Conference Assistance Opportunities

There are many opportunities for families to apply to offset conference costs.  Please see below for state/national opportunities and if there is one that you have found that we do not have listed that can help other families, please let us know (email


*Special acknowledgement to the Aicardi Foundation, the Dravet Syndrome Foundation and FamilieSCN2A Foundation for compiling many of these helpful list of Funding Agencies that offer grants to families to defer conference travel expenses.



Dup15q Alliance Sponsored Family Conference Scholarship Application-2019:  Please complete one application per person applying. Only members of Dup15q Alliance are eligible for conference scholarships. To join Dup15q Alliance, visit our registration page. Scholarship funds are limited. Awards are first given out to cover the cost of registration fees. If additional funds are available, awards may be given to cover hotel and/or travel expenses. All scholarship applications must be received by May 1, 2019 to be considered for our 2019 conference.  If awarded a scholarship, you must agree to volunteer with Dup15q Alliance for a minimum of 10 hours by the end of 2019. Scholarship recipients are chosen at the discretion of Dup15q Alliance Conference Scholarship Committee. You will be notified of the committee's decision by May 15, 2019. Please contact us at if you have any questions.  Application Link

The ARC of the United States. Each chapter offers different programs/services, so you need to check your local chapter: As an example, the ARC of IL offers a Consumer Stipend Project which offers grants to enable people with developmental disabilities and their family members to attend conferences of their choice that are directly related to developmental disability issues:

Johnny's Rainbow Grant Application: Families with children with special needs may apply for a grant for up to $250*. This will include therapeutic services/group activities, educational grants to the parents who would like to attend conferences/workshops, counseling services for families dealing with the challenges of raising a special needs child and help with daily living skills. Application Download Link


All states have Councils on Developmental Disabilities, and some will fund conference travel. Some states require that you agree to share the knowledge you gained at the conference with others groups in your state (and we would recommend that you target schools/classrooms with other students with DS as your point of sharing, as often there is not another family with DS nearby). We have tried to identify all the active programs across the United States, but if your state is not listed below, you should take a minute to review your own state’s CDD page in case we have overlooked something. Click here for a roster of Developmental Disabilities Boards by state: Click on your state and then on “county boards” and select your county of residence.  Funds are typically appropriated at the beginning of the year on a first-come, first served basis.

For states that are not listed below, if there was no specific link to a consumer investment/empowerment fund, it does not mean there is not such a fund in your state. Contact the council directly and inquire if they have available grants to help families & individuals with disabilities to attend conferences relating to that disability.

  • Chicago: Illinois StarNet has a Family Fellowship to reimburse parents for the expense of attending workshops, seminars, or conferences:
  • They give preference to in-state events, but it would still be worth a shot. The deadline appears to be ongoing.

Florida, Indiana (including the greater Michiana area), Rhode Island and New York, an organization called Hannah & Friends funds quality of life grants for families who care for children and adults with special needs. The deadline for 2019 funding is May 1

Indiana: The state’s Consumer Investment Fund supports conference travel. The application is a bit challenging, but they will fund up to $1000 per family to attend conferences relating to the family member’s disability. Deadline is 5 weeks prior to an out-of-state event:

Maryland: The state’s Developmental Disabilities Council supports travel to out-of-state conferences. They will fund up to $1000. Deadline is 90 days prior to conference:

Nevada: The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities provides grants of up to $750 for individuals and $1000 for families to attend conferences out of state. No deadline provided, so call contact on the webpage for details on timing:

North Carolina: Maximum funds reached – No longer available for 2019 Conference. The state’s Jean Wolff-Rossi for Participant Involvement Fund offers up to $800 per person (and up to $2400 in total per event) for participation in out-of-state conferences. Deadlines for application are 60 days prior to registration date for an out-of-state event; decisions are made monthly on an ongoing. basis:  

North Dakota: The State Council on Developmental Disabilities has a Consumer Leadership Fund that supports family participation in conferences, up to $750 per individual or $1000 per family; they do require that grantees share experiences with the SCDD or other advocacy organizations in the state.Deadline is 90 days prior to the event: 

Ohio: The Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities Family Support Program may fund registration costs for conferences for families on topics related to the eligible individual. Prior approval is required for this program to fund training and conference attendance. The cost of these services will be deducted from your total annual program allowance. To check eligibility, email or by phone at 216-241-8230.

Oregon: The Consumer Involvement Fund is currently being redesigned. You can check back for updates on the program at or call 800-292-4154 to check availability.

South Dakota: The state’s Council on Developmental Disabilities provides funding up to $750 per person for out-of-state conference travel, but the applicant must show that other funders have been approached with no success. Deadline is 60 days prior to the event: Email:

Tennessee: The state’s Council on Developmental Disabilities provides grants of up to $500 for individuals, and $1000 for families, to attend conferences related to a family member’s disability. Deadline is 30 days prior to the event:

Utah: has an Empowerment Fund designed to support family attendance at disability-related conferences. If you wish to pursue this, call first to make sure that the funds are still available and procedures are clear.

1. Prior to completing an application, contact the organization for which you are planning to apply for support to ensure the program still exists and your request would be eligible.

2. If you are awarded a grant, please send a thank you note to the organization.

3. Complete the necessary paperwork or online forms and submit prior to any published deadline dates. 


If your child is on Medicaid, especially a home and community based waiver, check with your case manager. Many waivers offer educational assistance for parents to attend conferences, paying the registration fee. Travel is not typically covered, but it is worth asking about.


Funds may also be available throug your church or synagogue; your local United Way, Kiwanis, Rotary or Lions Club.


Keep checking back for more funding resources