Tools for Today and Tomorrow® (Tools) was designed to improve life’s journey for children with chronic illnesses or disabilities by providing information and support to the people who care for them.
The concept of the Tools program began in 2004 as Ronald McDonald House® of Cleveland, Inc. (RMH) was planning its 25th anniversary celebration. Recognizing the complexity of non-medical challenges and their impact on the quality of life for children and their families, RMH trustees Michael Clegg, a parent and founding member of the Cleveland RMH and Carl Doershuck, MD, and Executive Director Craig Wilson, convened a meeting with community leaders from hospitals, universities and social service organizations in Greater Cleveland. They discussed the need for information that is not housed with one organization and the challenges this presents, and the importance of finding information and resources sooner rather than later or not at all. Families were also involved in these discussions.
As a result, this unique group, with support from funders, successfully hosted conferences in 2004 and 2005 for families and professionals. Both conferences brought together experts in the fields of medicine, education, law, finance, psychology, social work, the clergy and parent advocates to address medical and educational advocacy, family, financial and legal issues. More than 500 individuals participated in this ground-breaking community initiative. Outstanding participant evaluations indicated a clear directive from families that the community needed this program. By 2006, other influential organizations in the Cleveland community joined the cause, and they became known as the Tools Consortium.
The Tools program has been the recipient of two awards: the 2007 Ronald McDonald House Charities “Best Bets” award for which all 270 chapters worldwide were eligible; and in 2009 the “Champions for Inclusive Communities, Star Community Recognition” through a cooperative agreement from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Service Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Division of Services for Children with Special Health Care Needs, and the Early Intervention Research Institute a division of the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.
Regardless of diagnosis, the Tools program has brought more than 14,000 parents, guardians, professionals, and organizations together through workshops, conferences and the toolsfortoday.org website to inform, learn from, support and inspire one another in order to help children, families and caregivers live for today and plan for tomorrow.
In 2010, Ohio Family and Children First (OFCF) reached out to the RMH to discuss their goals for a website for parents and professionals and the possibility of a partnership. In 2011, RMH and OFCF agreed to combine their effort and resources in order to propel a broader, stronger resource for families, young adults, and professionals statewide.
Tools for Today and Tomorrow Consortium
The accomplishments and success of the Tools for Today and Tomorrow Program have been the result of an ongoing collaboration among families and organizations. We are grateful to families for their insights and participation and to the organizations listed for providing leadership, financial and in-kind support, and promoting the program through their networks.
Achievement Centers for Children
Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County
The Arc of Greater Cleveland
Case Western Reserve University
Catholic Charities Disability Services & Ministries
The Center for Community Solutions
The Center for Families and Children
Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital for Rehabilitation
Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Cleveland Sight Center
Cleveland State University
Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities
Hattie Larlham Research Institute
Help Me Grow of Cuyahoga County
Hickman & Lowder Co., L.P.A.
John Carroll University
Mayfield City Schools
The MetroHealth System
Milestones Autism Organization
Rainbow Babies & Children's at UH Case Medical Center
Ronald McDonald House Charities(R) of NE Ohio
Ronald McDonald House(R)of Cleveland, Inc.
United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland
United Way of Greater Cleveland
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lorain County
Child Care Resource Center
Children's Developmental Center
El Centro de Servicios Sociales, Inc
Elyria City Health District
Family Promise of Lorain County
LCCAA Head Start
Lorain County Board of Mental Health
Lorain County Community College
Lorain County Department of Job and Family Services
LC Domestic Relations Court
Murray Ridge Center, LCBDD
Our Lady of the Wayside
We are sincerely grateful to the following funders for supporting the development of Tools for Today and Tomorrow.
The Cleveland Foundation
Children's Family Care Foundation (Akron)
Eva and Joseph Bruening Foundation
Forest City Charitable Foundation
Leonard Krieger Trust of The Cleveland Foundation
Mont Granite, Inc.
Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation
Pender Fund of The Cleveland Foundation
Plain Dealer Charities
St. Luke's Foundation
Sherwick Fund of The Cleveland Foundation