President & CEO of The Arc of San Diego
The Arc of San Diego’s President & CEO, Anthony J. DeSalis, Esq. began his career as a Direct Support Professional at The Arc more than 35 years ago in what was known at that time as the “Work Activity Center.” From there he worked his way up to Workshop Manager, to Area Director, to Chief Operations Officer, to eventually, in 2017, President & CEO. By starting off as a Direct Support Professional, DeSalis got the opportunity to know many of the people The Arc of San Diego serves firsthand.
“Working as a Direct Support Professional, I got to better understand our clients’ choices and what they wanted to do, and that has shaped a lot of how I have made decisions over the years,” DeSalis shared with GB Magazine. “What do our clients want to do with their lives and how can we support them in reaching their goals is really the most important thing.”
As one of the largest, most comprehensive service providers for people with disabilities in the region, The Arc of San Diego annually serves 2,000 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome throughout San Diego County.
Programs offered by The Arc of San Diego range from Early Intervention Services for toddlers, to Independent Living Services for Adults, to Senior Programs. The Arc of San Diego’s dedicated support staff works with each individual to identify their personal goals and help them reach their maximum potential.
One of The Arc of San Diego’s biggest challenges is providing reliable transportation to access community resources. The Arc transports clients to activities throughout the community, such as jobs, volunteer activities, appointments, and other outings. The Arc’s #VansforGood campaign supports funding for new, wheelchair accessible vans which will assist in these efforts and provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to be active and engaged members of their community.
The Arc of San Diego faces challenges with the state budget that provides inadequate funding for disability service providers. The funding The Arc of San Diego receives from the state does not fully cover operating costs. “Private donations are important to The Arc of San Diego, because although we receive state funding, that funding does not cover all of our expenses,” shared DeSalis.
One of the ways The Arc of San Diego receives donations is through fundraising events, such as its Annual Gala. The Arc of San Diego’s Annual Gala will take place in Spring 2022 and will feature gourmet dining, musical entertainment, and a silent and live auction.
DeSalis’ vision for The Arc of San Diego is that it will continue to grow as a premier provider of services for people with disabilities adding, “We are going to continue to be a vital part of this community throughout the next several years, and we will remain focused in our efforts to empower lives today, tomorrow and for generations to come.”