Bright Future Fund (Formerly OTEF)

is now called the Bright Future Fund!

About the Scholarship


The mission of the Bright Future Fund (formerly O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund) is to offer financial assistance to adults with Down syndrome who are seeking to continue their educational journeys through a postsecondary educational program, an employment training program, a private-pay enrichment program, or local community classes.  


The O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund (formerly the Joshua O’Neill and Zeshan Tabani Enrichment Fund) was established in January 2005 by Zeshan Tabani to honor his friend, Joshua O’Neill.  Joshua is an inspirational young man who happens to have Down syndrome.  Joshua and Zeshan grew up in the same neighborhood in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Zeshan is close with the O’Neill family, and he and Joshua’s younger brother, Noah, are good friends.

Joshua was fortunate to participate in a postsecondary education experience and he benefited greatly from this opportunity.  Joshua now lives independently, with supports, in New Haven, Connecticut.  He works part-time and leads a productive and happy life.

As more individuals with Down syndrome are being included in K-12 and graduating with their peers, the next step for many young adults with Down syndrome of all abilities includes pursuing postsecondary education. This may include any type of school or training beyond the high school level (i.e., community college, four-year university, vocational training program) or an “enrichment” course that will help to better the student’s life and meet his or her goals. 

Financial aid is rarely available to these students, and while many young adults with Down syndrome want to continue to enrich their lives through further education after high school, they frequently do not have the financial means to do so.

NDSS is proud to have been chosen to facilitate and administer this grant that will benefit individuals with Down syndrome of all abilities to pursue postsecondary education and enrichment classes.

Apply Here

In collaboration with NDSS, the O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund provides deserving adults with Down syndrome looking to enrich their lives by taking classes or enrolling in postsecondary educational programs. 

Contribute to the O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund

Additional Information

Eligibility Criteria

Applicant must:

  • Have Down syndrome
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Show intent to enroll in a class or program that will enrich his or her life by helping to develop skills that will lead to employment or independent living, build life skills, or in some other way empower the individual to succeed


  • A minimum of ten grants will be awarded not exceeding $5,000
  • The grant must be used to pay tuition for or expenses related to classes or a postsecondary program. These can be taken at a local college, employment training or life skills program, or another institution that offers opportunities for growth.
  • The grant must be distributed within 6 months of notification of scholarship.

Materials to Include in Application Package

Application packages must include items 1-7

    1. General Information Form
    2. Questions About Me
    3. One or more photographs of you
    4. Something that helps us get to know you better
    5. One Page Essay
    6. Parent/Guardian Information (Must be filled out by parent or guardian
    7. Two Letters of Recommendation – (Letters of Recommendation should come from someone who is not a family member, such as a teacher, employer, co-worker, etc.)

Application Deadlines

You should complete the application as independently as possible.

The deadline for applications is June 14, 2024.


You will receive an email confirmation that we received your application. Please do not call about the status of your application, as we will not be able to provide information over the phone. You will receive an email or letter letting you know if you were or were not awarded the grant. If you have any questions about completing the application, please contact NDSS at

Past Recipients

2021 OTEF Recipients

  • Amanda Altemus– ClemsonLIFE
  • Kylie Andrews– Millersville University
  • Megan Caldwell– University of Cincinnati
  • Faith-Christina Duncan– Valencia College
  • Taylor Freeman– ClemsonLIFE
  • Alexandra Griffin– Millersville University
  • Rachel Handlin– Pratt Institute
  • Martha Haythorn– Georgia Tech EXCEL
  • Samuel Jordan– Western Carolina University
  • Hari Kannan– University of Maryland TerpsEXCEED
  • Nina Koster– Green Oaks Life Prep and Arlington Baptist University
  • Hallie McCollum– Destination Dawgs at the University of Georgia
  • Nick Menard-Freeman– Great Bay Community College
  • Ryan Mosley– ClemsonLIFE
  • Sarah Parrack– Northeastern State University
  • Jackson Ray– Auburn University
  • Anna Reagle– Chapel Haven Reach Program
  • Maggie Scherder– University of Missouri (St. Louis) Succeed Program
  • Sophia Spizzirri– Judson University RISE Program
  • Jacob Stives– InclusiveU at Syracuse
  • Summer Stout– The College of New Jersey Career and Community Studies Program
  • Kiernan Treptow– Franciscan University
  • Joshua Williams– Mississippi State University

2022 OTEF Recipients

Katherine Barlett- Washington State University– ROAR Program
Laura Boyer– Gwynedd Mercy University 
Cullen Buckley– Bridgewater State University- Excel Program
Quinn Crispell– Misericordia University
Kirk Daum– Ferris State University- Ready for Life Academy
Nataleigh Deal– ClemsonLIFE 
Daniel Doran– ClemsonLIFE
Kyra Edwards– UCLA Pathway Extension
Taylor Freeman– ClemsonLIFE
Kylie Hereau– University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Hari Kannan– University of Maryland- TerpsEXCEED Program
Abigail Maddux– Northeaster State University- Riverhawks Scholar Program 
Colleen Maher– Judson University- RISE Program
Henry Menolascino– Winthrop University
Aiden Milligan– Villanova University- VUnited Scholars Program
Anna Mutter– University of South Florida- UMatter Program
Eden Rapp– Shepherds College
Billy Riggs– University of Maryland- TerpsEXCEED Program
John Rorro– Syracuse University- InclusiveU