ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – This morning, the ANCOR Foundation announced that it is one of the major underwriters of the public television broadcast of Hearts of Glass. The award-winning documentary is about an innovative, Wyoming-based business that is making a positive impact in the community by supporting the employment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), while providing high-quality, year-round produce. With over 1,000 airdates on more than 200 public television stations and channels, Hearts of Glass will be available to nearly 200 million viewers nationwide starting in mid-July.
Directed and produced by Jennifer Tennican, Hearts of Glass follows the critical first 15 months of operation of Vertical Harvest (VH), a startup hydroponic greenhouse whose staff includes workers with I/DD. The film weaves the story of VH’s launch with the personal journeys of employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities. People and plants grow together in this intimate portrait of innovation, inclusion and community.
Through the glass walls of the three-story hydroponic greenhouse, one sees a business rooted in its commitment to inclusive hiring of workers with disabilities. Tennican’s nuanced and intimate approach to the story illustrates the ways in which a mission-driven business can make a profit and have a positive impact on the lives of people of all abilities.
Although Hearts of Glass provides examples of employment successes, people with disabilities are too often left behind by the modern economy. According to the Case for Inclusion 2020, a recent report from the ANCOR Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy, only 20 percent of people with I/DD work in integrated settings, meaning they work alongside colleagues without disabilities. These data underscore the limited opportunities for workers with disabilities, as well as the significant difference businesses can make when they commit to creating opportunities for people to work in the community.
Following the success of Hearts of Glass at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, the Ashland Independent Film Festival, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival and others, the film is set to make its public television debut on July 14, less than two weeks before the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. Our generation’s defining civil rights legislation for people with disabilities, the ADA anniversary brings into sharp contrast the important work that employers like VH do to include workers with unique abilities against the backdrop of significant challenges that still demand solutions when it comes to the inclusion, support and empowerment of people with disabilities in the community.
“The ANCOR Foundation is thrilled to be involved with Hearts of Glass, a film that represents the kind of success a community like Jackson Hole can have by embracing the inclusion and independence of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Filmmaker Jennifer Tennican has done a wonderful job in telling this inspiring story, and we are honored to help bring it to a larger audience,” said ANCOR Foundation Director Gabrielle Sedor. The film’s director, Jennifer Tennican, added, “The ANCOR Foundation’s focus on building opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities makes it an ideal partner for our national broadcast. Together, we have the opportunity to introduce a diverse audience to the roles of community service providers.”
Hearts of Glass will debut on hundreds of public television stations across the nation starting on Tuesday, July 14. To find airdates and times, please visit aptonline.org/catalog/hearts-of-glass; enter your ZIP code to see upcoming airdates within the next two weeks. To learn more about Hearts of Glass, visit heartsofglassfilm.com.
For 50 years, the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ancor.org) has been a leading advocate for the critical role service providers play in enriching the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). As a national nonprofit trade association, ANCOR represents 1,600+ organizations employing more than a half-million professionals who together serve more than a million individuals with I/DD. Our mission is to advance the ability of our members to support people with I/DD to fully participate in their communities.