Vertex Donates $50k to Claire’s Place Foundation’s Work Proudly Program

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by Forest Ray PhD |

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Vertex Pharmaceuticals has awarded a $50,000 grant to Claire’s Place Foundation to support its Work Proudly Program, which helps adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) and caregivers with work-from-home opportunities.

“We are extremely grateful for the influx of support for our new Work Proudly Program,” Melissa Yeager, executive director of Claire’s Place Foundation, said in a press release. “The program is so needed and timely and we are honored that Vertex, a global biotechnology company, as well as independent organizations and individuals all recognize this urgent need in our community.”

Caregivers of CF patients, including parents of children with the disease, often struggle to keep their jobs while managing their child’s needs. Recent medical and therapeutic advancements have had a positive impact on the overall health and life expectancy of CF patients, but this can also mean that adults with CF are at risk of losing their Social Security Disability Insurance income, prompting the need for flexible jobs with which to support themselves.

According to a 2019 report from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, only 17.8% of CF adults, ages 18–29, had a college degree and 32% held full-time employment. Among those ages 30–44, 36% had a college degree and only 51% had a full-time job.

The Work Proudly Program identifies potential flexible or work-at-home careers, covers the cost of certificate job training, and provides technology and other tools needed to make remote working possible.

Examples of potential careers include transcription services, medical billing and coding, accounting and bookkeeping, graphic design, grant writing, customer service, IT support, virtual assistance, and translation services.

Program applicants must be referred by a social worker, after which they will be screened by a Work Proudly case manager.

Applicants must have a confirmed CF diagnosis from a hospital professional for either themselves or their dependent. They must also show a history of being otherwise unable to support themselves and/or be at risk of having social security and disability benefits lowered, or have benefits that are not enough to support themselves or their family.

The foundation will be piloting the program through June 2021.

“We created the Work Proudly Program to help CF patients and caregivers live proudly and that includes having a fulfilling career. We are thankful not only for our partners’ show of confidence and support of our program, but also for their commitment to helping people living with this disease,” Yeager said.

In addition to Vertex, the program has been supported by the Ashworth College, human-I-T, and the Mary and Joseph Family Fund. Individual contributors included former Claire’s Place board member Dave Gersholowitz; Janet Shaughnessy, founder of transcribeanywhere.com; and Ashlee Anderson, founder of workfromhomehappiness.com.

These partner organizations contributed to the program not only with financial donations, but also by providing computers, tech support and internet services, coaching services, discounted courses, among other incentives.


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