9 Best Charities for This Year’s Disability Pride Month (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities for This Year’s Disability Pride Month (Complete 2024 List)

By
Alycia O'Dell

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Worldwide, up to 1.3 billion people, or 1 in 6, live with a disability; a number that is perpetually growing due to a rise in chronic health conditions and population aging. Yet, people with disabilities have been consistently marginalized and underestimated for generations. Each July, Disability Pride Month honors the 1999 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, advocating for inclusion and prohibiting disability-based discrimination. Fortunately, organizations around the world uphold the ADA’s principles year-round. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for Disability Pride Month?

The best charities for this year’s Disability Pride Month are Easterseals and The Arc. Charities like the Special Olympics and Disability:IN ensure individuals with disabilities have equal and inclusive access to spaces from which they’ve been historically excluded, such as athletics and the workplace.

Whether you want to help an individual with a disability share their story, create a community of inclusion within an organization, or ensure physically disabled people can access their entire environment, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that support trauma victims are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to contribute.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for This Year’s Disability Month Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact, transparency ratings, and achievements.

They operate primarily throughout the US and Canada, but some support individuals with disabilities internationally.

Many of these charities provide direct services to people with disabilities and their families, while others provide resources to guide disability advocates as they work to create meaningful change. Some cater to specific populations like autistic individuals, people with Down syndrome, and deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Others support the broader disability community.

Some of the charities below focus on providing professional development to ensure that employed people with disabilities have the opportunity to reach their full potential in the workplace. Others fight to maximize independent living and autonomy.

Yet, they all share the same goal of promoting pride within the disabled community.

These Are the 9 Best Charities for This Year’s Disability Month in 2024

Below are our favorite charities for this year’s Disability Month (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

Easterseals: Lifespan Support for Individuals With Disabilities

Logo for Easterseals
Easterseals: Helping People Lead Full Lives

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Their transparency & ratings:

Easterseals holds a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“All abilities. Limitless Possibilities.”

Easterseals

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What they do:

Through their national network of affiliates, Easterseals empowers individuals with disabilities to be full and equal participants in society. For example, their #BecauseIAmDisabled video series, released for Disability Pride Month 2023, utilized the power of personal stories to help combat harmful portrayals of disability. They also host a virtual disability pride parade, encouraging the use of their hashtags and graphics on social media to show support for the disabled community. And, their affiliates hold regional events; for example, their Southern California affiliate partners with city officials to illuminate buildings in Easterseals’ signature orange.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Each year, Easterseals helps more than 1.5 million people with disabilities. For example, since 2003, their signature annual fundraiser, Walk With Me, has generated nearly $41 million across 615 events and 230,000 participants. Easterseals was also a leading advocate for the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on a disability.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Easterseals via their website. You can also contribute by registering to participate in a Walk With Me event, or by volunteering with an Easterseals near you.

2

The Arc: Respect, Dignity, and Inclusion

Logo for The Arc
The Arc -- Driven by Opportunity

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Arc holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We fight every day so no person with a disability gets left behind.”

The Arc

⚒️

What they do:

The Arc contributes to the dignity and pride of people with disabilities by protecting their human rights and ensuring they have the opportunity to live self-determined lives. For example, they advocate for policies that foster equality, like funding to improve special education programs and create handicap-accessible polling locations. As another example, they protect individuals navigating the criminal justice system by promoting safety, fairness, and justice for individuals with disabilities, whether they are the victim, witness, suspect, or defendant. And, they help companies become more inclusive through their Arc@Work consulting services.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, The Arc has promoted disability pride by advocating for policies to enhance inclusion. For example, they were the first organization to fund research on intellectual and developmental disabilities and were instrumental in enacting social support programs for people with disabilities, like Medicaid and Medicare. As another example, in 2022, they supported extending the Money Follows The Person program to expand home and community-based services, which has helped over 100,000 people transition to less restrictive living environments.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to The Arc via their website. You can also support the organization by creating a fundraiser or participating in advocacy efforts.

3

Special Olympics: Empowerment Through Athleticism

Logo for Special Olympics
Changing the World Through Sport

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Special Olympics holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator

“The revolution is inclusion.”

