Ann Cupolo Freeman has been involved in the disability rights movement since she was in her late teens living in New York, before moving to California in 1975. She worked at the Center for Independent Living beginning in 1976 as a Peer Counselor, and returned to CIL in the late 1980s to take the position of Client Services Coordinator. Before joining DREDF’s Board of Directors, she served on the board of the Center for Independent Living, Jobs for the Homeless in Oakland, and the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program in Berkeley.
Ann worked at DREDF on a Women’s Educational Equity grant project in the early 80s. This project created a book entitled, No More Stares, a role-model book for young women with disabilities, and held conferences for young women with disabilities in various parts of the country.
Ann received her Master’s Degree in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984, and then subsequently became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She realized that she greatly enjoyed working in physical rehabilitation and worked at both St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, and at Alta Bates – Summit Medical Center in Berkeley before her retirement. Ann felt that she was able to incorporate her independent living work experience into the hospital rehabilitation setting and introduce independent living concepts to newly disabled patients as well as to hospital staff.