Ranked Nonprofits: National People with Disabilities 2011

"Disability is not a brave struggle or ‘courage in the face of adversity.’ Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live." - Neil Marcus
"Disability is not a brave struggle or ‘courage in the face of adversity.’ Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live." - Neil Marcus

The Cause: Approximately 54 million individuals (20% of U.S. population) of all ages, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic status and educational attainment in the United States live with at least one disability. 

The Scope: Experts were asked to recommend nonprofits that support people with any of the following: developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, mental disabilities, blindness and deafness. Types of nonprofits might include research, advocacy, legislative, education, or direct services. Nonprofits considered in this research might provide the following types of services: transportation, health care, housing, employment, and other services. You can read more about the scope of the research here.

79 National People with Disabilities experts recommended the following 11 outstanding nonprofits.
Meet the experts and read more about this research.

Top Nonprofit Mission
1 Medal-small-2011 Special Olympics
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and the community.
2 Medal-small-2011 The Arc of the US
The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.
3 Medal-small-2011 National Council on Independent Living
NCIL is a national membership organization that provides technical assistance and training on issues related to running and operating centers for independent living and federal services available to people with disabilities.
4 Medal-small-2011 American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
The American Association of People with Disabilities has been organized to further the independence, productivity, full citizenship and total integration of people with disabilities into society and the natural environment.
5 Medal-small-2011 Goodwill Industries
Goodwill Industries International enhances the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work.
6 Medal-small-2011 Easter Seals
Easter Seals' mission is to provide exceptional services to ensure all people with disabilities or special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.
7 Medal-small-2011 National Federation of the Blind
The mission of the National Federation of the Blind is to achieve widespread emotional acceptance and intellectual understanding that the real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight but the misconceptions and lack of information which exist. We do this by bringing blind people together to share successes, to support each other in times of failure, and to create imaginative solutions. The ultimate purpose of the National Federation of the Blind is the complete integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality. This objective involves the removal of legal, economic, and social discriminations; the education of the public to new concepts concerning blindness; and the achievement by all blind people of the right to exercise to the fullest their individual talents and capacities. It means the right of the blind to work along with their sighted neighbors in the professions, common callings, skilled trades, and regular occupations.
8 Medal-small-2011 National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
The National Association of the Deaf was established in 1880 by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. These beliefs remain true to this day, with American Sign Language as a core value. As a nonprofit federation, the mission of the NAD is to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights of deaf Americans. The advocacy scope of the National Association of the Deaf is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth development, and more. On the global front, the NAD represents the U.S.A. as an affiliate of the World Federation of the Deaf, an international human rights organization.
9 Medal-small-2011 Best Buddies
To establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
10 Medal-small-2011 National Organization on Disability (NOD)
The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that promotes the full participation of America’s 54 million people with disabilities in all aspects of life. In 2006 we narrowed our focus to increasing employment opportunities for the 79 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities who are not employed.

With programs on the ground, NOD is demonstrating new employment practices and models of service delivery, evaluating results, and sharing successful approaches for widespread replication. We are conducting research on disability employment issues, including the field’s most widely used polls on employment trends and the quality of life for people with disabilities. And our subject matter experts in disability and employment provide consulting services to public agencies and employers seeking to harness the unique talents that people with disabilities can bring to the workforce.

To achieve our goals, we work in partnership with employers, schools, the military, service providers, researchers, and disability advocates. Our current employment programs are benefiting high school students with disabilities transitioning into the workforce, seriously injured service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, employers seeking to become more disability friendly, and state governments engaged in policy reform.

Founded in 1982, NOD is one of the oldest cross-disability organizations in the country, and remains one of the few organizations committed to representing all Americans with disabilities, regardless of their particular condition or circumstances.
10 Medal-small-2011 World Institute on Disability (WID)
The World Institute on Disability works to advance the human and civil rights of people with disabilities through research, training, advocacy and public education. An internationally recognized public policy center organized by and for people with disabilities, WID emphasizes social and economic equity so that disabled children, youth and adults have increased opportunities to live independently as productive and contributing members of society. WID's work is focused in four areas: Employment Policy and Economic Development, Health Access and Long Term Services, Technology Access, and the Global Disability Movement.

Check out all nonprofit reviews for National People with Disabilities.

Have questions about these results? Review our methodology.

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Through independent research, Philanthropedia has leveraged the wisdom of 3128 experts to provide reviews on 783 top nonprofits across 48 causes.