2015 CCDC Report to the Community


CCDC Logo, Nothing about us, without us!!!


2015 CCDC Report to the Community

Picture of the Colorado Fourteener Mountains










Our Mission:


Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition Advocates for Social Justice

for People with All Types of Disabilities. 



Letter from the Executive Director


In our 2014 Annual Report to the Community, I started off by saying it was hard to believe it was already 2015…well guess what, we are in 2016 and I cannot tell you how quickly the time ha s flown over the past 12 months around CCDC.

Picture of CCDC Executive Director Julie Reiskin (far left) with CCDC Non-Attorney Advocate and IT Manager, Jose Torres-Vega (far right) and CCDC Executive Assistant, Marlene Murillo (center)


One HUGE thing happened for Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC). We moved to a bigger and better office building on November 23! We have our kinks to work out still, but they are not too bad – the office space is wonderful!  We worked with Denver Shared Spaces who helped find us this awesome place…so from 655 Broadway to 1385 S. Colorado Boulevard…and we have great neighbors we share the suite with…two other nonprofits. Parking is ample; elevators are always working. There’s a small area to sit and enjoy breaks outside – with a nice grassy spot…lots of food choices in the area; AND we have a kitchen and conference rooms! 


So from here                                             to here

  Picture of CCDC's Old Office     Picture of CCDC's New Office







I remember when we were on East Colfax all those years ago and when CCDC moved to Broadway…staff at that time thought it was a home run and while it was, now I think I will say everyone feels like it is a grand slam!  Special thanks to Marlene Murillo, our Executive Assistant, who worked tireless to make the move as seamless as possible.

Organizational accomplishments

*         In July 2015, held one of the nation’s largest celebrations of the ADA’s 25th Anniversary, with hundreds (about 700 Coloradans) in attendance at Denver’s Civic Center Park.

    Develop a new strategic plan for 2016-2020

*     Planned for and managed an unexpected move in November.

*    Completed the Social Enterprise Training through the Colorado Nonprofit Social Enterprise Exchange.  Our Social Enterprise is a plan to expand our legal program and provide needed Probate Law services on a fee for service basis. Stay tuned for our opening announcement.

*    Held a successful three-day intensive statewide leadership training for 50 leadership in the disability community.  This was a kickedoff of a year-long project that involves individual and group leaning goals.

*    CCDC also provide cultural competency training, education and consultation for professionals to enhance their ability to work with people who have disabilities.   We worked closely with Rocky Mountain Health Plans and trained 14 practices.  We were thrilled to recruit Dr. Kimberley Jackson, M.O., a physician with a disability as a volunteer non-attorney advocate.  Her guidance and help has been invaluable.

Another big KUDOS to Dawn Howard and Kenneth Maestas – they have gone the extra mile working hard with our fellow cohort members in the Colorado Trust’s Health Equity Advocacy Program (in its second Phase). We are proud to work alongside 16 other great organizations to confront racial inequity in health care.

Dawn and Kenny also worked hard with Board Vice Chair Josh Winkler and our amazing legislative advocates and allies to accomplish some 2016 legislative victories.  CCDC member Maureen Welch was a tireless advocate and leader for CCB transparency (SB 38).  Julie Farrar, Bob Lawhead and Josh Winkler did great work rescuing SB 77 on Employment First and we are thrilled that the work of Charlene Willey and other parents resulted in SB 192 that will force a reasonable assessment process into the Developmental Disability System.  

CCDC continues to offer our Basic Advocacy Training program.  Sheryle Hutter beautifully facilitates all of these – identifying superb guest speakers and expert instructors for each of the three 8-week sessions offered throughout the year.  If you want to learn more – contact Sheryle.  This class is step one in becoming one of our volunteer advocates!

We now have a youth advocate – her name is Caitlin Brady – she is working hard with Donna Sablan, our Individual Advocacy Director.  We’re grateful not only for Caitlin’s contributions.

Our individual advocacy team is growing and we are thrilled to welcome Michelle McHenry Edrington to the team.  The whole team deserves great praise for their daily work as they address increasingly complex situations, thanks to Kristen Castor, Tom Carter, Heather Morrow and Jaime Lewis in Denver.  Of course, Donna’s outstanding leadership makes it all possible.  This amazing team worked on 404 issues in information and referral advocacy.  We also worked on 171 long-term individual advocacy cases, for a grand total of 575 issues addressed.  In comparison, in 2014, we addressed 327 issues with information and referral advocacy, working on another 154 complex long-term cases.

Our Legal Department continues to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act.  As you know we have been going back and forth with the Abercrombie Fitch/Hollister case.  Check out our website for the interesting story in this case.  Other settled cases addressed hotel shuttle wheelchair accessibility, point of sale accessibility for people who are Blind, and effective communication with health care and law enforcement personnel for people who are Deaf.   Our gratitude to the entire Legal team, Kevin Williams, Andrew Montoya and Lauren Haefliger.  We are sad to say goodbye to Lauren as she departs in May 2016 to attend law school –but thrilled the legal profession will have someone with her brains and ethics amongst their ranks.  We welcome Tram Ha as our new legal assistant. 

We are almost done with a new database designed by CiviCore. This will improve the quality and decrease the quantity of our member alert system.   We do need everyone to join CCDC using the NEW database so if you are a member and have not re-joined please join as soon as possible…by clicking on this link: http://www.ccdconline.org/node/425 – it will go directly to our new database.  If you are not yet a member then please join—membership is free.  Thank you Jose and staff for making this a reality!

