In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the stories of the four champions we will be honoring at our Leading by Example gala on March 27. We will be recognizing several special people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are making a difference: teaching the next generation of doctors; advocating at the State House for much-needed services and funding; and educating the community. You can follow along with these stories right here.
Anne Fracht has spent her professional life advocating for increasing the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. She describes herself as a very passionate person who is dedicated to the cause of teaching people how to advocate for themselves. She likes to see positive change made in the world for individuals with disabilities, so that they can be more in charge and make decisions that will help them live a full life in the community.
Currently, Anne is the Self-Advocacy Coordinator for Advocates, Inc., a job that allows her to put her greatest passion into practice every day. Through her work at Advocates, Anne has built a community for herself that is full of self-advocates – a community of individuals in need of support, who are also willing to go above and beyond to provide the necessary supports that others may need.
In addition to her role at Advocates, Anne plays a major role on the boards and committees of several leading advocacy organizations. She is the Chairperson of Mass Advocates Standing Strong (MASS), a statewide organization committed to self-advocacy. She is a member of the board of Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare Rights (DAAHR), a coalition dedicated to ensuring improvements in health care options for individuals with disabilities.
She sits on the Board of Directors of the Disability Law Center of Massachusetts, a federally-mandated protection and advocacy (P&A) system agency that works to protect individuals with disabilities from abuse and neglect. She also serves as one of the representatives of the New England region on the board of Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), the United States’ national self-advocacy organization, and she recently attended their national meeting in Phoenix.
Anne has a lengthy history with The Arc of Massachusetts. She was previously a member of the Greater Boston Arc, and she was one of the major players in the planning committee for the Tools for Tomorrow project, one of the first future planning projects for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Massachusetts. When asked about The Arc’s personal meaning in her life, she was proud to proclaim that, “The Arc has always supported me through everything that I’ve done,” noting with particular pride The Arc’s ongoing commitment to providing person-centered planning and advocating for self-determination and supported decision-making.
Outside of her advocacy and education efforts, Anne enjoys spending time with her calico cat and listening to classic R&B music. When she looks back on her lengthy career in advocacy, Anne is far and away most proud of her part in the efforts to get the name of the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR) changed to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), as well as her role in securing the closure of the Fernald School. In the next five years, she hopes to retire from working full time, but she will always remain committed to her advocacy roots.
Written by Katerina Daley, Development and Digital Media Associate
The Arc of Massachusetts 2019 gala, Leading by Example, will be held on March 27. To learn more, purchase tickets, or become a sponsor, please visit the official gala webpage.