NDAD will award a $5,000 Faye Gibbens Memorial Grant in 2018 to an agency/organization to be used for a health, welfare, social service or educational purpose for at-risk populations.
The grant is named for NDAD's late co-founder, who died in early 2014.
Inspired by their son, Mike, who was born with cerebral palsy, Faye Gibbens and her husband, Ron, built the charitable nonprofit from a small Grand Forks parental support group to a statewide charitable nonprofit helping North Dakotans with a variety of disabilities and health challenges.
She created, expanded and oversaw NDAD’s client services until her retirement in 2013, and she also provided assistance and input for the agency’s charitable gaming operations since their debut in 1982.
Prior to NDAD, Faye Gibbens taught a year of elementary school in Carrington, N.D., and two more years in Portland, N.D. She then taught and was a high school counselor in Maddock, N.D. She continued to teach part time in Maddock after the Gibbens’ son, Michael, was born in 1967. Because Michael was born with cerebral palsy, the Gibbens decided to seek work in a larger community where more facilities and services were available for their young son.
Toward the mid-1970s, Faye and Ron Gibbens took steps to form a support group that would gather parents and relatives of children with disabilities to share information and to discuss common issues and concerns.
The group took root and gained non-profit status in 1975 as the North Dakota Association for the Disabled, then became a 501c(3) charitable organization the following year. The fledgling organization provided information and referral services, particularly for people with disabilities who were unable to find services or workable solutions elsewhere.
Faye’s passion was to provide assistance to individuals in need. In addition to information and referral, NDAD’s client services department grew to include direct financial assistance, an equipment loan program and various other services.