Special Olympics

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What they do:

The Special Olympics promotes disability pride year-round by providing inclusive athletic opportunities for special athletes of all ages, giving them the opportunity to build confidence and develop relationships. For example, their Unified Sports and Unified Champion Schools programs join people with and without intellectual disabilities to work together toward friendship and understanding. As another example, their Leadership Programs empower athletes with disabilities to become leaders in both sports and non-sport settings. Furthermore, their The Revolution is Inclusion campaign gives people of all abilities the chance to pledge their commitment to enhancing inclusivity around the world.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, the Special Olympics has provided inclusive athletic opportunities for millions of special athletes around the world. For example, in 2022, over 1.1 million people participated in Unified Sports, and 9,440 schools across 148 countries participated in the Unified Champion Schools program. In the same year, the organization hosted over 46,000 events, including 15,949 Unified Sports events.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Special Olympics via their website. There are also several ways to volunteer with the organization, including coaching, refereeing, and participating in Unified Sports.

4

Disability:IN: Disability Pride in the Workplace

Logo for DisabilityIN
The Missing Piece

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Their transparency & ratings:

Disability:IN holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

We empower businesses to achieve disability inclusion and equality.” Disability:IN

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What they do:

Disability:IN promotes disability pride by working to ensure individuals have the opportunity to pursue careers without fear of discrimination, bias, or inaccessibility. For example, their Early Career Talent Accelerator program provides customized and relevant professional development for people with disabilities across their career journeys. As another example, they empower disabled business owners through their Supplier Diversity program, which certifies disability-owned companies and links them to organizations looking to diversify their supply chains. Moreover, their Neurodiversity@Work Employer Roundtable gives business leaders the chance to explore neurodiversity-focused hiring initiatives.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Disability:IN has helped hundreds of businesses around the world remain committed to creating inclusive workplaces. To date, their community includes 524 Corporate Partners and they provide inclusion consulting to 140 companies across 66 countries. Furthermore, they have certified 675 Disability-Owned Business Enterprises to diversify the supply chain.

Ways to contribute:

Disability:IN does not accept individual donations, but you can support the organization’s mission by connecting with your local affiliate, participating in an event, or joining a committee.

5

Autistic Self Advocacy Network: Lifting the Voice of the Autistic Community

Logo for Autistic Self Advocacy Network
ASAN: Support Self Advocacy!

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Nothing about us, without us!”

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

⚒️

What they do:

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network celebrates the autonomy of autistic individuals and the broader disabled community through advocacy, education, and community. For example, their Policy Center contains advocacy resources, including Action Alerts for organizing urgent public responses, Policy Advocacy Toolkits, and reports and briefs, that explore significant social issues in-depth. As another example, their Autism Campus Inclusion Leadership Academy is a 2-week program that empowers autistic students to make their college campuses better for people with disabilities. Furthermore, they provide materials that promote autism and disability acceptance and pride, including their Welcome to the Autistic Community website.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network has been at the forefront of the fight for respect, equality, and inclusion for autistic individuals and the broader disability community. For example, they first gained public notoriety in 2007 after their successful letter-writing protest against an ad campaign that compared an autism diagnosis to kidnapping. And, they continue to be a force in the development of policies that impact their community. For example, in 2023 alone, they supported the #StopTheShock campaign to end shock therapy, fought to redirect autism research funding, and made strides to end sub-minimum wages for disabled workers.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network via their website. You can also support the organization by volunteering or following their social media.

6

National Council on Independent Living: Independent Living is Fundamental

Logo for National Council on Independent Living
We Can't Breathe: The Deaf & Disabled Margin of Police Brutality

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Their transparency & ratings:

The National Council on Independent Living holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“NCIL envisions a world in which people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully.”

National Council on Independent Living

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What they do:

The National Council on Independent Living supports their members, which include both organizations and individuals, by building their capacity to promote social change, eliminate discrimination, and create opportunities. For example, their Provider Accessibility Initiative and Barrier Removal Fund give healthcare providers the opportunity to improve their physical and programmatic accessibility for people with disabilities, with local members actively participating in applicant reviews. As another example, they provide resources members can use to advance their missions, like the Disability Pride Toolkit and Resource Guide and the Environmental Health Barriers Toolkit. Moreover, they advocate for policies that promote autonomy for people with disabilities.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the National Council on Independent Living has become the longest-running, cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities, promoting autonomy and pride across the US. For example, their Barrier Removal Fund has awarded over $2 million in grants to fund accessibility improvements at healthcare providers in 14 states since it was introduced in 2018. And, in 2023, they launched their 5 for 5 Campaign, asking Congress for $500 million to support Independent Living Services.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the National Council on Independent Living via their website. You can also support the organization by purchasing branded merchandise or joining their advocacy efforts.

