The 2024 Lifeworks Annual Celebration: Unlocking Opportunities 

On Thursday, April 18, our community joined us at The Depot in Minneapolis for the 2024 Lifeworks Annual Celebration. Together, we celebrated our collective impact and recognized that we all play a crucial part in advancing disability inclusion. 

This year, our message to our community was clear: we can’t do this work alone. While we have come a long way to ensure that people with disabilities have the choice and freedom to say, “This is how I want to live my life,” there is a long road ahead to create workplaces and communities that are radically inclusive of people with disabilities.  

Pushing the needle on equity and inclusion has often relied on the tireless advocacy of those in the disability community and their allies. At the Annual Celebration, we called on our community to join us in building a better future alongside people with disabilities. We are doing this by zeroing in on disability inclusion training. We believe that all Minnesotans need education on disability inclusion, so we proudly announced that we are launching a statewide disability inclusion initiative. 

The disability inclusion initiatives that we are spearheading – including navigation sessions and disability inclusion education – are innovative programs that are not funded by government dollars. To support these initiatives, we leaned on the generosity of our community. This year, we raised more than $438,000 to help drive these efforts.  

Thank you to everyone who attended the celebration and made a donation! Your support renews our confidence that unlocking opportunities in partnership with people with disabilities is deeply important to our friends in the community.  

We are incredibly grateful to:  

  • Our generous sponsors, whose commitment to unlocking opportunities ensures we can educate more Minnesotans on disability inclusion and further develop our innovative programs. 
  • Donors for our live auction: Atomic Data, Securian Financial, and Ecolab. 
  • The artists in the Lifeworks art program who submitted their beautiful and creative art for the silent auction. 
  • A.J. Hilton, our emcee, for returning to the stage this year and whose passion for our mission energized our audience. 
  • Amber, Ashley, Dana, and Rochelle, who were featured in our videos this year and helped our community understand the impact of our work. 
  • The fantastic volunteers who helped ensure that our guest experience, from registration to our live auction, was memorable and best-in-class. 
  • Natasha Merz, the inaugural Jim Wolford Community Impact Award winner. 
  • Our onstage ASL interpreters for helping us make this event more accessible.  
  • And finally, each of you! However you participated, we appreciate that you celebrated with us, heardNatasha Merz, the first recipient of the Jim Wolford Community Impact Award our stories, and showed your commitment to advancing disability inclusion. 

We can’t wait to welcome you all again to the Annual Celebration next year! Until then, we hope you will stay connected with us as we continue to unlock opportunities alongside people with disabilities. 

How can you stay connected with Lifeworks? 

If you couldn’t attend the event and want to watch the videos featured at this year’s celebration, you can watch them by clicking here. And click here to see photos from the event, captured by Lupiction.