Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Grant to Support Hurricane/Natural Disaster Relief Efforts for People With Disabilities

June 3, 2010

CHARLESTON, SC – June 1, 2010 – The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation has awarded a Quality of Life Grant in the amount of $21,500.00 to Portlight Strategies, Inc. The grant will fund a ready-to-deploy container specifically outfitted to serve the immediate needs of people with disabilities in the aftermath of hurricanes and other domestic natural disasters.

The container will be staged at Portlight’s suburban Atlanta warehouse. Contents will include two-week supplies of food and water, essential medical supplies and durable medical equipment, a kitchen, accessible tents, etc.

Conceived by the late Dana Reeve in 1999, the Quality of Life program awards grants twice yearly to organizations that help people living with disabilities become more fully integrated members of society. To date, over 1,700 grants have been awarded totaling over $13 million.

This grant – the largest Quality of Life Grant of the current cycle – continues a long partnership between the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Portlight Strategies and recognizes the importance of Portlight’s National Sponsor, Weather Underground, Inc.

In the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Portlight received a $15,000 Reeve Foundation grant to support relief efforts for people with disabilities along the Gulf Coast. After the earthquake in Haiti, Portlight received a $10,000 Reeve Foundation grant to support efforts on behalf of people with disabilities there.

People with disabilities are often the people most severely impacted by natural disasters – and are often overlooked by large relief agencies, said Paul Timmons, Jr., Portlight Strategies, Inc., Board Chair. This grant will assure our ability to effectively serve those needs. We appreciate this continued show of faith from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

Portlight also responded to the needs of people with disabilities, as well as other underserved populations, along the Texas Gulf Coast following the impact of Hurricane Ike in 2008. This response was made possible by the support of Weather Underground, Inc., and hundreds of weather enthusiasts from the website.

With the tropics primed to bring us what could be an unusually severe Atlantic hurricane season, said Jeff Masters, Ph.D., Director of Meteorology for Weather Underground, this year, the timing of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s award to Portlight couldn’t be better.

The Quality of Life program recognizes and supports organizations that assist individuals living with paralysis, their families and caregivers in ways that more immediately provide them with increased independence, well-being, and improved access, said Peter T. Wilderotter, president and CEO of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. In this case, Portlight has demonstrated its leadership in responding to the specific needs of people with disabilities in the aftermath of natural disasters. We are proud of our continued partnership. This grant was funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Award #1U59DD000338).

About Portlight Strategies

Portlight Strategies, Inc., is a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 1997 by people with disabilities for the purpose of building community among people with disabilities.

About Weather Underground

The world’s first online weather service, Weather Underground is committed to delivering the most comprehensive, reliable weather information possible including sophisticated hurricane tracking services. The company’s state-of-the-art technology monitors conditions and forecasts for locations across the world. With over 17 thousand users contributing local observations from personal weather stations, Weather Underground is able to provide up-to-the-minute weather conditions for the most finely targeted areas through its web site

About the Reeve Foundation

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. For more information please visit our website at or call 800-225-0292.