7

National Association of the Deaf: Advocating for the Rights of the Deaf Community

Logo for National Association of the Deaf
The Importance of National Associations of Deaf People

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Their transparency & ratings:

The National Association of the Deaf holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“The vision of the NAD is that the language, culture, and heritage of Deaf… will be acknowledged and respected in the pursuit of life, liberty, and equality.”

National Association for the Deaf

⚒️

What they do:

The National Association for the Deaf promotes deaf pride through advocacy, education, and resources. For example, the NAD Law and Advocacy Center not only advocates on public policy issues of concern to the deaf community but also provides legal representation in carefully selected disability discrimination cases. As another example, their Gift of Language Campaign provides free resources for parents and communities to learn about American Sign Language, its importance in deaf culture, and the dangers of language deprivation. Furthermore, their NAD Youth Programs bring together deaf youth to strengthen their ties to deaf culture, foster leadership skills, and prepare the next generation for deaf pride.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the National Association for the Deaf has impacted millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing people across the US. Some of their earliest achievements include advocating for basic civil rights for the deaf community, such as the right to federal civil service employment and the right to drive a car. They have also been a part of several landmark discrimination lawsuits. For example, in 2019, they brought legal action against Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for failing to adequately caption their online content.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the National Association for the Deaf via their website. You can also show your support by becoming a member.

8

National Down Syndrome Society: Driving Inclusion and Equity

Logo for National Down Syndrome Society
Learn more about NDSS

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The National Down Syndrome Society holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“[Ensuring] all individuals with Down syndrome are assured their human rights and valued by a more inclusive society.”

National Down Syndrome Society

⚒️

What they do:

The National Down Syndrome Society empowers people with Down syndrome by supporting their autonomy, promoting inclusion, and educating the public about the realities of living with Down syndrome. They achieve this through three key areas of programming; Resources and Support, Advocacy and Policy, and Community Engagement. For example, their Employment Program and Education Program help individuals with Down syndrome achieve self-actualization by providing them with the support they need to succeed on their chosen path. Furthermore, they advocate for policies that benefit people with Down syndrome throughout their lifespan, including healthcare, education, employment, and economic self-sufficiency.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Today, the National Down Syndrome Society is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down Syndrome, and their advocacy efforts have resulted in major legislative advances for the disabled community. For example, in 1999 they lobbied for the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, which laid the foundation for competitive employment for people with disabilities. As another example, the organization’s foremost legislative priority, the ABLE Act, was passed in 2014, protecting people with Down syndrome from losing benefits like Medicaid and supplemental security income. And, they advised Mattel on the creation of the first Barbie doll with Down syndrome, released in 2023.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the National Down Syndrome Society via their website. You can also support the organization by participating in the Buddy Walk Program, purchasing items from their Shop NDSS partners, or becoming a Down Syndrome Ambassador.

9

Friends of Disabled Adults and Children: Maximizing Independence by Maximizing Mobility

Logo for Friends of Disabled Adults and Children
Friends of Disabled Adults and Children, Too! Overview

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Their transparency & ratings:

Friends of Disabled Adults and Children holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We are dedicated to keep people moving!”

Friends of Disabled Adults and Children

⚒️

What they do:

Friends of Disabled Adults and Children recycle home medical equipment for adults and children with disabilities so they can live with dignity, autonomy, and independence, regardless of financial status. For example, they collect and refurbish equipment like wheelchairs and scooters to increase mobility, and tools like shower supports and Hoyer lifts to maximize independent self-care and provide them to those in need. Moreover, they repair damaged or malfunctioning equipment, install adaptive lifts on vehicles, and provide refurbished computers and other assistive technology– all at little to no cost.

🛍️

What is their product range?

Since their inception, Friends of Disabled Adults and Children has provided $250 million in medical equipment for people with disabilities internationally. They also keep 350 tons of recycled goods out of landfills annually through their recycling process. Furthermore, they responded to COVID-19 relief efforts by providing nearly $4 million in related medical equipment to hospitals in their home state of Georgia. They have also expanded their reach globally by donating to countries such as Venezuela, Kenya, Moldova, and Colombia. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Friends of Disabled Adults and Children via their websites. You can also support the charity by hosting an equipment drive, sponsoring an event, or volunteering.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for this year’s Disability Month. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the websites of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. Charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to this year’s Disability Month—based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Alycia

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

Sources

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