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The Penn-Mar Advocacy Collective

For 40 years, Penn-Mar Human Services has stood as a steadfast advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their loved ones. We have grown from our early days of 12 founding families fighting for the full rights of citizenship, into a community of over 600 families and friends, who continue to advocate and organize. With your help, and through the simple task of joining our stories and efforts, we can create momentum!

The goal of the Penn-Mar Advocacy Collective (PMAC) is to advocate for an increase in funding for IDD services that will translate to proper compensation of Direct Support Professional (DSP) wages. This is critical for inclusion and equity within the greater community, and for gainful employment, opportunity, and acceptance of people with IDD.

Learn more by reading the PMAC Overview


Get to Know the PMAC Steering Committee

Claudia Summerson – “Without Penn-Mar and the DSPs Abbie would not have an active life and the opportunity to live as independently as possible. Knowing someday we will no longer be here, we have the comfort knowing she will be taken care of . . . We need to focus on bringing awareness on how important and essential our DSPs are to the everyday lives of our individuals (keeping them safe/healthy) and why they deserve higher wages.”

Victoria Minkowski – “I do not believe in limits around ability for anyone. People can do amazing things when someone says ‘OK, I don’t know how we’re going to do that but we’ll figure it out.’ It might mean that we have to find someone to write computer software or find an engineer to build an adaptive device that doesn’t exist on the market. It might mean that it might take years to achieve a goal, but it’s still an achievement. The small achievements along the way are of no less value.”

Robert Suggs – “I volunteered for PMAC because I have always been active in my son’s school and social activities, and I thought that joining with other parents to improve our children’s lives would increase my knowledge about the system and organizations that will structure and support my son for the rest of his life.”

Denise Coil – “Your voice is needed to ensure that changes are made that benefit our family members. Without our voices many of the changes that have taken place over the years would not have happened without the voice of families.”


Explore the PMAC Year-at-a-Glance

Check out the full calendar


Join us!

For more information on how to be involved in our advocacy efforts throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania, please contact Tina Chan Sweenie, Manager of Volunteer Engagement: tinachansweenie@penn-mar.org


Find Your Elected Officials

For Maryland Residents

For Pennsylvania Residents


Advocacy Resources

Advocacy Organizations to Know

Fun & Informative Advocacy Resources