HISTORY AND PURPOSE OF FCIDD
The FCIDD was founded for the purpose of providing support to organizations that serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“To promote the general welfare of “mentally retarded” and “physically handicapped” children, so that they would receive every possible mental, moral, and physical aid necessary to develop them into good and useful citizens in our society.”
Tom McNulty, 1948
Tom McNulty became an advocate for individuals with I/DD after his son was born with Down syndrome. He and his wife were advised by a pediatrician to put their son, Tommy, in an institution; another physician asked them to give the boy a chance and they did, enrolling their son in regular schools.
In 1949, Tom, and Mary, his wife, and parents of eight other children with I/DD founded the Maryland Society for Mentally Retarded Children, today known as The Arc Baltimore.
In the 1950's, Tom helped establish the St. Francis School for Special Education on Maryland Avenue in Baltimore. His experiences led him to write a booklet of the joys of raising a child with disabilities to help other parents in similar circumstances.
Tom McNulty established the Tommy McNulty Foundation as well as being the central founding member of the Foundation for Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FCIDD). The Foundation has assisted numerous non-profit organizations in the Chesapeake District Footprint with support that has enriched the lives of citizens with disabilities throughout the region.
He dedicated his life to services for persons with disabilities, including The Arc Baltimore and this focus was a major part of his life. He had a remarkably singular devotion to people with disabilities and he wished for them, as he did his son, that they would be able to lead lives of joy and quality. He put his money where his mouth was and he never gave up.
In the 1940s, Civitans in Baltimore were inspired by the story of Tommy McNulty, a young man born with Down syndrome, and began raising money and awareness for special educators in the area. In 1952, Dr. Shropshire, then living in Baltimore, befriended the McNulty family and began to advocate for Civitan to provide more support for teachers.
Tom flew Tommy on trips to Civitan clubs to raise money for children with disabilities. He began ferrying Dr. Courtney Shropshire, founder of Civitan and a member of the Baltimore Civitan Club, around the country. During these flights, Tom convinced Dr. Shropshire of the importance of Civitan adopting a mission of supporting individuals with I/DD. As a result, Civitan unanimously adopted service to individuals with I/DD as its primary focus so great," said K. Douglas Potter, president of the Baltimore Civitan Club, which recently contributed $25,000 to the BARC renovation. "When Tommy was born, he got down on his hands and knees and asked God what he should do -- and he spent the rest of his life doing it -- helping the disabled. He was instrumental in making sure thing it in 1987 when he retired. He was an avid amateur radio operator, and each morning would talk to other operators across the country.