R. David New founded Power Access, Inc. in 2010 in response to the lack of cultural programming for and by people with disabilities. An all-volunteer 501(c)3 not-for-profit, dedicated to presenting cultural and educational programming that shines a spotlight on the abilities of people with disabilities as defined by the American Disability Act, and to offer viable solutions to their challenges.
Power Access has been presenting activities through its Ability Explosion® beginning in 2010. They launched the first Ability Explosion® with the Miami Beach Disability Access Committee as a Disability Awareness Day, which featured disability simulations and awareness about audio and tactile crosswalks at new traffic signals. After that first year, they expanded the project to be a weeklong event featuring a Resource & Technology Expo at the Miami Beach Convention Center, a 5k run, a business luncheon in conjunction with the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, and “Lights out Miami Beach”—dining in the dark citywide attended by almost 1000 people. In subsequent years, Ability Explosion® expanded to include; wheelchair basketball, “Taking It to the Streets” featuring music on Lincoln road, a Comedy Explosion, a water sports exhibition, and “Cooking Without Looking,” a television show of cooking classes by and for the blind.
Power Access presented its first festival in December 2016, featuring jazz superstar Diane Schuur who has been blind since birth. The musically vibrant 5-day festival reached as many as 1,700 people thanks to our extensive marketing campaign and our producing partner, KCC Productions.
The second year, this past January, saw a greater expanse in programming and audience with Branford Marsalis being a huge success with a sold-out kick off. We witnessed how the music forged bonds between listeners and performers, but more importantly, how the sheer talent of the artists promoted the festival’s primary goal: enabling the musicians to be defined by ability rather than disability. To further this goal, at least one member of each musical group had a disability, therefore, creating opportunities for those individuals while educating the community.
Previous Sponsorship funds received from ADA grant
FY 15/16- $13,000 plus $3,000 waiver of special event fees (Reso.2016-29431)
FY 16/17- $15,000 (Reso.2017-30116)
FY 1718- $25,000 (Reso.2018-30424)
During the January 15, 2019 Disability Access Committee, the following motion was made:
The members recommend the City to provide funds for the South Beach Festival in January 2020 as a disability awareness event. The organization is making a request for $60,000.
On March 13, 2019, Commissioner Gongora requested a referral to FCWPC to discuss the funding of the South Beach Jazz Festival scheduled for Jan 3-5, 2020.
Following this referral, the Administration reached out to the Committee Liaison to discuss funding and the committee request, to better understand the ask. The Committee Liaison recommended an approval of $20,000 from the Miami Dade County Parking Fines Reimbursement Fund/ADA fund, which was the funding course in previous years.
The South Beach Jazz Festival currently has an active application with the Cultural Arts Council in the amount of $25,000, which should be awarded in July of 2019.
On April 19, 2019 the FCWPC discussed the item and was made aware that Miami Dade County Parking Fines Reimbursement Fund/ADA funds, which is the funding body for this grant, did not see the same revenues as the previous year, and only had $39,000 within it. Approximately $18,000 of these funds are used for closed captioning purposes for City of Miami Beach meetings and other needs, which would only leave the original recommendation of $20,000 to be made to the South Beach Jazz Festival.
The administration recommended that if a $25,000 sponsorship were to be made, that the Committee recommend a $5,000 reduction year over year. Commissioner Gongora agreed with that approach.
The FCWPC directed the administration to keep funding consistent at $25,000, with the administration to identify a funding source for the additional $5,000, while also decreasing the sponsorship by $5,000 each year, as such:
$25,000 - January 2020
$20,000 - January 2021
$15,000 - January 2022
$10,000 - January 2023
$5,000 - January 2024