Shelton founders have plans to take affordable care nonprofit nationwide
SHELTON — Moving With Hope is known for offering affordable care to hundreds of people diagnosed with debilitating physical disabilities. Now its founders, Tad and Joanne Duni, want to take the model nationwide.
The nonprofit, which the Dunis started some 10 years ago in office space on Center Street, is one of 16 Connecticut entrepreneurial operations accepted into the reSET Social Enterprise Trust, a four-month program designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to the knowledge, networks and resources they need to grow their businesses and their impact.
“This is a program to work on the Moving With Hope vision to put one of our clinics in every community in Connecticut — about 150 — then in every community in America,” said Tad Duni. “We want to grow strategically in our home state. Plus, we want to partner with value-aligned people and organizations.”
The Dunis, who have worked in the field of physical disability for some 35 years, founded the nonprofit Moving With Hope a decade ago to aid those with brain or spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis or neuropathy.
The Shelton-based operation recently moved to larger quarters on Controls Drive. But Duni said their model is one that can and should exist for those with similar needs not only throughout Connecticut but also the country.
“We have proven that our programming works, and the demand is there and continually growing,” said Duni. “We are near capacity from open to close, with some clients now traveling over 50 miles every day for our services.”
Duni said that expansion is necessary to aid more people across the state and region, which is why the founders applied to reSET Social Enterprise Trust.
When insurance-based services stop short, Duni said, Moving With Hope focuses on continuing the client’s journey to recovery. Duni said that the organization’s clients receive more than six hours of rehab and other support strategies each week, throughout the year.
Duni said that Moving With Hope provides 15 times more therapy per year than what Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance cover. And pricing remains at $0 to $55 per hour.
During the past year, the Dunis’ team of eight full-time and five part-time employees provided more than 24,000 hours of direct client services, which aided in dramatic improvement of the clients’ functional independence, he said.
Last year, Moving With Hope expanded its services to include skilled occupational therapy, physical therapy and Speech Language Pathology. The additional services will complete the Dunis’ community-based model goal of providing the best opportunity for people seeking optimal recovery, health, wellness and independence, he said.
“Hundreds of thousands of people in New England are suffering with these injuries, but you never see them, never think of them, because they are not out,” said Duni. “They are homebound. But they come here, we work with them, and they begin to stand, move into the community.”
And once moving, Duni said, the individuals need skilled occupational, physical and speech therapy. The expansion of the operation will put a focus on people’s needs from the skill perspective.
“We are the only place in Connecticut that can do that,” said Duni, “and we are proud of how we have been able to help so many.”