Dawn Francis was hired as the very first Executive Director of the Iowa SILC in March of 2006. At the time she was hired, Dawn did not have a disability herself, but did have a close family member that did. Since the time she was a small child, she grew up in a family that was accepting of disability, and she was passionate about advocating for the rights of that family member as she got older. Now, as a result of the aging process, Dawn struggles personally with disability issues herself.
She is passionate about the Independent Living Movement, helping others, and has worked in the human services field for over 35 years. Dawn has a BA in social work and a BA in psychology. She has developed, implemented, and managed numerous human and social service programs, and has written and received funding for over $42 million in grants.
Dawn is Chair of the Iowa Olmstead Consumer Taskforce, and is excited about the strong collaboration between the Task Force and the SILC. Dawn is a member of the Rehabilitation Act Task Force through the National Council on Independent Living at the national level. In her work with the Iowa SILC, Dawn has down outreach and organizing to engage young people with disabilities, as well as others with disabilities, in helping them to start a statewide Consumer-led Coalition to develop leadership and advocacy on issues important to the disability and aging community.