May 17, 2011 (Tucson, Arizona)-- Special Needs Alliance member Renée C. Lovelace is the NAELA Honoree for the 2011 Theresa Award. This recognition is bestowed annually by the Theresa Alessandra Russo Foundation on a NAELA member whose “above and beyond” contributions preserve the dignity, rights, and quality of life of individuals with special needs.

The Theresa Alessandro Russo Foundation also provides a $2,500 grant to an organization, selected by the award recipient, which assists children with special needs. Lovelace has chosen to divide the grant between several Texas-based non-profits that sponsor dance activities for children with disabilities: Morgan’s Wonderland, Camp C.A.M.P., Camp John Marc, and The Door in the Wall.

"So many members of the Special Needs Alliance, NAELA, and other organizations work tirelessly to help individuals with disabilities build fulfilling lives,” notes Lovelace. “It’s wonderful to be recognized for community service, but this award is really about honoring all those attorneys out there who are volunteering their time to projects that make a difference."

In the late eighties, recognizing a gap in legal services for individuals with disabilities, Lovelace worked with the Dallas Bar Association to establish a mental health clinic dealing with employment, public benefits, housing, and other legal issues. She authored a seminal reference for Texas attorneys representing individuals with disabilities and their families, as well as Pooled Trust Options: A Guidebook, which was a project of the National Plan Alliance, Inc.

Lovelace’s practice, The Lovelace Law Firm, P.C., Dripping Springs, Texas, focuses on special needs planning and elder law. She received a J.D. from The University of Texas, an M.B.A. from The University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Oral Roberts University. She is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation.

About the Special Needs Alliance:
The Special Needs Alliance (SNA) is a national, not-for-profit organization of attorneys committed to the practice of disability and public benefits law. Individuals with disabilities, their families, and their advisors rely on the SNA to connect them with nearby attorneys who focus their practices on disability law. SNA membership is based on a combination of relevant legal experience in the disability and elder law fields, direct family experience with disability, active participation with national, state and local disability advocacy organizations, and professional reputation.