A Look Toward Gateway’s Future; How the GTL Board of Directors Sees It

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You can spot them holding fundraising events, working the GTL booth at the Lincoln Square Farmers’ Market, on the dance floor at the GTL Fall Fest, and attending GTL family social occasions. They tackle structural problems with an aging building, look for ways to acquire new training equipment, and, most importantly, address the many issues that challenge Gateway’s financial health.  They are the volunteer Board of Directors who are inspired by Gateway’s mission and take a stand for adults with intellectual disabilities to exercise their rights to live full and productive lives. 

We caught up with the Board members to talk about their aspirations for Gateway and insights into its future.  This is an important time in Gateway’s history.  Its State funding may be at risk while new opportunities for growth run alongside it. Managing both situations is the balancing act from which they plan and make decisions.  When asked about their greatest strength as a governing body, responses ranged from a “willingness to do whatever it takes to move Gateway forward” to “fresh perspectives and ideas, and an energy to keep us buoyed around the work that must be done.” The board members have a vision for Gateway that they want to share with the current and future families and donors.


The Vision

The foundation of the vision is the creation of synergies between Gateway and groups of people who want to be a voice for adults with disabilities and with contributors to their growth and well-being. The participants and their families have tough challenges, and Gateway is there to ease them.  Gateway will survive and thrive when this vision begins to be realized.

It all begins with becoming more financially independent from the State of Illinois.  To achieve this, our vision sets its sight on the following drivers:

  •  Putting Gateway to Learning on the map in the community and beyond its borders to attract parents of  adult children with intellectual disabilities who never heard of Gateway and more donors and advocates to the mission of Gateway,  

  • Pushing out the boundaries so that Gateway participants have a physical presence out in the community.  Their spirit injects a greater sense of community within the community. There are also great opportunities for businesses to educate GTL participants and give them a chance to exercise their skills in simple work tasks and earn a little spending money ,

  • Expanding our base of volunteers to include individuals and organizations who want to hold their own fundraising events for Gateway, teach a class of their own design to GTL participants, organize or participate in a participant outing or become a Board member,

  • Capitalizing on the versatility of the Can-Do Café by creating it as a meeting place for groups and social events, as well as a great place to have a cup of coffee and cookies,  

  • The Can–Do Café is planning to increase its revenue-generating capability through online ordering internet sales and through retailers selling packaged cookies and goods.

As you read about this vision, think of where you see yourself possibly fitting into one of its many dimensions.  To get more information, contact Board President, Bob Smolen at bobs4125@gmail.com.


John Ratzenberger