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Susan Tachau

PA ABLE Turns 5!

Please join PATF in celebrating the fifth anniversary of the PA ABLE Savings Program.

PA ABLE helps Pennsylvanians with disabilities and their families save safely.

Since the first PA ABLE accounts opened five years ago, Pennsylvanians have saved nearly $72 million for current and future expenses, including assistive technology, education, housing, transportation, health care, financial management, and more.

The program provides a tax-free way to save without affecting eligibility for critical means-tested benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (up to $100,000) or Medical Assistance.

Learn how to set up an ABLE account here.

“Having the ability to save through the ABLE program provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to escape the cycle of poverty that is so often their reality. The ABLE program can make it possible for people with disabilities to be empowered to have greater control over their financial future.”
– Susan Tachau, PATF CEO

This month, our CEO, Susan Tachau, joined PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity, Senator Lisa Baker (R-20), Sherri Landis of The ARC of PA, and other disability advocates in Harrisburg to mark PA ABLE’s fifth anniversary. Read the full News Release.

PATF’s Financial Capability Resources

April is Financial Capability Month so now is a great time to check out our interactive and accessible financial education website. The website is a companion to our book, Cents and Sensibility: A Guide to Money Management. Explore our financial education resources.

Financial education is the key for living independently and access to this information is crucial. With these financial capability tools, people have a solid foundation for success.

In recognition of our financial education work, we were awarded the Non-Profit Organization of the Year 2021 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Award.

Planning for the Future

PATF’s Board of Directors adopted a three-year Strategic Plan Framework, placing equal focus on our four programs: financial loans, information and assistance, financial education, and advocacy.

Additionally, PATF is working on succession planning as CEO Susan Tachau will be transitioning to a new role as Innovations Officer at PATF in September.

PATF has also launched a DEI+A initiative, which includes an internal audit, recommendations for individual and organizational growth, and learning sessions on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility.

Smart Homes Made Simple Webinar Draws International Attention

In 2021, we published Smart Homes Made Simple: Your Guide to Smart Home Technology and launched Smart Homes Made Simple to help the disability community learn about mainstream smart home devices and how they can be financed. In March of this year, PATF hosted a smart home webinar, Real Life Stories: Using Smart Home Technology for Independence, with more than 500 attendees from around the world!

Upcoming Events

The Center for Independent Living of Central PA is hosting a free Youth-Adult Wheelchair Basketball Clinic on Saturday, May 14. PATF’s Outreach Director, Wendy Davis, will be there and can talk more about how PATF can help people with purchasing adapted sports equipment. Learn more about this event.

Disability Pride PA kicks off Disability Pride Philadelphia Week with a flag-raising at City Hall on Monday, June 6 at 3:00 pm. The parade takes place on Saturday, June 11. Get more details.

The Technology Enhancing Capabilities Virtual Conference will be held on Wednesday, June 22. PATF CEO Susan Tachau will be joined by Michael Anderson, Alexa Brill, and George Russo, as they discuss how they use smart home technology to live safer and with greater independence. Additional information.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Susan Tachau, Co-Founder and CEO of PATF, to Transition to a New Role in September 2022
Message from Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF)

In September of this year, Susan Tachau will be stepping down as CEO of PATF. In her new role as PATF’s Innovation Officer, Susan will work on special projects and advocacy activities.

To help with this transition, PATF is developing a new Strategic Plan and a comprehensive, state-of-the-art brand book — both of which will help guide the organization into the future.

PATF is now accepting applications for their next CEO. Read the job description and share with your networks.

Interested applicants should send a cover letter/letter of interest, resume, and salary requirements via email by May 15, 2022.

“Susan has been a force in the disability community for some time, and it is her passion to expand access to assistive technology and create a more equitable world that has been the foundation for PATF’s programs. Now, as our organization approaches its 25th year in 2023, we are grateful that Susan will stay on as our Innovation Officer, to help with the transition as we enter this new chapter,” shares Nancy Murray, PATF Board President.

Under Susan’s leadership, PATF has established itself as the top Alternative Financing Program (AFP) in the country, continually providing more loans and extending more capital each year for the purchase of assistive technology than any other AFP, and providing information and assistance to thousands more Pennsylvanians, helping them access alternative funding resources they didn’t know existed.

With Susan’s advocacy, PATF has also had significant impact among Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), helping to secure more federal funding for CDFIs to serve the disability community and educating CDFIs on best practices. In 2021, Opportunity Finance Network recognized Susan’s CDFI work with the Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Finance.

In addition, in the last year, Susan founded Appalachian Assistive Technology Loan Fund, a subsidiary to PATF, so that people with disabilities in nearby states will have access to affordable financing for assistive technology.

Driven by Susan’s passion, PATF has developed an incredible suite of informational and educational tools related to topics of assistive technology funding and financial education.

“Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work in a field that I love. Ever since my first child was diagnosed with a disability, I have known that disability empowerment would be the focus of my efforts. During my time at PATF, our programs have grown tremendously in size, diversity, and influence. I have benefitted from the support of talented and dedicated co-workers and volunteers who have made PATF the leader in its field.

“The future for the organization is bright — we are financially secure, we have flourishing programs, we have excellent staff, we have a strong board, and we have just finished developing a strategic planning framework. I look forward to my new role as PATF’s Innovation Officer, and to ensuring a smooth transition for our new CEO,” says Susan.

Please join PATF in congratulating Susan on a lifetime’s worth of impactful advocacy for people with disabilities and thanking her for her decades of dedicated service to this organization and to the Pennsylvania disability community.