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Portlight History

 

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Portlight Strategies, Inc. was founded in 1997 as a 501(c)(3) organization and led by Paul Timmons to facilitate a variety of projects involving people with disabilities, including post-disaster relief work, and to foster inclusive disaster planning and response for all people with disabilities. 

Portlight’s core values of equal access, inclusion and independence are fully embedded in the Partnership’s mission. 

Portlight Disaster Response History: 

Portlight Strategies responded to countless disasters, emergencies, and crisis over the decades, including: 

  • In 2003, established a disability hub for all disability-related needs after the war in Iraq, providing durable medical equipment and consumable medical supplies. 
  • In 2005, provided durable medical equipment, consumable medical supplies, and humanitarian aid for people with disabilities and older adults in several U.S. states in response to Hurricane Katrina. 
  • In 2008, provided durable medical equipment, consumable medical supplies, and humanitarian aid for people with disabilities and older adults in several U.S. states in response to Hurricane Ike.
  • In 2010, provided durable medical equipment, consumable medical supplies, and humanitarian aid to people with disabilities and older adults in response to the earthquake in Haiti. 
  • In 2013, Portlight’s longest-running disaster recovery effort followed the 2012  devastation of Superstorm Sandy in the shore communities of New Jersey and parts of New York City and lasted for 18 months. During that time, Portlight replaced lost durable medical equipment and ramping, and assisted residents in purchasing and installing accessibility equipment that was made necessary after their homes were elevated to meet federal flood insurance requirements.
  • In 2017, deployed a team of disabled first responders to Puerto Rico immediately after Hurricane Maria to provide disability-related relief and humanitarian aid, and systems advocacy for equal access for people with disabilities by assisting in establishing the Puerto Rico Disability Community Relief Network.
  • In 2019, deployed a team of disabled first responders to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian to empower disability community resilience, and supplied durable medical equipment and consumable medical supplies to people with disabilities and older adults. 

Portlight Establishes The Partnership: 

In 2016, Portlight Strategies founded the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies., serving as The Partnership’s fiscal sponsor from 2016-2019. 

The Partnership was established and led by Paul Timmons in his role as Portlight Board Chair and Marcie Roth as The Partnership’s Executive Director to focus on the rights of people with disabilities before, during and after disasters and public health emergencies, The Partnership has always been the only U.S. disability led organization focused exclusively on disability-inclusive emergency management, community organizing, policy, advocacy, technical assistance and training. The Partnership is one of only two global organizations with this distinction, The Partnership and Ong Inclusiva work in close collaboration.

The Partnership, our members and partners lead change, navigate complex systems and eliminate barriers to equal access to emergency and disaster programs and services for people with disabilities and people with access and functional needs across the US and globally.

The Partnership absorbs Portlight’s Direct Disaster Relief Functions: 

In 2019, The Partnership received its 501(c)3 recognition under the IRS, and Portlights’ legacy of direct disaster relief functions were absorbed into The Partnership as our “Portlight Relief Division.”

The torch was passed on to Germán Parodi and Shaylin Sluzalis to lead The Partnership as Co-Executive Directors. 

Paul Timmons with the support of Germán and Shaylin formed a Board of Directors for The Partnership in September 2019 with Valerie Novack as Board President, Katie Pechon as Board Secretary, and Marcie Roth as Board Member. 

The Partnership’s Portlight Relief Division: 

Provides direct and immediate assistance for disaster impacted people with disabilities, older adults, and people with access and functional needs. Led by, for and with people with disabilities, access and functional needs, and cross sectorial and multiply marginalized communities. 

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