Berns has been at the helm of The Arc since July, 2008. Under his leadership, the organization has charted an ambitious course… See full bio.
National expansion of Wings for Autism is being administered by The Arc of the United States and in the future will be available for implementation at airports throughout the country. This Wings for Autism™ video provides a glimpse of a recent Wings for Autism™ event.
The success of a Wings for Autism™ event is due to our well-tested coordinator guide and technical assistance by staff members from The Arc. In addition to Chapter(s) of The Arc, several local partners are involved in the event (airport, airline and TSA personnel). Together, you and these colleagues will form the Wings Team, to design and carry out the event.
Expert Reviews of The Arc
Evidence of Impact Summary:Arc of the US (The Arc) is a true leader in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their advocacy and training programs not only provide resource for affected families, but also promote greater awareness among the general public.
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Organization Strengths Summary:Some experts see Arc of the US’s strength in its well planned marketing to disseminate important information among the general public about the needs and ways to help disabled individuals. The Arc’s programming is recognized as a rich resource for parents and families.
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Areas for Improvement Summary:The Arc would benefit from a stronger grassroots organizing involving a broader sphere of activists.
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Expert Comments: Evidence of Impact
|The Arc is a leader in advocacy and public in the field of intellectual and development disabilities.|
|Numerous Arcs throughout country are providing day programs for people with intellectual and development disability.|
|The organization has good lobbying, great awareness building, and tremendous resource for families.|
|Their leadership on national legislative issues and the Autism NOW website create significant impact.|
|The Arc is one of the best organizations that represents people with developmental disabilities. They are a major player in advocacy issues including impacting legislation that impacts people with developmental disabilities. This year in IL they were instrumental in getting Employment First legislation passed which will require IL to be more strategic about hiring people with disabilities in State departments.|
Expert Comments: Organization Strengths
Mobilizing Parents and Public
|The organization is good at mobilizing parents and starting to engage adult siblings as well. I give them high scores for public policy/advocacy.|
|They have good reputation for good programs. The Arc provides activities, settings appreciated by and supportive of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.|
|The Arc is the voice for people with intellectual disabilities. Their public policy team is outstanding.|
|Their strength is marketing. They provide support for state affiliates.|
Expert Comments: Areas for Improvement
Needs Stronger Grassroots Movement
|It needs to build up its grassroots base and attract younger parents.|
|They need more community-based (rather than facility-based) activities and programs.|
Chief Executive Officer
Berns has been at the helm of The Arc since July, 2008. Under his leadership, the organization has charted an ambitious course of progress, innovation and change with the development of a Strategic Framework for the Future of The Arc.
As the leading provider of vital services and support for families and individuals, 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. The Arc works daily on behalf of the more than 140,000 members and in concert with a nationwide network of more than 730 state and local chapters across the nation.
Before joining The Arc, Berns was the Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, a post he held for 16 years. In that capacity, he built the Association from a start-up to a position of prominence in the nonprofit community, nationally, with nearly 2,000 members of all sizes, all sectors and from all regions of the state. In addition, he served as Chief Executive Officer of the Standards for Excellence Institute since its inception in 2004.
Berns came to The Arc with a track record of success in the areas of nonprofit management, governmental relations and advocacy. As a public policy advocate, he was critical to reforming state and federal Medicaid regulations improving life for persons with disabilities and their families. He was named to the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50 list in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
His previously held positions include Deputy Chief of Consumer Protection in the Maryland Attorney General’s Office as well as Assistant Attorney General and, earlier in his career, Staff Attorney/Fellow at the Institute for Public Representation at the Georgetown University Law Center.
In May 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Berns to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, which will provide advice and assistance to President Obama and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a broad range of topics that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Berns received his JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School and has an LLM in advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center. He received his BA in psychology, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.
He and his wife, Melissa Zieve, reside in Baltimore, MD with their four children.