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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

By Their Side

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Civil Rights, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Disabled Persons Rights, Down Syndrome, Health, Human Services

Mission: By Their Side guides families and provides advocacy for Marylanders with an intellectual/developmental disability. By Their Side believes everyone deserves respect, choices, and quality of life. We support our mission by -Providing lifelong personal advocacy for those we serve; -Protecting individual's legal rights -Guiding individuals and families through the maze of resources in the service delivery system; and -Assisting families with transition planning.

Results: By Their Side provides lifelong advocacy for 63 Marylanders. 30 families have arranged for additional visits and monitoring. 200 additional members will be served in the future when their parents are gone. With 15-30 years of experience each, By Their Side Advocates are an excellent resource. We have helped to assure members continue to receive the necessary support identified by their parents, even sturdy shoes to prevent falls. We help distant Trustees learn about immediate financial needs. We advocate for health and safety, for example soft meals and dietary evaluation for a member we found attempting to swallow food whole at her day program after her teeth were removed. And we advocate for life preferences, for example we arranged a clean location for g-tube feeding for a member who wanted to work a full day at a nearby art studio. Our advocacy is as varied as the needs of the individuals and families we serve. We are a small non-profit with an enormous mission in the eyes of the parents who have funded our services, and rely on donations to stretch limited resources.

Target demographics: Families and individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 90 individuals and their families

Geographic areas served: Maryland

Programs: 1. Lifelong Advocacy Services for Marylanders with developmental disabilities after their parents are no longer able, including annual assessment visits and follow up to identified issues, to assure individual preferences and needs are addressed, life enrichment opportunities are offered, and parent advocacy concerns are remembered. We consult with siblings and Trustees. 2. Advocacy Plan Services: Families may fund additional advocacy services such as visits and monitoring at regular intervals, or short term involvement to assist to resolve a particular issue or facilitate service linkage for example. We provide update reports to remaining family and/or trustees. 3. Sponsor Support: While parents continue to provide advocacy, By Their Side also offers information and referral, and seminars on pertinent topics.

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family has belonged to By Their Side for about ten years. They are a wonderful organization. Our son, age 31, has Down syndrome. He is living in a group home and is employed with employment support from a state-funded agency, but we are 72, so we worry about who will look out for his overall interests when we are gone. We also have a daughter, but she lives out of state so cannot follow her brother's needs and situation in real time. We are counting on By Their Side to fill that role. Since becoming members, we have been very involved with the organization, and we are tremendously impressed with their competence and their caring. They have helped us when we had problems with our son's provider agencies. We have a special needs trust for our son, and we are counting on By Their Side to work with our daughter and the trustee to make sure that the money is used to enhance his life, and we are counting on them to keep our daughter informed about her brother's situation. Having By Their Side involved just gives us tremendous peace of mind.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

My family has belonged to By Their Side for six years, and I love the organization so much that I became a volunteer board member. We are counting on them to look after our son's interests after we are gone, and make sure that his trust fund is used to enhance his life. By Their Side has also helped us to already to navigate the disabilities support system and to resolve disagreements with his service providers. It is a great organization with a caring and professional staff as well as very dedicated volunteer leadership.


Board Member

Rating: 5

I have 2 daughters with developmental disabilities. My husband and I have always worried about what will happen to the girls when we are no longer here. Neither side of the family is very involved with our girls. When our youngest was 6 months old, we heard about By Their Side (then MTRC) and decided to enroll. Over the years we have begun to realize just how much of a role By Their Side will play when the time comes for both our girls and the family member who has agreed to step up and watch out for them. To ensure this wonderful organization remains solvent and still exists at that time, I have become a Board member and have served for the past 10 years. I have seen and heard first hand about some of the great opportunities this organization has been involved in for our clients and our family recently hired By Their Side to assist us in getting through the application process for residential placement. Read the information on the website or call the office, they will be happy to talk to you and answer any questions you may have.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Our Son, now 44, has been a member since 1985. We have been so grateful for the peace of mind that By their Side provides in assuring that as we get older and possibly unable to advocate for our son, they will be there to step in and work on his behalf. His siblings live out of state and may not always be directly involved in his advocacy with the agencies, and services that he receives . By their Side will fill that direct support. We joined when he was young, but now realized as we get older how important it is to have this support program.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am attorney that works with families with loved ones with developmental disabilities. By Their Side is a great organization that works with families to see that their loved ones are well taken care of when they are not able to be there.