2021 Legacy Leaders Circle Inductions, 2021 Community Builder Award Recipients

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – This morning, the ANCOR Foundation announced that Mickey Mart is the recipient of the Foundation’s 2021 Community Builder Award.

Based in Milan, Ohio and operating locations across Ohio and West Virginia, Mickey Mart is a regional chain of convenience stores and gas stations that was selected to receive the Community Builder Award in recognition of its inclusive hiring program. For more than six years, Mickey Mart has partnered with community-based providers of disability services by creating employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), as well as by investing in natural and customized supports and staff education.

Mickey Mart’s nomination letter indicated that these opportunities have been especially essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas many people with I/DD working in the community were among the first to lose their jobs when lockdowns forced businesses to close, Mickey Mart supported its employees to maintain their positions and adapted those positions accordingly to ensure their employees could remain safe. Furthermore, the company worked to ensure that those employees with I/DD who couldn’t work due to the pandemic had jobs when they were ready to return to work.

The ANCOR Foundation’s Community Builder Award was created in 2004 to recognize the exemplary initiatives of people, communities, community-based organizations and initiatives outside the ANCOR community that are contributing to the inclusion of people supported by ANCOR members. The Community Builder Award program had been on hiatus since 2015 and was reinstated in 2021 to showcase outstanding achievements in the promotion of opportunities for people with I/DD by exemplifying best practices, fostering inclusion in the community and partnering across sectors.

Beyond the Community Builder Award, Thursday morning also marked the ANCOR Foundation’s announcement of three new inductees into its Legacy Leaders Circle, including Gary Blumenthal, vice president of government relations and advocacy for InVision Human Services in Wexford, Penn.; William “Bill” Loyd, Jr., director of UI REACH in the College of Education at the University of Iowa in Iowa City; and Julie Manworren, chief executive officer for Volunteers of America Minnesota & Wisconsin in Minneapolis, Minn.

Each member of the 2021 class of inductees into the Legacy Leaders was selected because of their outstanding contributions to the association, as well as to the broader mission of the association’s members to enable people with I/DD to live truly inclusive lives in the community. Given their service to the association in both formal and informal leadership roles, as well as their advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal levels, Blumenthal, Loyd and Manworren exemplify what it means to lead an industry in service of the communities we support.

Established in 2010, the ANCOR Foundation’s Legacy Leaders Circle recognizes long-time members of ANCOR that have made significant contributions to the association and its mission of providing high-quality, long-term supports and services to people with I/DD. Following the formal induction of Blumenthal, Loyd and Manworren, the Legacy Leaders Circle will include 105 individuals who have made substantial contributions to ANCOR and to the inclusion of people with I/DD.

“It’s hard to imagine a more impressive slate of ANCOR Foundation honorees than the outstanding professionals and community partners we are humbled to recognize in 2021,” said Gabrielle Sedor, director of the ANCOR Foundation. “Julie [Manworren], Bill [Loyd] and Gary [Blumenthal] may represent one of the smallest classes of inductees into the Legacy Leaders Circle since it began 11 years ago, but together, their outsized contributions have permanently altered the trajectory of our field. Meanwhile, I could not be more excited to honor Mickey Mart and the difference the company is making across Ohio and West Virginia to promote meaningful employment for people of all abilities. Mickey Mart truly embodies what it means to build stronger communities.”

Each of this year’s honorees will be honored in a virtual ceremony at ANCOR’s 2021 Annual Conference on Wednesday, June 16. There, Blumenthal, Loyd and Manworren will be formally inducted into the Legacy Leaders Circle. Also during the ceremony, Michael Eirons, Mickey Mart’s director of personnel support and development, will accept the Community Builder Award on behalf of his company.

Members of the press interested in viewing the virtual ceremony should reach out to Sean Luechtefeld, ANCOR’s senior director for communications, at [email protected].


About ANCOR & the ANCOR Foundation

For more than 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. As the 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of ANCOR, the ANCOR Foundation exists to build and to honor exceptional leaders that cultivate truly inclusive communities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.