The Arc of Minnesota

What We Have Achieved, Thanks to the Pro-Am

In 34 years, Tapemark Charity Pro-Am has given $650,937 to The Arc of Minnesota

Pam and Joe Gonnella’s daughter Sarah developed significant physical and intellectual disabilities from a case of encephalitis at the age of five. For 25 years after the accident, Pam and Joe cared for her at home. Last year, however, they had to find another option. “Joe and I are retired now,” she said. “We are physically unable to handle her care anymore; we need someone else to do that.”   

Sarah now lives in a home with several adults with disabilities, receiving 24-hour staff support. This year, state legislators passed funding increases to help raise the staff’s wages. Pam expressed relief.  “It’s crucial to have competent staff who can meet Sarah’s significant physical and medical needs. Much of her care involves reading her body language. This much-needed increase will encourage employees to stay and provide her quality care and support.” 

The Arc Minnesota was a leader in  The 5% Campaign, a statewide coalition of more than 120 agencies working to pass this increase. This success was one of many The Arc Minnesota has helped achieve at the State Capitol for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. 

Through our Housing Access Services, we have also supported more than 1,000 Minnesotans with disabilities in achieving their goal of finding a place of their own. In addition, our Master Trust Program has helped increasing numbers of Minnesota families create financial plans that meet the future needs of their loved ones with disabilities.

Our achievements are not possible without the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am’s generous and consistent support. We are delighted to be a beneficiary of the tournament’s proceeds, and we thank the  Tapemark staff, volunteers, and sponsors, who are so essential to our success.

Living Well Disability Services

Living Well Disability Services: An Extended Family Affair

In 34 years, Tapemark Charity Pro-Am has given $183,627 to Living Well Disability Services

The experience of raising their daughter Sarah truly became an extended family affair for Pam and Joe Gonnella. When it became apparent that Sarah’s brain injury at age five was going to leave her with a permanent and complicated disability, people quickly joined hands to provide support. Their definition of “family” extended to include church members,
neighbors and friends as people volunteered to provide care and encouragement.

The outpouring of support began at Sarah’s hospital bedside and expanded to a daily 5-hour therapy program involving more than 90 people. Sarah’s dad Joe reflected on those days:  “The experience expanded our family. These folks not only helped Sarah but they helped us by sharing our grief and hope.”                              

As Sarah grew up, Pam and Joe sought advice and services from organizations trusted for providing support and advocacy for people impacted by disabilities. Arc Greater Twin Cities, Arc Minnesota and Living Well Disability Services provided help as Sarah and her family’s needs evolved. Each group was able to support them at different times with different supports.  These three organizations as well as ProAct (where Sarah’s brother Mark works as a brain injury specialist) benefit from the generosity of the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am.

“We speak from the heart when talking about all four organizations,” said Pam Gonnella, Sarah’s mom. “They provide essential services to people with disabilities and their families.”

In 2013, Sarah moved into her new home with Living Well Disability Services, set in a quiet and close-knit neighborhood in Mendota Heights. Sarah enjoys a full schedule of activities including her favorites: art projects, animal-assisted therapy and going to sporting events. Her weeks are also filled with activities with her housemates and family.

“Sarah’s new home with Living Well Disability Services is an answer to our prayers – for Sarah to be with people who know and love her and take good care of her,” said Pam.

About Living Well Disability Services

Living Well Disability Services delivers exceptional services that transform the lives of people impacted by intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities. Founded as Dakota’s Children in 1972 by parents, volunteers and community partners in West St. Paul, we are a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization today providing person-centered services to people living in the region. Services are available to people whever they live; in their own home, their family’s home or in one of the 33 group homes owned and operated by Living Well Disability Services. Learn more at



In 34 years, Tapemark Charity Pro-Am has given $249,477 to ProAct

Employment is the major focus of ProAct, helping prepare adults with disabilities to become active participants in the world of work. Positions in the community, whether with larger companies or smaller firms, are high priority, but employment at ProAct is also available, together with training and placement services.

Leadership, flexibility and production knowledge are a few of the highlights for  William Ruse at Graphix Shoppe in Eagan, where his supervisors have witnessed a personal transformation resulting from his work.

The family atmosphere was a welcome change for Ruse. Some companies simply want the product done and don’t have concern for the individual, he explains. “Here they care about you.”

The employee works on crews of two or more, scraping excess material from acrylic lettering and other sign related handwork. Ruse’s case manager had recommended him for an independent job, but he prefers the group environment offered through work enclaves.

“It’s good for this business to have a relationship with ProAct, and seeing the results of these men and women, it’s gratifying,” Donovan said. The company leader said work is dignity, no matter who a person is or what they do. “It’s doing something that’s productive.”

Group Employment Benefits
ProAct’s enclave or group employment teams are a flexible workforce that employers rely on to meet fluctuating work levels and operations that require a large amount of product handling.

Enclaves also serve as a springboard for many individuals to gain the skills and workplace etiquette needed for independent employment.

Participants in ProAct’s program can be found on the assembly line, in restaurants, clinics, hardware stores, and in office
settings. Patient, insightful experienced staff ensures that the right training, coaching, and transportation make the work
experience a success story. ProAct works closely with employers in the community to be certain that the individual’s talents and skills are the right fit.

About ProAct
With more than 40 years of experience in serving people with disabilities and other challenges, ProAct offers comprehensive array of employment and day services. Included are job training, employment, life skills training and opportunities for community integration.  A nonprofit 501c (3) organization, ProAct annual serves more than 1,000 individuals from locations in Eagan, Red Wing and Zumbrota in Minnesota and in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Among the many services for people with disabilities and other barriers to work opportunities are life skills classes and vocational employment programs, which help individuals identify needs, strengths and aspirations that lead to productive lives. Without the support of a rehabilitative provider, such as ProAct, individuals would most likely experience great difficulty in gaining a job and steady income, and in enhancing their self-sufficiency skills.

All donations to ProAct help support employment and life skills experiences for the people served, and assist them in becoming full, participating members of their communities. Donations also support vehicle funding matches that help secure grant vehicles, such as wheelchair-lift buses. More than 95 percent of the individuals served by ProAct are unable to drive, making transportation critical to providing these important services.