Fifth Freedom was founded by Sheri Caveda. After a traffic accident left three of her children with permanent disabilities, Sheri Caveda quickly became aware of the formidable social and economic barriers that could prevent her children from having the same opportunities in life. In response, she channeled her energies into organizing the first group in northeast Indiana in 1994. What sets her effort apart is its grassroots orientation. The idea with Fifth Freedom is to find strong leaders, in each community, give them the resources to organize others, and with a hub-and-spoke network, unite all of these local groups statewide to address barriers common to the widest block of people with disabilities.
After more than twenty years in disability advocacy, Sheri Caveda moved on to a well-deserved retirement.