DRC Award

DRCAward.10.2012Maine’s Protection and Advocacy agency, the Disability Rights Center, honored KFI as their “Business of the Year”. Representatives from KFI’s Board, staff, and individuals supported attended the DRC’s annual meeting in Freeport and received the award which recognized KFI “for its exemplary work and for improving the lives of Maine citizens with disabilities.”


ANCOR Foundation Announces 2008 Community Builder Award Recipient

community-builder-award_smALEXANDRIA, VA. - The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) Foundation has selected KFI, Inc., of Millinocket, ME as recipient of its prestigious 2008 Community Builder Award in the Provider category. Since 2004, the ANCOR Foundation Community Builder Award has been a cornerstone of the Foundation's vision--a world where people with disabilities live well-supported, meaningful lives in the communities of their choice.

"The Community Builder Award enables us to highlight the outstanding contributions that are made by agencies and individuals in communities across the U.S. to support people with disabilities," said Bill Tapp, Chairman of the ANCOR Foundation Board of Trustees. "We should listen to and learn from these leaders so that together we can promote community inclusion for people with disabilities who are supported by organizations and entities throughout the country."

The winner of this year's Community Builder Award in the Provider category, KFI, was developed in the 1960s as a specialized school for individuals who were not being served in the public school system. Over the years, KFI has evolved into a robust, community-based organization supporting 100 adults with disabilities through residential and day supports. KFI creatively works with representatives from the housing, employment, civic, volunteer and recreation sectors to create meaningful opportunities for the people they support. KFI does not own any housing, each person served by their agency has his or her own residence, whether as a renter or homeowner.

One of the key components upon which nominees are judged is replicability of their model/program; and that clearly holds true for this year's recipient. KFI currently serves as a national mentor organization through the Training and Technical Assistance for Providers (T-TAP) grant, has consulted nationally on their conversion efforts and has a record of working with state agencies, providers, families and others to teach some of the strategies and "lessons learned" as they moved from a segregated to community-based settings. KFI's services have been cited by the University of Southern Maine, Boston's Institute for Community Inclusion and Syracuse University as exemplary models to consider.

KFI was awarded the Community Builder Award during ANCOR's Management Practices Conference and Trade Show on Monday, April 14, 2008, in New Orleans, LA, following a special breakout session where they shared their award-winning practices.


KFI receives national award

Full Community Inclusion award recognizes KFI's accomplishments in providing supports for people with disabilities to live, work and be part of their communities.

KFI was selected to receive the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disability's (AAIDD's) 1999 national Full Community Inclusion Award. The Full Community Inclusion Award recognizes "culturally responsive programs that have succeeded in full community inclusion and participation" of people with disabilities.

Angela Amado, Ph.D. nominated KFI for this award. Dr. Amado is Executive Director of the Human Services Research and Development Center of St. Paul, Minnesota, a highly regarded author, respected leader, and past Chairwoman of AAIDD's Community Services Division.

In her nomination Dr. Amado said that "KFI is an exemplary model in 5 unique and significant ways:"

  1. KFI has not let obstacles prevent them from pursuing their vision. They pride themselves on being able to do what other agencies say they cannot do.
  2. They ask, "What would we want if we were the consumer?" and believe that services should reflect what anyone would want and need.
  3. They have realized that money is not the obstacle, refuse to let regulations and funding mechanisms be their scapegoat, and realize that the greatest changes – like values and philosophy – cost nothing.
  4. They have realized that space determines services. They do not own or rent space that allows groups of people to gather and therefore services must occur in the community.
  5. They assist people to be part of the social fabric of their community through personal relationships, valued social roles, and participation in community organizations.

Dr. Amado said about KFI, "They stand as a model for belief and philosophy leading the transition from centralized, congregate services to completely individualized support and full community inclusion." She added that, "Today, KFI has no segregated or group activities or programs, owns no buildings, operates an inclusive preschool, and supports individuals to live, work and be part of their community." She concludes that "KFI is an exemplary model and has served as an inspiration to other agencies in their state, region and nationally. As one of their supporters notes, they are the 'real thing.'"

Included in Dr. Amado's nomination packet were nine letters of support from people who know KFI's work. Dr. Lucille Zeph, Director of the Center for Community Inclusion, University of Maine wrote, "KFI reflects the values and spirit of this prestigious award in their daily efforts to support individuals with developmental disabilities to become true members of their communities." Donald Trites, Ph.D., then Program Manager for Maine's Developmental Disability Services, added, "... having worked with the core values that underlie KFI, I give them my highest recommendation for the long standing commitment they have made, for their continual struggle to learn and grow...This is an organization that deserves AAIDD's recognition."

The mother of one of the people KFI assists wrote, "What initially impressed me was the comment that my son's apartment was 'his home', and that KFI would provide guidance and support for him to maintain his residence." The guardian of someone served by KFI added, "People do not have programs; they have lives. KFI staff are encouraged to work collaboratively to develop the kind of supports that each person needs to be truly individually connected to his/her community."

Those connected with KFI believe its success proves that any organization can reconfigure itself to become more responsive and respectful of the needs and desires of people with disabilities and can do it in a cost effective manner. AAIDD presented the Award to KFI at its annual conference in New Orleans in May 1999.


Workforce Achievement Awards

Workforce Achievement Awards are given to Maine businesses that have shown a strong commitment to either significantly increasing the number of people with disabilities within the workforce or employing people with disabilities for the first time. These awards are sponsored by Working Together – a group of Maine businesses and organizations helping Maine employers capitalize on an untapped source of employees:  individuals with disabilities.

Working Together is the Maine state affiliate for the U.S. Business Leadership Council (USBLN), a national organization that supports development and expansion of its BLN affiliates across the country, serving as their collective voice.  It is the only national disability organization led by business for business.  The USBLN recognizes and promotes best practices in hiring, retaining and marketing to people with disabilities.

The Workforce Achievement Award, also known as the “Just Do It” award, is intended to credit an employer that eagerly and enthusiastically begins diversifying its workforce by employing people with disabilities.

  The 2010 Workforce Achievement Award winner is:


Congratulations to Al and Linda Pangburn for the fine work this award represents.  Shown in the above photo (L to R) are Lee Hockridge, KFI Employment Specialist, Allan and Linda Pangburn, owners of Millinocket IGA Foodliner, and Jeff Hooke, KFI Vocational Coordinator. Lee and Jeff nominated the Pangburns for this award.

The 2009 Workforce Achievement Award winner was:


Shown in the above photo (L to R) are Jeff Hooke, Sterling “Boody” Osgood, and Lee Hockridge.  Jeff and Lee, employment services staff from KFI, nominated Mr. Osgood for this award.

 The 2008 Workforce Achievement Award winner was:
AL’S AUTO of Medway, Maine


Al Cimon (L) of Al’s Auto in Medway is seen here receiving his award from Karen Gordon Mills, a venture capitalist and president of MMP Group, Inc., who also serves as chair of Maine Governor John Baldacci’s Council on Competitiveness and the Economy.


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