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BBI Receives $6.2 Million Award for Southeast ADA Center to Advance Understanding of Disability Rights, Responsibilities

September 7, 2021
Source: Burton Blatt Institute Syracuse University, Southeast ADA Center

For the third time in 15 years, the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) has been awarded a five-year, $6.2 million grant to advance and support understanding of rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through its Southeast ADA Center.

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration on Community Living (ACL), National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

Based in Lexington, Kentucky, the Southeast ADA Center is one of 10 regional centers in the ADA National Network, providing information, training and guidance about the ADA throughout the eight state Southeast region. BBI provides the center with analyses of legal issues affecting the ADA as well as other resources such as “plain language” legal briefs written by Syracuse University College of Law students.

“The complexity of the issues facing the disability community is daunting, along with the increasing need for reliable information in the public domain. The Southeast ADA Center will continue to provide up-to-date, accurate and accessible information on all aspects of the ADA,” says Peter Blanck, University Professor at Syracuse University and chairman of BBI. “The center’s role is, perhaps, most important than ever in making a positive difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families by fostering ADA understanding and compliance.”

“In the next five years, the Southeast ADA Center will continue to be an important source for information on the ADA,” says Barry Whaley, project director and co-principal investigator. “In addition, we will engage in dynamic research exploring the intersectionality of race, ethnicity and disability across the domains of employment, technology equity and poverty.”

The Southeast ADA Center’s educational and advocacy work, providing ADA training, technical assistance, research and user-friendly information, reaches and supports more than one million stakeholders annually across the Southeast region. The renewed funding will allow the center to achieve multiple objectives, including:

  • Encouraging and supporting meaningful partnerships among the disability community, government, business and community organizations to facilitate ADA implementation
  • Improving and expanding training, technical assistance, and information dissemination that promotes voluntary compliance with the ADA
  • Empowering individuals across the diversity of disabilities and at the intersection of race, ethnicity, age and gender to increase understanding of ADA rights and responsibilities
  • Customizing and disseminating outreach materials to culturally and linguistically underserved populations, including Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), and Latinx communities
  • Conducting research that produces new knowledge and understanding of barriers to employment and economic self-sufficiency, to increase the civic and social participation of people with disabilities
  • Creating a comprehensive website with a searchable database that is regularly updated
  • Supporting advocacy and education among students and youth with disabilities

The new funding will support the center’s initiatives through 2026.

About the Southeast ADA Center

The Southeast ADA Center answers questions and provides training and information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The center, based in Lexington, Kentucky, serves an eight-state geographic region (AlabamaFloridaGeorgiaKentuckyMississippiNorth CarolinaSouth CarolinaTennessee) and has a network of partners in each state that includes Centers for Independent Living (CILs), individuals with and without disabilities, small and large employers and businesses, nonprofit organizations and universities, and state and local government agencies. The center is one of ten regional ADA centers in the ADA National Network.

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About the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI)

The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic and social participation of people with disabilities. BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, former dean of SU’s School of Education and a pioneering disability rights scholar, to better the lives of people with disabilities. BBI’s offices are in Syracuse; Washington, D.C.; Lexington, Kentucky; and New York.

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The contents of this announcement were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90DPAD0005-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this announcement do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. The information, materials, and/or technical assistance provided by the Southeast ADA Center are intended solely as informal guidance and are neither a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities under the Act, nor binding on any agency with enforcement responsibility under the ADA. The Southeast ADA Center does not warrant the accuracy of any information contained herein. Furthermore, in order to effectively provide technical assistance to all individuals and entities covered by the ADA, NIDILRR requires the Southeast ADA Center to assure confidentiality of communications between those covered and the Center. Any links to non-Southeast ADA Center information are provided as a courtesy, and are neither intended to, nor do they constitute, an endorsement of the linked materials. You should be aware that NIDILRR is not responsible for enforcement of the ADA. For more information or assistance, contact the Southeast ADA Center via the website at or call 404-541-9001 (voice).