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This is a list of the best disability organizations – that is, organizations doing great work with disability. It is updated from an original 2018 list.

This is a handy list to have for Giving Tuesday, or if you want to connect with a great organization for an internship, do research on what leaders in the disability community are doing, or just to find out about some exciting organizations.

There are  a lot of disability organizations out there that do strong work.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a good starting point, if you want to find non-profits to financially support, to research or work for.

I am dividing the list by those disability organizations that are certified non-profits, and those that are not.This is only for donation purposes – you will get a tax write-off for any money that you donate to a certified non-profit.

Here are some more organizations that I think are fantastic, and that are 501 (c) 3’s:

Disability Organizations that are are Certified Non-Profits (501 (c) 3’s):

1. DREDF – which is always at the top of my list, as it goes across the disability spectrum, helping to protect all of us with disabilities.

2. Portlight: These are the good people who are behind disaster relief efforts.  Your direct donation makes a direct difference.

3. ADAPT: Make no mistake about it: the disabled activists from ADAPT and their partner groups are the ones who saved Medicaid last year. The work they do is powerful, life-changing and absolutely necessary.

4. a. DeafHope: Domestic Violence shelters are not often accessible to d/Deaf women: they are based through the telephone. DeafHope helps d/Deaf survivors of domestic abuse get help.

b. Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates: Super awesome. Check it out.

5. Yo! Disabled and Proud: Love, love, love them and their work, empowering youth with disabilities. They have a rad store too (they are in my Gift Guide too).

6. Disability Rights Advocates: These guys are wonderful. They are the ones who sued Target over access – and won.

7. HEARD – Helping to Educate and Advance the Rights of the Deaf – Their mission to help facilitate communication between the d/Deaf/hard of hearing community and the justice system. They are also committed to d/Deaf prisoners, correcting wrongful convictions and ending deaf prisoner abuse.

8. ASAN – Autistic Self-Advocacy Network – an American organization by and for Autistic adults advocating for systems change and ensuring that the voices of Autistics are heard (this is the organization that you should be paying attention to instead of Autism Speaks).

9. Language Acquisition and Equality Project for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K): as a deaf woman, I absolutely must mention this. There is a crisis in the deaf community over deaf-education and our kids learning ASL (or rather, not learning ASL, not having exposure to language they can understand). Nyle DiMarco is also trying to raise awareness over this and funds to help LEAD-K with it’s work.

10. Senior and Disability Action: organize and empower seniors and people with disabilities on housing, health care, transit justice, and more.

11. Bookshare: an accessible online library for people with print or reading disabilities. Like my friend who recommended this said, “I can’t get far without information.”

12. Learning Ally: a national organization “dedicated to bringing parents, teachers and the community together to empower students who are dyslexic, blind or visually impaired to succeed.”

13. Sins Invalid: Social change through the arts: “A performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized.”

14. National Federation of the Blind: Resources, advocacy, publications, events and more.

and more disability organizations you should bookmark:

15. WID: World Institute on Disability

16. Through the Looking Glass: for parents with disabilities as well as children with disabilities

17. Disability Rights California (formerly Protection and Advocacy, Inc): CA specific but still with excellent cross-disability and cross-state information

18. Mobility International: for travel/disability/exchange/education information

19. JAN: Job Accommodation Network – A-Z of disability and accomodation

20. ODEP: Office of Disability Employment Policy: disability and job information (for a government site, this is actually pretty good)

21. Communication First: “CommunicationFIRST is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of the more than 5 million people of all ages in the United States who, due to disability or other condition, are unable to rely on speech alone to communicate.”

22. Center for Parent Information and Resources: serving families of children with disabilities in every American state and territory

23. National Council on Independent Living:  disability-led organization that “advances independent living and the rights of people with disabilities” by working with policy, advocacy and supporting member Centers for Independent Living.

  • Look up the Independent Living Center closest to you through this handy link. Then consider donating to the Independent Living Center closest to you, and/or becoming involved with them (when I first moved back to Hawaii for example, the first people I contacted were the Hawaiian Independent Living Centers to see what was going on, disability-wise, locally. They are really, really fantastic.)

24. Association of University Centers on Disability: “A network of interdisciplinary centers advancing policy and practice for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities.”

