AbilityFirst Completes Merger With FVO

Lori Gangemi

With 95 years of experience and more than 50 years in Pasadena, AbilityFirst (formerly known as the Crippled Children’s Society) has completed its merger with FVO Solutions, Inc. (formerly known as Foothill Vocational Opportunities). The two longstanding nonprofit organizations operate under the widely-recognized AbilityFirst name.
“After thoughtful discussion and due diligence, we celebrate a major milestone having merged with FVO Solutions,” said AbilityFirst CEO Lori Gangemi. “There is an incredible opportunity to expand each of our exceptional services while ensuring that people with disabilities and their families have a wider access to a variety of programs that can help to transform their lives.”
By joining forces, AbilityFirst and FVO Solutions deliver critical and transformational support services to an expanded population of more than 2,000 people with developmentally disabilities and their families in Los Angeles County during a time when the unemployment rate is at a historic high as a result of the global pandemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 80% of individuals with developmental disabilities are unemployed, adding to the growing number of unemployed people in L.A. County.
“Through our enhanced programs, we offer people with developmental disabilities employment preparation, training and experience needed to lead full, productive lives as active members of our community,” Gangemi said.
The AbilityFirst and FVO Solutions merger provides innovative, person-centered employment opportunities for more individuals with developmental disabilities living in L.A. County. AbilityFirst will expand its programs: ExploreAbility, DiscoverAbility and PossAbility. Now, with FVO Solutions under AbilityFirst, the organization provides its participants with wider access to FVO Solutions’ enterprising manufacturing program, which has been renamed to AbilityFirst Manufacturing Program.
According to a press release, the COVID-19 pandemic “has been a challenging time for many companies and nonprofits, the merger of AbilityFirst and FVO Solutions allows the two organizations to consolidate operations, maximize operational efficiency by reducing duplicate expenses, and increase service to its participants by expanding programs. Together, AbilityFirst and FVO Solutions are better positioned to advocate for people with developmental disabilities in Los Angeles County and support efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion.”
The combined organization is led by AbilityFirst CEO Lori Gangemi and remains headquartered on Green Street in Pasadena. To learn more about AbilityFirst, visit abilityfirst.org.