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Grossman Jim BarclayDamon

Jim Grossman is a partner at Barclay Damon, LLP. Jim and his wife, Suki, have been longtime supporters of Starbridge’s founding agencies and continue to support Starbridge today.

 

In 1984, as a result of my work with the developmental disability community, Sheila Appleby, then Executive Director of Advocacy for the Developmentally Disabled, asked if I would join the Board of Directors. Although I was a member of a number of Boards at that time, the idea of advocacy for this community of individuals was of great interest to me, so I enthusiastically agreed.

Working with that Board exposed me to the tremendous vision of Jeanne Krautwurst and the incredibly competent and committed staff. The agency changed its name to The Advocacy Center, and I served as board chair for both it and for Western New York Protection and Advocacy, a related entity operating under the umbrella of the same staff and administrative leaders.

In the early 1980s I became aware of LDA through its Executive Director Shirley Cass and regularly followed LDA thereafter, as I believed individuals with learning disabilities were an underserved population.

My family was fortunate to have The Advocacy Center both advocate and provide counsel for a family member in need of special education services and, later, other services provided through the OPWDD system. In fact, The Advocacy Center won an appeal at the Commissioner of Education level, overturning a decision by our school district that had denied my family member a needed summer program.

Both advocacy and actual service to people with disabilities so that they can achieve fulfilling lives are essential in a just society. Starbridge and its formative agencies have been in the forefront of providing both advocacy and service in the greater Rochester community. The leaders of these organizations, and their staff, have always exhibited a passion to carry out the exemplary missions which are now ingrained in the current Starbridge mission.

My wife and I have always believed strongly that, as members of the Rochester community, it is our responsibility to support Starbridge and the individuals it serves in order to keep a vibrant advocacy agency in Rochester, as well as one with a focus on learning and developmental disabilities.

I have worked with many agencies serving individuals who integrate and succeed in society and with their families.

The need for agencies championing and serving those individuals is going to remain essential. It is comforting to know that Starbridge will assure that the people it serves will have advocates and compassionate service in the coming years.