The Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities (KIHd) was chartered by GMU in 1988 to provide an infrastructure for externally funded projects related to disabilities to enhance the ability of GMU faculty to obtain and manage such projects. The projects of the KIHd fall within five areas:
- Research and Development
- Technical Assistance
- Model Program Development
- Training at the Graduate and Undergraduate Levels
- Policy Analysis related to local, state, regional, and national needs
Since 1988, the KIHd has secured external funding of slightly more than $8.75 million from federal, state, local, and private sponsors with projects sponsored in all five of the thrust areas. The KIHd has done this with virtually no ledger 1 state support for personnel and equipment, including management of the KIHd. In the mid 1990s, the Center's management determined that the KIHd had become too reliant upon federal and state funding sources and began to diversify into training and service programs that generated revenues on a fee for service basis that were not available elsewhere in the university or community. Current annual revenues of approximately $1.2 million are evenly divided between federal, state, and fee for services, providing stability for the Center. Currently housed in approximately 4,500 square feet in Krug Hall, the KIHd has been in five locations, mostly off campus. The move back to campus in 1996 has enabled the KIHd to work more effectively with faculty and programs within the GMU community.
The KIHd employs a multi-disciplinary staff, which includes professionals specializing in fields such as Special Education, Vision, Deaf-Blind, Multicultural Special Education, Speech & Language, Behavior, Social Work, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy. The KIHd strives to employ staff who have direct knowledge of the populations that they serve not only via their professional work and training, but through their cultural background and/or personal experiences with disabilites.
The Kellar Center is an interdisciplinary campus-based organization that focuses on our mission statement, "improving the lives and productivity of children and adults with disabilities." The KIHd combines the resources of George Mason University with local, state, regional, national, public, and private sector agencies and organizations to develop products, services, and programs for persons with disabilities.
The customers of the KIHd include: persons with disabilities and their families; service providers; service organizations; employers of persons with disabilities and commercial public access organizations; GMU faculty; and graduate and undergraduate students at GMU.