Meet the entrepreneurs participating in the 2020 Impact Accelerator! Moving with HOPE Heath Oriented Physical Education) is an adaptive fitness, therapy, and learning center creating affordable recovery solutions for people with physical disabilities.
Venture Name: Moving With HOPE (Heath Oriented Physical Education)
Members: Thatcher ‘Tad’ Duni, Board Chair, Clinical Director; Joanne Duni, PT, Director of Physical Rehabilitation; Chris Duni, Director of Product Design & Development; and Craig Duni, Director of Data & Technology.
Venture Description: Moving with HOPE (MWH) is an innovative adaptive fitness, therapy, and learning center that is transforming the rehab industry by creating affordable, year-round recovery solutions for people with physical disabilities.
Why did you apply to the Impact Accelerator?
After 10 years of operation, we have proved that our programming works. We also have proved that it is needed. In 2019, MWH relocated to a larger 6,000 square-foot facility in Shelton, but soon, we will need to start turning people away. We are near capacity from open to close, with some clients now traveling over 50 miles every day for our services. It is time to expand to help more people across our state and our region. We applied to the Impact Accelerator because we want to grow strategically in our home state. Plus, we want to partner with value-aligned people and organizations.
What makes you the most qualified to start this particular business?
Over the course of their careers, our founding team has served over 25,000 people living with physical disabilities in the clinical, hospital, school, and adaptive fitness setting. Our unique skill, experience, and networks create an unique and comprehensive understanding of our industry.
Tad and Joanne both entered professions 40 years ago to help people recover from physical illness and injury. Throughout our careers, they have developed a real-world understanding of the barriers for people living with physical disabilities. Since its founding in 1984, Tad has been president of Life Design Systems, Connecticut’s first adaptive fitness center. Joanne started her career in 1978 at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Most recently, she has overseen the rehab center at OSG, the largest and most experienced orthopedic practice in Fairfield County, serving as clinical director and director of compliance.
In the past decade, Chris and Craig have developed their own unique skill sets. Chris has 10 years experience serving public schools, including as a special education teacher, coach, and the director of school interventions. Most recently, he has worked for McGraw-Hill Education in New York City and StudySync, a leading edtech and publishing company based in the Bay area. Craig is an engineer with over 5 years experience working in business management for top firms in New York City and Seattle, including the Kiewit Corporation. He also pursuing a certification in software development.
How does your company create a positive social or environmental impact?
When insurance-based services stop short, we continue the journey to optimal recovery. On average, our clients get 6+ hours of rehab and other support strategies each week, all year. That’s 15x more than what Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance will cover. Outside of our walls, many of our programs are only offered in research settings or in Europe. Our pricing is deeply affordable for clients: always $0 to $55 per hour. The results are life-changing.
After 6 months with our team, they are stronger and more independent. They stand, walk farther, need less help with the little things, are sick less, and are happier and hopeful. Some are re-entering the workforce. Nationwide, we are the only organization that offers this level of support.
If you were to win the $10,000 grand prize at the Venture Showcase, what would you do with it?
We would employ 1-2 people living with physical disabilities as freelance writers, editors, illustrators, and/or animators. These individuals would work closely with our founders to improve training materials for our team and future affiliates. As we grow over time, these individuals would shift to full-time employees.
Find Moving With HOPE online: Website