SOUTH ORANGE – JESPY House, a nonprofit organization helping over 250 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live independently, recently welcomed Dr. Ahadi Bugg-Levine as its new Board President.
“JESPY House, our clients, and our staff inspire me every day,” Dr. Bugg-Levine stated. “I am truly honored that my fellow Board members elected me as their President. I grew up in SOMA [South Orange-Maplewood] and always remember seeing JESPY clients. They are an integral part of the diversity that makes South Orange a wonderful place to live where, as we say: ‘Everybody belongs.’ JESPY also has a rich history and continues to welcome adults from all backgrounds into our family.”
JESPY House clients work in businesses in South Orange and a number of surrounding towns in New Jersey. They are integral to the local economy. For example, they contribute over $3 million annually to downtown South Orange businesses and landlords.
“I look forward to working with South Orange and surrounding communities on issues such as developing employment opportunities, more affordable housing, and keener insights into the lives of people with disabilities,” Dr. Bugg-Levine added. “These issues are critical for our clients.”
Dr. Bugg-Levine’s background in advocacy and disability issues includes drafting national disability laws while serving as an attorney in the South African Human Rights Commission’s Disability Unit; working with Supreme Court Justices in Mozambique on their nation’s disability laws; and serving as policy counsel for the National Partnership for Women & Families. She also worked as Senior Counsel in the Affirmative Litigation Division of the New York City Law Department during the Bloomberg Administration and with the President of The Atlantic Philanthropies to spearhead the foundation’s successful efforts to improve US-Cuba policy.
Audrey Winkler, Executive Director of JESPY House, expressed her enthusiasm for Bugg-Levine’s presidency. “I am thrilled that Dr. Bugg-Levine is the President of our Board,” said Winkler. “As a Board member, she skillfully combined her unique skills with her passion for JESPY House to help us achieve our mission and further our goals. I am confident that under her leadership we will continue to improve our services and help even more adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to realize their right to independence, especially during these difficult times.”
Dr. Bugg-Levine earned her B.A. from Wellesley College, J.D. from Yale Law School, and Ph.D. from Yale University. She is the President of Bugg-Levine, Inc., a philanthropic consulting company. She lives in South Orange with her husband and daughter.
JESPY House serves clients in the areas of recreation, employment, athletics, community-based supports, behavioral health, activities of daily living and most importantly, advancing independence. Clients range in age from 18-73. To learn more or to make a donation, visit jespy.org.