Health & Wellness

GameChanger: David Greenberg

We catch up with the President & CEO of The League for People with Disabilities.
—Photography by Mike Morgan

At 67, David Greenberg, president and CEO of The League for People with Disabilities, isn’t even thinking about retirement.

“I have the best job in the world,” he says. “We aren’t healthcare, we’re lifecare. Our mission is to help people with disabilities gain independence and self-sufficiency and to enjoy life…I have the best job in the world.”

The former chief of clinical operations at the Hospital for Sick Children in D.C. and vice president of outpatient services for the Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital is now in his 15th year with the 95-year-old institution, even earning The Daily Record’s “Most Admired CEO” award in 2014.

So it’s clear that The League loves him right back. Which is not to suggest that Greenberg didn’t have a few exhausting days due to COVID-19. We spoke with him about how the League was able to pivot and meet people in a safe, meaningful way during the global pandemic.

With so many of your participants reliant on your organization for routine daily care, how were you able to meet people in their homes during the pandemic?
Stay-at-home orders were tough for all of us and presented incredible difficulties for the individuals with disabilities that we serve. My team is amazing; they stepped up to the plate with countless innovations, like the launch of League University, a platform to help participants stay connected and access programming while housebound. It’s been great for keeping people interacting with friends and learning new things, reviving that sense of purpose. We’re now meeting more people in their homes than pre-pandemic. We even moved Club 1111, the state’s first and only nightclub for adults with disabilities, into a virtual event.

Tell us more about Club 1111.
The beauty of Club 1111 is that there’s no judgment. Even virtually, people are laughing and dancing—some even from hospital beds—and generally making the most of the hand they were dealt. They are so excited and so in their element.

What happened with programming that couldn’t go virtual?
Others had to pivot in different ways. There’s Camp Greentop, which has been around since 1937 to give individuals with disabilities the traditional sleep-away experience in a safe environment catered to their needs. Rather than completely shutter it, we invited families to come stay in cabins by themselves for a much-needed breather…One of the most rewarding moments in the past year was being able to offer a safe, comfortable vaccination experience for more than 450 people in our Cold Spring Lane headquarters.

What do you want people to know about the individuals you work with?
They’re the real heroes. They overcome countless daily challenges with resilience and strength. The truth is, we are all seconds away from being disabled. I’m so fortunate that my family is healthy, but I could have been dealt a very different hand. The least I can do is provide support for others; it’s an honor to offer a welcoming, safe space where people can genuinely enjoy themselves.