ABOUT US

Our Mission

The Council engages in advocacy, system’s change and capacity building activities for people with developmental disabilities and their families in order to promote equal opportunity, self-determination, and community inclusion.

Background

The Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (NGCDD) is authorized in accordance with Public Law 106-402 of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act) and established under NRS 232.320 within the State of Nevada.  The Council  operates in partnership with the Nevada Disability and Advocacy Law Center  (NDALC) and the Nevada Center for Excellence on Disabilities (NCED) under the “Developmental Disabilities Network”. The NGCDD is funded annually by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) with matching funds of 25% appropriated by the Nevada Legislature. The Council operates on the Federal Fiscal Year Dates of October 1 through September 30th.

What We Do

The Council is committed to the development of a coordinated array of component services, supports and other assistance designed to achieve independence, productivity, integration and inclusion into the community for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). The Council does not participate in direct service activities as mandated by the DD Act. Key activities include conducting outreach, providing training and technical assistance, removing barriers, developing coalitions, encouraging citizen participation, and keeping policymakers informed about disability issues.

Our goals are based on gaps in service identified through the development of our FFY 2017-2021 5 year state plan based on Federal “Areas of Emphasis” as outlined in the DD Act. The DD Act allows the State Councils to determine the areas of emphasis upon which to focus. 

The Council accomplishes its goals through activities carried out by NGCDD staff and partnering with other established agencies and organizations to address areas of mutual concern through sub-grants to develop and implement projects that address innovative ways to fill service gaps and develop infrastructure for the State. Visit our Projects & Activities Page for more information on our current grants awarded and staff projects. 

Council Members

Council members are appointed by the Governor and include individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities; parents or family members of individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities; and individuals who represent agencies that provide services to people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Sixty percent (60%) of the Council must be made up of individuals with disabilities and/or parents of individuals with disabilities.

  1. Jodi Thornley – Council Chair, Parent
  2. Stephen Schumacher – Council Vice Chair, Advocate
  3. Vickie Ives – Title V of the SSA (Public and Behavioral Health)
  4. Jacob Arant – Advocate
  5. Lisa Bonie – Non Governmental Agency (NNCIL)
  6. Jenny Casselman – Parent
  7. Robbin Dunn – Parent
  8. Jennifer Frischmann – Title XIX of the SSA (Medicaid)
  9. Ron Futrell – Parent
  10. Aimee Hadleigh – Parent
  11. Shelley Hendren – Rehab Act of 1973 (Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation)
  12. Christi Hines-Coates – Department of Education
  13. Kathleen Kingston – Parent
  14. Russell Lehmann – Advocate
  15. Jack Mayes – Protection and Advocacy Agency (NDALC)
  16. Kimberly Palma-Ortega – Parent
  17. Cara Paoli – Older Americans Act of 1965 (aging and Disability Services Division)
  18. Brian Patchett – Non Governmental Agency (Easter Seals, NV)
  19. Santa Perez – Advocate
  20. Renee Portnell – Parent
  21. Robin Renshaw – Advocate
  22. Steve Rock – University Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED)
  23. David Sorensen – Advocate

Council Staff

Council Committees

  1. Executive Committee: Chair: Jodi Thornley, Members: Robbin Dunn, Kimberly Palma-Ortega, and Renee Portnell
  2. Evaluation Committee: Chair: Kimberly Palma-Ortega, Members: Aimee Hadleigh, Shelley Hendren, Jack Mayes, Santa Perez, Renee Portnell, Steve Rock, Jodi Thornley
  3. Budget Committee: Chair: Robbin Dunn Members: Mary Liveratti, Steve Rock, Jodi Thornley, Jason Kolenut, Jack Reid, Jenny Casselman, Russell Lehmann
  4. Legislative Committee: Chair: Renee Portnell, Members:  Lisa, Bonie, Erik Jimenez, Kathleen Kingston, Russell Lehmann, Jack Mayes, Brian Patchett, Santa Perez, Stephen Schumacher

Agendas and minutes of past Committee meetings can be found on our Event Calendar, Agendas and Meeting Minutes Page.

Where We’ve Been – A Look Back at Council Efforts

The Council is often a catalyst, connecting important resources, agencies and supports to one another in addition to organizing, participating in and funding projects that have a long term impact on disability services in Nevada. Past and present accomplishments could not have been possible without collaboration in partnership with ADD partners, state and government agencies, disability organizations and self-advocates.

Highlights of past initiatives include:

  • Almost half a million in funding for People First of Nevada since 2008. 
  • Person First Respectful Language Bill passed in 2007.
  • Over 200 Partners in Policymaking graduates.
  • Statewide Employment Policy Summit brought 31 agencies and 231 participants together in 2010, culminating in an Executive Order creating the Governor’s Task Force on Integrated Employment in 2014. Read more on our Integrated Employment in Nevada Page .
  • Creation of a Housing Data Base and leveraging $3,881,400 through a $60,000 NGCDD grant for affordable/accessible supported living apartments in 2004.
  • Nevada Autism Summit in 2005-2006. A 14 month project that led to the formation of a multidisciplinary Autism Assessment Team at UNR, a Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at UNLV and significant legislative action in our state. Read the report: Nevada Autism Summit report 2-14-07.
  • Rural Positive Behavioral Support training in 2008.
  • Sierra Nevada Transportation Coalition and Nevada Rural Transit Association 
  • First statewide Nevada Disabilities Conference in 2013 followed by one in 2015 
  • Let’s Build a World for Us All music video in 2013. Aimed to reduce the stigma of living with a disability. 
  • Self Advocacy Network of Nevada Project

Other Important Links

If you have further questions about the council, or becoming a council member, please email Ellen Marquez, Executive Assistant at emarquez@dhhs.nv.gov or call 775-684-8619.