AHRC New York City Honors NYSID CEO Maureen O’Brien for Contributions to IDD Community

By NYSID May 17th, 2024

“Honest broker” and “trusted adviser” who “leaves no stone unturned”

NEW YORK – Maureen O’Brien, who leads the statewide non-profit responsible for facilitating jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities, was inducted Monday into the AHRC New York City’s “Hall of Honors” for her “tireless efforts in creating meaningful employment opportunities for people with disabilities.”

O’Brien, who has served as President and CEO of New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID) since 2018, “combines her private sector experience, diversity equity and inclusion expertise, and her desire to provide opportunities and advancement to individuals with disabilities bringing transformational change to the organization,” AHRC NYC said.

“O’Brien’s reputation in the state houses she has called on and among the member agencies of NYSID is that of an honest broker and trusted advisor with a keen understanding of the political process. Those who work closely with her are witness to her sense of humor, deep network of respectful colleagues and persistence in leaving no stone unturned,” the organization said.

O’Brien received the honor at AHRC NYCs 75th anniversary gala.

“I’m honored to have my name included among those who have done so much for the disability community, but the real honor belongs to the families, individuals and caregivers whose lives are forever changed by a disability,” O’Brien said. “They are true heroes. The NYSID staff and our partner organizations are privileged and honored to support them every day in any way we can.”

NYSID is a statewide non-profit that facilitates employment opportunities for nearly 5,000 New Yorkers with disabilities annually through New York’s Preferred Source Program and the private sector. The program was created in 1975 as part of the state’s plan to improve supports for people with disabilities in the wake of the Willowbrook scandal.

NYSID facilitates contracts between state and local governments and a network of non-profits for data imaging to secure document destruction to manufacturing to janitorial services. NYSID also contracts directly with private businesses who want to diversify their supply chain to help create more jobs for this able workforce.

AHRC NYC began in 1948 with a $3 ad in the New York Post placed by Ann Greenberg, a Bronx housewife whose young son with developmental disabilities had been denied access to school. She was looking for other parents to form a play group and the response was overwhelming. Within a year hundreds of New York City families of children with disabilities had banded together to create what would, within a decade, become a grassroots human rights movement of great magnitude that spanned across the city and the country.

Many other disability organizations had their start later in the 1950’s, but AHRC NYC was the trailblazer. Its power was, and remains, its family roots.

Others recognized for their “exceptional dedication and contributions to the intellectual and developmental disabilities community” included:

  • Assembly member Rebecca A. Seawright, Chair of the Assembly Committee on People with Disabilities, for her legislative work and dedicated advocacy for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
  • Kerri Neifeld, Commissioner of the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, received the Leadership in Government Award for her exemplary leadership and visionary commitment to enhancing services for people with developmental disabilities;
  • Sheryl White-Scott, MD, FACP, FAAIDD, Senior Medical Advisor at AHRC NYC, and a Board of Director of the Human Services Research Institute, honored for her lifelong commitment to ensuring the well-being of patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
  • Beth Haroules, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney and Director of Disability Justice Litigation at the American Civil Liberties Union of the New York Affiliate of ACLU is recognized for her lifelong dedication to defending the rights of people with disabilities;
  • Mitchell Bloomberg, Chairman-Elect of the AHRC NYC Foundation Board, and Co-President of International Lights, is honored for over 30 years of dedicated service on both the AHRC NYC Board and Foundation Board and for raising millions of dollars to support AHRC NYC programs;
  • Sharyn Van Reepinghen, the AHRC NYC Anne Kraus Award named in memory of a formidable AHRC NYC volunteer.
  • New York City journalist and host of Spectrum News NY1’s Inside City Hall Errol Lewis served as master of ceremonies.

NYSID is a non-profit membership organization with a mission of “advancing employment and other opportunities for individuals with disabilities and qualified veterans.”

For more on NYSID, please see: www.nysid.org.