About the Commission
Related link: How the Trust Fund Fills the Gaps
Download (PDF): Commission Fact Sheet
We Have Popular Support
In November 1998, Georgia voters overwhelmingly approved (by 73%) a constitutional amendment to create a Trust Fund for brain and spinal injuries, paid for by a surcharge on drunk driving fines. This landmark legislation won by a margin of greater than 2-to-1.
The spirit of this legislation was that it would provide for things that are not compensated for by other payers—private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare—or that were provided for only to a limited extent. ... It was meant to fill the gaps in the system where there was no one else providing resources.
—David Goudelock, former President of the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Coalition and current Chairman of the Board of the Brain Injury Association of Georgia.
We are Guided by Those with Firsthand Knowledge
The idea of the Trust Fund and the advocacy efforts on behalf of the founding legislation was driven by people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI). Because of their first-hand experiences, they knew what was most important for people with traumatic injuries--and what was missing in the range of services and resources available. They dreamed of an agency that understood the lifelong needs of people with traumatic injuries and that was committed to supporting injured individuals throughout life – not just in the critical moments after the injury occurs.
There were many people that were involved in this at the early stages who were brain or spinal cord injured, and they knew the limitations of insurance and Medicare and Medicaid, and although they did get hospital care when they were initially injured, they received nothing—there was nothing out there for anyone—to make them successful living with a brain or spinal cord injury. Basically, that’s what this is all about—it’s about living with brain or spinal cord injury. It’s not the initial period following an injury; it’s life—so it’s a big difference.
—Rocky Rothrock, Founding Commission member; brain injury survivor
People usually get their hospital bills paid for. That’s not the problem. It’s after—the life issues you’re left with—that are the problem. That’s what the Trust Fund originally –the original members—agreed was what we wanted.
—Rachel Jones, Founding Commission member; brain injury survivor
Additionally, more than half of the people who serve on the Commission must have a brain or spinal cord injury or be a family member of a person with an injury. Other members are specialists in the field, or work with organizations that provide services to people with traumatic injuries. Their collective knowledge and experiences governs our day-to-day decisions, guides our recommendations for award distributions, and informs our public policy agenda.
We Connect People to Their Communities
Georgians with traumatic brain and spinal injuries deserve lives of independence and inclusion, lives rich with vision and possibilities. Trust Fund awards assist individuals with injuries in reaching these goals. (For more information on Trust Fund awards, see How the Trust Fund Fills the Gaps.)
Trust Fund awards change lives.