FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – After nearly 13 years in Fort Wayne, AWS Foundation has moved into a new building.
As you drive by 5323 Jefferson Blvd., you’ll see a new, modern building that looks like your typical office. But as soon as you step through the door, you quickly learn that it’s much more than that.
The nearly 8,000 sq. foot facility features a variety of design elements that emphasize accessibility for people of all abilities. That includes seamless thresholds, extra wide doorways, hard floors, and an open concept that allows for easier access to people using wheelchairs.
“As we constructed our new home, we wanted to show how small modifications can go beyond supporting accessibility to promote inclusion and collaboration,” Patti Hays, AWS Foundation CEO said. “Everyone benefits from the many contributions diversity brings by welcoming and engaging people of all abilities in the workplace and community. We hope to share our experience with others as they look for ways to implement inclusive design.”
The facility also includes a fun and unique sensory room, a wall that shows every organization AWS Foundation has given a grant to, and a multi-use lecture room with desktops of varying heights.
Guests will also find a variety of art work throughout the building that showcase examples of creativity and opportunities for people of all abilities. That includes a wall covered in wallpaper with words printed in braille all over it.
All of the special features were on full display Tuesday evening as AWS Foundation employees, city leaders, and other community members attended an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony. It was a packed house as hundreds of people took their chance to see how the organization would continue its mission with the new building.
“We are excited about the possibilities that our new building brings to advance our mission,” said Larry Adelman, AWS Foundation Board Chair. “It not only shows our lasting commitment as advocates for and with individuals of all abilities, its universal design is a model of inclusion for everyone.”
Since it was founded nearly 13 years ago, AWS Foundation has awarded over $27 million dollars in grants to provide financial support for organizations throughout Northeast Indiana that help children and adults with enduring intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities.
Now its building will act as a shining example of how to put those ideals into practice.
To learn more about AWS Foundation and the work it does throughout Northeast Indiana, visit https://awsfoundation.org/