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Advocates Awards Grants from Fred Gaspari Fund to Support Family Caregivers of Individuals with Disabilities

June 9, 2021

Advocates, a nonprofit human services provider, today announced that its Fred Gaspari Fund for Families has awarded grants to 21 families to help them care for a loved one with an intellectual or developmental disability.

Advocates, through the Gaspari Fund, awards grants of up to $500 to support a variety of needs that help make caregiving a little easier on families.  Recipients facing financial hardship typically use the grants to purchase home exercise equipment, medical devices, sensory items such as headphones or weighted blankets, education and career support, therapeutic activities such as horseback riding, and respite care.

“We recognize that caring for a loved one with a disability can be challenging under the best of circumstances,” said Jeff Keilson, senior vice president of strategic planning at Advocates.  “The Gaspari Fund grants, while modest, make a world of difference in supporting a specific family need and allowing a loved one to thrive.”

Current grantees include a family from Framingham who applied for a grant to purchase an adult tricycle that will allow their daughter to ride with friends and family.  The daughter has low muscle tone and balance challenges due to her conditions, which include a mitochondrial disorder and autism.  “She is now 18 and the little girl bikes are too small for her now,” said Sandra Rowe of Framingham.  “We want to give her the joy of riding with us and with her friends, as well as the independence that comes with controlling the speed and direction of a three-wheel bike.”

Another grantee, Philip Ferranti of Natick, requested a grant to create a food prep area for his adult son with autism, who has his own designated living space in the family home.  “There is an area where he can prep and store his own food, but we would like to put in a counter so he can have a small refrigerator, microwave and toaster,” Ferranti said.  “This way he can have a safe place to make his own food and be more independent.”

In the past decade, Advocates has received more than 400 applications and distributed $100,000 in grants to more than 200 families through the fund.

Advocates accepts applications from families across the MetroWest region, including the following communities: Acton, Ashland, Bellingham, Concord, Dover, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Marlborough, Maynard, Medfield, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millis, Natick, Needham, Newton, Northborough, Sherborn, Southborough, Stow, Sudbury, Upton, Waltham, Wayland, Wellesley, Westborough and Weston.

For more information about the Fred Gaspari Fund for Families, visit  To support the fund, visit to donate and direct your gift to The Fred Gaspari Fund.  All funds raised are distributed directly to families through the Gaspari Fund.