Attention Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (and Family Members)

The Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council provides funds for individuals who are legal residents of Massachusetts with developmental disabilities and/or a family member or guardian to attend conferences or other events in Massachusetts or another state. Applications must be received and approved before the event. The Council will respond to requests based on set program guidelines.

Council Empowerment Funds

The goal of this program is to promote the empowerment of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families by assisting them in their efforts to achieve independence, productivity and inclusion.

If you would like to receive more information, please call, write or email:

Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council
Attn: Harold Lieberman
100 Hancock Street
Second Floor, Suite 201
Quincy, MA 02171
Phone: (617) 770-7676 ext. 115
Fax: (617) 770-1987

Please note that in all categories, individuals will not receive funds to attend conferences or other events specifically related to their professions.

How Much Can I Apply For?

In order to extend Council Empowerment Funds to as many people as possible, the following limits apply:

  • One event per person/family per year for up to $500.00 maximum.
  • The Council will provide a maximum of $2,000 per event regardless of how many people apply.

Definition of Developmental Disabilities

A "developmental disability", as defined in federal law, is a severe, chronic, often lifelong disability that causes substantial limitations in several major life activities such as: self care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, the capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. It is attributable to a mental, emotional, sensory, and/or physical impairment that is apparent before the age of twenty-two.


Who Can Apply?

  • An individual with a developmental disability.
  • A family member of an individual with a developmental disability.
  • A guardian of an individual with a developmental disability.

What Types of Events May I Attend?

Eligible events include:

  • Training in self-advocacy, educating policymakers and citizen leadership skills.
  • Training to obtain access to services, supports and other assistance.
  • Parent training and information under Part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other federally funded projects that assist parents of children with developmental disabilities.

How Do I Apply?

Complete the application and attach a copy of the brochure/application for the event and a brief summary describing how attending the conference or event will benefit you and/or others. Mail it to the attention of the Council Empowerment Funds Program at the address above.

Download the Mail-in Application Form (MS WORD -42K) doc format of Empowerment Fund Application Form

What Am I Required To Do? When Will I Get Reimbursed?

If you are approved for Council Empowerment Funds, an award letter and a post-event survey will be sent to you. You will be reimbursed for expenses you have been approved for and paid receipts must accompany expenses for reimbursement. Per the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 7, Section 28; reimbursement for meals is a maximum of $30.00 per day. If your own vehicle is being used for transportation, mileage is calculated at $0.45 per mile and odometer readings must accompany cost. Tolls are not reimbursable. Please Note: Reimbursement for both parking and mileage cannot be submitted. You can submit expense reimbursement for the greater of the two. Education materials, including books and videos, are not reimbursable. Reimbursements must be submitted within 30 days following the event and must be accompanied with the W9 Form and the completed post-event survey.

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council.