The Latest at Lifeworks – February 2024

Lifeworks Community,

I want to personally invite you all to join us at the 2024 Lifeworks Annual Celebration on Thursday, April 18. We are coming together once again at The Depot in Minneapolis to celebrate disability inclusion as the key that unlocks opportunities for people with disabilities across our communities. Attending the Annual Celebration means you are “all in” on disability inclusion and making the world more welcoming for people with disabilities.

At this year’s event we will present the inaugural Jim Wolford Community Impact Award. Created in memory of Jim Wolford, a business leader and longtime champion of the Lifeworks mission, the award recognizes changemakers who are living into Jim’s call to action – to cherish people and build communities where everyone is valued. Annually, we will present this award to a person or organization who has significantly advanced disability inclusion through advocacy, policy, employment, or fundraising.

It is an honor to carry on Jim’s legacy through this award. Jim was a pillar at Lifeworks Annual Celebrations for 16 years. He often took the stage to share his thoughts on the impact Lifeworks has in our community, and to call on the audience to join him in investing in Lifeworks.

I am pleased to announce the inaugural Jim Wolford Community Impact Award will be presented to Natasha Merz, Assistant Commissioner of the Aging and Disability Services Administration at the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Natasha advocates for the rights of people with disabilities and older adults every day. She challenges deficiencies and inequities in the disability and aging systems and promotes quality and consistent care for people with disabilities and older adults.

Natasha’s legislative work in 2023 resulted in the adoption of 30 significant disability and aging-related laws and policies. She drives the Department of Human Services’ renewed commitment to community engagement to increase the reach and impact of disability and aging services in Minnesota.

We look forward to celebrating Natasha and presenting her with the inaugural Jim Wolford Community Impact Award in April!

Tickets for the 2024 Annual Celebration are now available on our website: I hope to see many of you at the event in April. If you cannot attend, please consider making a donation.