Evaluation projects have been in the making – we are always working on how to improve the functionality of CCDC – more to come!

Picture of Julie in Puerto Rico surrounded by individuals at SER (for its meaning in Spanish)

Marlene and I went to Puerto Rico this year as a learning excursion – while not part of 2015, it was a trip important to mention.  There are some good things going on for some rotten reasons. As you may know, I am on the board of the The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in Washington, DC. It was such a treat to go there to see how things are being done at the Legal Services of Puerto Rico offices and also see the disability center of their prominent University of Sacred Heart. It was an eye opener to say the least…LSPR has been in a tough fight helping indigenous people keep their homes.  One example we witnessed was how a local government tried to trick a group of villagers into selling their homes, then failed, they just forced them out.

Julie with three individuals in Puerto Rico

While we were there visiting that neighborhood, in fact, the police would pass by very slowly to see if they could intimidate and scare away those of us who were visiting.  .  While there, we were treated like royalty…by the Executive Director, Mrs. Hadassa Santini and her staff – as well as from Michael Rosado who set up the meetings at the university.

Accompanying this story of the trip are a few pictures; the third one below is the remains of what was once a small home to a now-displaced family, I know I have mentioned a lot of positive change –but cannot close without letting everyone know that we hired a new Evaluation and Development Director.  For those of you who have not met her yet, her name is Laura Gabbay. She comes with many years of field knowledge…and I feel she will help us make CCDC stronger – welcome, Laura!  We hired Laura after Jerry Frangas left us in September to pursue work in the criminal justice advocacy world.

Picture of house that was demolished in Puerto Rico

My deepest thanks to our entire staff, including Ron Hutter, our event assistant, Tom Carter, our receptionist, Joe Beaver our controller and Jose Torres-Vega who is not only our IT manager extraordinaire but, one of our fiercest non-attorney advocates.





Julie's Signature

Julie Reiskin

Executive Director


About CCDC

CCDC Advocates gathered at the Colorado State Capitol


The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition was founded in 1990 and since then, we have been working towards making Colorado the best place for people with disabilities to live.

Nearly 1 in 5 people have a disability in the United States, according to the Census Bureau (2012 data).  That is almost 57 million people. People in the oldest age group — 80 and older — were about eight times more likely to have a disability as those in the youngest group — younger than 15 (71 percent compared with 8 percent). The probability of having a severe disability is only one in 20 for those ages 15 to 24, while it is one in four for those ages 65 to 69.  This is important because the population of older adults in Colorado is expected to grow enormously in the next decade.


In the year 2013, almost 30% of people with disabilities lived below the poverty line!! Remember the poverty line is way below what one needs to actually survive.  CCDC is increasing our focus on addressing the overwhelming and disproportionate poverty that plagues too many people with disabilities, especially people with disabilities who are African American and Native American. Further, in the world of disability advocacy, change is a constant.   The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a great example of how much can change rapidly in just health care.  Our membership is generally relies on Medicaid; the ACA changed Medicaid in many ways.  While much of the change is positive, any change done without thoughtful processes, testing, and involving affected parties in the process can cause severe barriers.  Identifying and eliminating such barriers to and disparities in health care for people with disabilities is urgent and important.

Our Programs

CCDC Board Vice Chair Josh Winkler is pictured here at the 2015 ADA Access Awards Luncheon with a friend (on the left).

The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition is the largest statewide disability rights organization.  Cross-Disability is a philosophy that means we believe that people with different types of disabilities have more in common than not and that we do best working together.

CCDC is a membership organization. Membership is free to anyone who believes in our mission which is to advocate for social justice for people with all types of disabilities.

We have three basic areas of work:


Legal Services


CCDC regularly sets goals and evaluates our accomplishments.  For a complete list of our 2015 goals and accomplishments, please email Director of Evaluation and Development, Laura Gabbay, at lgabbay@ccdconline.org and she will provide them.  A few examples of our accomplishments include:

We set out to train 20 new advocates but trained 27—out of that class 19 met all requirements for certification in the calendar year. 

We addressed systemic barriers in the Medicaid Buy In Program and changed the practice of back billing for premiums.   We have represented numerous people addressing individual problems, at our request HCPF has sent out numerous communications telling counties again and again that people can have Buy In and Long Term Services and that there is no asset requirement for Buy In. We continue to have problems with Buy-In.  It is like the game “Whack a Mole;” we solve one problem and others pop up.  

We continue to deal with inappropriate noticing on Medicaid issues and will participate in an interim committee this summer to try to fix the problems—or at least some of the problems.  We helped address confusing notices related to the ACA and tax filing this year.   We are grateful for our partnership with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy and Colorado Legal Services addressing the many problems with due process and Medicaid. 

We helped stop a disastrous cut at the federal level for durable medical equipment.  We also continue to work on quality improvement with wheelchair repair issues. 

We facilitated an amazing group of parents to present to the Joint Budget Committee on the real life horrors of the Supports Intensity Scale—the result of their excellent presentation was SB 16-192. 

We worked with others to fight off attempts to hurt the Consumer Directed Attendant Support Services Program.   We continue to push for consumer direction in all waivers for all services and for In Home Support Services to be available to people in any waiver.

Read the Complete Report:

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