We're Opportunity Village, a not-for-profit that's been a mainstay in our Southern Nevada community for over 60 years. It all started in 1954 when seven families came together, determined to give their children with intellectual disabilities a chance at leading the richer, fuller lives they deserved - and today, as the Silver State's largest private, not-for-profit community rehabilitation program, we now help nearly 2,000 adults with intellectual disabilities be the best they can be annually through vocational training, employment opportunities, day services, advocacy, fine arts, social recreation and much more across our four campuses, community partner sites and Thrift Store. It's what we call "Pride, Purpose, and a Paycheck."
Each individual who relies on Opportunity Village is different. The most severely disabled and medically fragile citizens benefit from our PRIDE Program. Some flourish in our Fine and Performing Arts Program as sculptors, tap dancers and musicians. Many are independent, with cars and apartments of their own, but just need a little assistance in following their career passions. And others find their place in our Employment Resource Centers, developing marketable job skills and earning a paycheck through an array of contracts or via one of Opportunity Village's myriad business divisions. One of those business divisions is our Opportunity Village PaperPros, and that's what brings us and our $25,000 fundraising goal here to CrowdRise.
The PaperPros division provides specialized training, secure employment, and increased independence and self-esteem for 85 adults with intellectual disabilities here in the Las Vegas community - and in 2017, paid them $249,983.50 in wages. But it's not just another place for differently-abled people to go to work. PaperPros is one of Nevada's most sizeable and trusted document destruction and imaging companies, with names like Wells Fargo and MGM Grand Resorts International on the list of its happy customers. It's a fully-fledged, highly-respected and nationally-accredited operation, housed in a state-of-the-art facility that boasts 24/7 security monitoring, GPS-tracked trucks and more. Its plant-based shredding methods are recognized as "green," and everyone on the team is federally background-checked in compliance with NRS and are NAID AAA certified, too. Yes, the employees with intellectual disabilities we mentioned are an absolutely critical part of a business of this size and scale. And yes, they're scanning 1.5 million pages monthly in addition to the 15 tons of confidential documents they're shredding daily. It's a huge job - and a cherished one for these hard workers.
This is where you come in. Currently, PaperPros employees are paid in accordance with the U.S. Department of Labor's piece-rate daily production value. The real issue is the fact that the 2017 unemployment rate for Nevada adults with disabilities is 59% (Fortune Magazine), not to mention the national average of 82.1% (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Even more disheartening, one in five of these folks with disabilities across the nation are likely to be living in poverty. Because of employment opportunities like our PaperPros, however, it's estimated that our organization saved Nevada taxpayers as much as $43.7 million annually (FY16) by defraying assistance costs that might otherwise fall to the state - amounting to a sum of $88.4 million in overall impact in 2016.
The Opportunity Village PaperPros division is in great need of technologically-advanced scanning devices that will enable us to provide services on a much larger scale. With your help and belief in our mission, the funds we raise for this equipment can not only aid in scanning millions more documents per year and put us in the running for new contracts, but also transition employees with disabilities to a higher paying job. The best part? It's creating 8 new jobs for Southern Nevada adults with intellectual disabilities, with the potential for many more.
It's even more of a win-win. Our participation in this fundraiser may help Opportunity Village be eligible for six unique grants courtesy of the Gannett Foundation's A Community Thrives initiative, ranging from $100,000 to $10,000, designed to help fund a certain project or program within our organization - but only if we raise at least $6,000 before May 11, 2018. There will be more information about our planned use of the A Community Thrives grant to come.
We need your help in making this happen, and spreading the word, too. Thank you for your support of Opportunity Village, the people we serve, and the mission to build a brighter future for individuals with intellectual disabilities - together.
To learn more about Opportunity Village, please visit OpportunityVillage.org.
To learn more about the Opportunity Village PaperPros, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCIytp_fP0E