September 20, 2017
 
Northeast Arc Hosts Competition to Spur Disruptive Ideas

September 11, 2017 — Taking a cue from the startup world, Northeast Arc, a Danvers-based nonprofit that provides lifelong support to children and adults living with disabilities, is hosting a competition that will provide $1 million to fund innovative ideas aimed at improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism and their families.

Called The Arc Tank, based on the hit TV show, The Shark Tank, the funding initiative aims to provide up to $200,000 a year for each of the next five years through a competition to spur innovation in the area of safety and wellbeing, employment, technology, housing, transportation, or socialization for individuals with disabilities.

"We are looking for out-of-the-box ideas for The Arc Tank and people who can imagine possibilities, be creative, and want to change the status quo," Northeast Arc proclaimed. "Would we have ever imagined that the largest cab companies in the world would not own a single vehicle? Or that the largest supplier of rooms per night would not own a single hotel?"

The Arc Tank is funded through the Changing Lives Fund, established at the Northeast Arc through a donation of $1,000,000 by Boston businessman and Marblehead resident Steven P. Rosenthal.

The competition will culminate at a public event on Nov. 15 at The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston when competitors for grant funding will make a five-minute pitch to a panel of judges, who will then quiz them on various aspects of their proposals and then select winners.

Northeast Arc has assembled a so-called cabinet of positive disrupters, a panel of 33 community and business leaders who are championing The Arc Tank and will be present at the Nov. 15 competition.

To qualify, applicants need to submit an application by Sept. 29 that outlines why their idea is creative and/or positively disruptive, and who and how many people will it reach.

Founded in 1954, Northeast Arc today with an annual operating budget of about $200 million serves about 9,000 people in nearly 190 cities and towns in Massachusetts. It is one of the largest employers on the north shore, with more than 500 hundred full-time employees and close to 100 part-time employees.

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