adults facing challenges such as disabilities, recently learned they will receive grants from the St. Paul-based Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
The grant total for Goodwill is $30,000 and for CHOICE, unlimited it’s $25,000, said Kendra Gludt, the organization’s community grants manager. The grants are for one year.
Three Twin Cities agencies, one from Willmar and one from St. Cloud, also received grants from among 18 applicants, the state organization said in a news release. None of the grants was for more than $30,000.
Goodwill plans to use its grant to help 18 people with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASD, the agency said in a news release.
CHOICE, unlimited Executive Director Kristie Buchman wasn’t immediately available for a comment.
Nationally, one in every 100 babies is born with some sort of FASD, said Emily Gunderson, Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome communications director. They estimate that 8,500 babies in Minnesota are born each year with some level of prenatal alcohol exposure.
“All of those don’t obviously have a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, but all of them have been impacted at some level by some drinking by the mom during her pregnancy,” she said.
The impact on those with FASD can range from fairly minor to severe, Gunderson said, and can include physical, mental and behavioral disorders.
Many programs that help adults with developmental disabilities are limited to people with low IQs, and people with FASD often have normal IQs, she said.
Nonetheless, their ability to thrive is often impaired, Gunderson said. A University of Washington study in the 1990s found that 50 percent of adults with FASD had trouble finding a job, 60 percent had trouble keeping a job, and 80 percent had difficulty managing money and making decisions.
But those issues can be addressed, Gunderson said.
“An individual with an FASD can lead a very good and full life if they have the correct supports in place,” she said.
The review committee said it was just the strength of their proposals that resulted in two of the grant winners chosen being from the Northland, and nothing to do with their location.
The Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was founded in 1998 by Susan Carlson, wife of former Gov. Arne Carlson. Susan Carlson is still the organization’s president.
It has individual, corporate and foundation sponsors, but the bulk of its money comes from the Minnesota Department of Health, Gunderson said.
To learn more
CHOICE, unlimited: choiceunlimited.org
Goodwill Duluth: goodwillduluth.org
Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: mofas.org