Abilis Gets $3.78 Million to Help People with Disabilities in Southwestern Fairfield County

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Abilis, a nonprofit that provides services and support to more than 800 people with disabilities and their families in southwestern Fairfield County, has been given a $3.78 million grant from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation.

— an announcement from Abilis

The grant will support Abilis’ expansion in Fairfield County with the purchase of a building on the West Side section of Stamford. The 78 Harvard Ave. property will be sold to Abilis by its current owner, Baywater Properties of Darien.

Education, programs and services for those with disabilities will be offered in the 26,000 square foot building, which is close to Exit 6 on Interstate 95.

78 Harvard Ave Stamford exterior

Photo from the Baywater Properties website

The building has been used for offices, according to the Baywater Properties website.

“Abilis is thrilled and so grateful to accept this grant from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation for the purchase of 78 Harvard Ave. and the expansion of our services in Stamford,” said Amy Montimurro, CEO and president of Abilis.

“This grant will enable us to expand our current programs and supports to families who have been waiting for services,” said Amy Montimurro, CEO and president of Abilis. “We are delighted to be able to provide our community members supports in a beautiful, remodeled building that is accessible and suited for individuals of all abilities.

Montimurro said the grand will help Abilis “provide even greater value to individuals and their families. We will be able to meet each person where they are and support those who would benefit from continued education, career counseling, vocational development, and a therapeutic environment to meet individual needs.

She said the future The Cohen Abilis Advancement Center will offer a memory unit for Abilis’ aging population, the Supported Typing/STeP program, and space for music, art, cooking, dance and fitness programs for all ages.

The building at 78 Harvard Ave. is currently owned by 78 Harvard Associates, LLC, an affiliate of Baywater Properties. Baywater will be renovating the building for the organization before selling the property to Abilis. The goal is to have the building renovated and retrofitted for accessibility by the fall of 2024.

“The Cohen Abilis Advancement Center will provide more than double the space we currently have in our Greenwich headquarters for even more programs and services to enhance the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Montimurro said. She said the new location is “the fulfillment of years of planning.”

Abilis’ headquarters and Greenwich-based programs and services will remain in its Greenwich headquarters on Glenville Street, Montimurro said. The Harvard Avenue building will be the organization’s second location in Stamford, after The Therapy Center at Abilis on Summer Street.

The Cohen Abilis Advancement Center will have an accessible, open floor plan across two floors and focus on Abilis’ mission to provide customized services and supports for those with disabilities from birth throughout their lifespan.

The Center will offer customized additional services to Abilis’ LEAP transitions program, a memory center, career center, day habilitation center, administrative space, recreational space, computer technology training, Assisted Typing/STeP program, cooking, music, fitness, art expression and more.

“People of all abilities should have a place where they feel welcomed and encouraged to thrive,” said Alex Cohen, president of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. “We are proud to support Abilis’ efforts to reach even more individuals and families in our community.”

More About Abilis, the Cohen Foundation

Abilis is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports more than 800 individuals with disabilities and their families from birth throughout their lives. Founded in 1951, Abilis is a leader in providing meaningful supports to the community in Fairfield County, Connecticut, in towns including Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford, Westport and Wilton.

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, based in Stamford, was founded in 2001 by Steven Cohen, a hedge fund billionaire and owner of the New York Mets, and his wife, Alex, of Greenwich.

The foundation aims to inspire “philanthropy and community service by creating awareness, offering guidance, and leading by example to show the world what giving can do,” according to the news release announcing the new location. “The foundation’s grants support nonprofit organizations based in the United States that either help people in need or solve complex problems. The Foundation has provided over $1 billion of charitable support.”

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