25. NMD United: “a non-profit organization composed of adults living with neuromuscular disabilities. This peer-led organization fosters meaningful interactions and provide informational resources to increase self-direction while promoting independence” I had a chat via Zoom with them – you can watch it here.

26. Southerners on New Ground (SONG) – they seem to be an organizing-for-change group, and are led by disabled people of color. They have a toolkit for change and work on advancing the rights of some very vulnerable people in the south right now. They are going to need help in the coming future.

And there are STILL MORE more disability organizations!

Most people want to donate to an actual non-profit, with legal non profit status for that sweet lil’ tax breaks, but some of the most cutting edge projects are not certified 501 (c) 3’s .

The following list is the  list to donate money to if you don’t care about the tax break, and/or a great place to find information, connect with, do research on or with, potentially focus your internship/job search with.

Great Disability Organizations That Are Not Certified Non-Profits (Not 501 (c) 3’s)

27. Disabled Parents Rights is another one. “Disabled Parents Rights is a small organization dedicated to combating discrimination that impacts parenting for parents with disabilities. We provide direct representation, advocacy, and technical assistance to disabled parents, as well as their advocates and attorneys.” As a deaf mother (with TBI and PTSD), this hits home.

28. The Disability Visibility Project Alice Wong is doing fantastic work with the #CripTheVote project and in gathering people across the disability spectrum under her fold. That project isn’t “certified” but it’s very worthy, and something worth contributing to. Here’s where you can donate.

There are also some very deserving disability-specific and parent-led organizations out there. Here’s a short list of a few that I have connections to:

29. Lettercase: I’ve loved them forever (remember this post?!) You know why? Because I was once literally sitting at a table with a doctor telling me that ) should abort my unborn child because she was going to be coming with Down syndrome. When I asked him for more information about lives lived with Down syndrome – a brochure? meet someone? See what Down syndrome is like? The doctor said, “we don’t do that.”

Lettercase is trying to change that all-too-common scenario by putting accurate and up-to-date information in the hands of medical practitioners. It’s fabulous and very worthy of your money. Donate here.

30. Down syndrome Diagnosis Network: A grassroots parent-led group that connects and supports. Good people, good work.

31. Down syndrome Adoption Network: Fantastic work connecting families who want to adopt a child with Down syndrome with a child with Down syndrome. Shoe-string budget, run mostly on the sweat of a couple of women.

32. Ruby’s Rainbow: “dedicated to the higher educational needs of adults with Down syndrome.” They provide scholarships to adults with Down syndrome who are seeking post-secondary education, enrichment or vocational classes. This is fantastic since so few programs do that.

33. Parents Education Network: “Parents Education Network (PEN) is a coalition of parents collaborating with educators, students and the community to empower and bring academic and life success to students with learning and attention differences.”

And More Organizations!

34. Julia’s Way: “dedicated to inspiring parents, medical professionals, and the general public to reimagine what’s possible for those living with Down syndrome through education, advocacy, and awareness” – They are currently promoting breastfeeding and Down syndrome.

35. Rooted in Rights: these guys are really kicking it with their video storytelling programs and fresh perspectives!

36. Best Buddies & Special Olympics: these are big organizations but still worthy! They do amazing work.

37. Deaf Counseling Center: I follow these guys on Instagram because their stories are awesome. They do vital, crucial work for our Deaf community; literally the only Deaf Counseling center in the US that is staffed by Deaf Counselors.

Lastly: How to Choose a Disability Charity

My friend Andrew wrote a great post on “How to Choose a Disability Charity” – he’s got some great suggestions on things to think about as you move forward and select the disability related organization (s) that you would like to support.

This site is also in need of financial backing – if you want to help with keeping it alive and myself able to create these types of informative posts, as well as posts on website development, career counseling, and disability community, please consider donating, or buying t-shirts, book compilations or photos that I make/take – thank you! Here’s where you can buy something/contribute.

If you know of more great disability related organizations or movements  to bookmark, know about and/or support, PLEASE leave the link in the comments of this post so that everyone can benefit.

Thank you.

PS – you can support this site too! Be a Patron

Opinion Pieces

Posts that I've written about disability access, inclusion or things said
3 Reasons to Say "Disability" Instead of "Special Needs"
“Wheelchair Bound” Sound Kinky
10 Dumb Things the Hearing Say to the Deaf (Featuring Captain Picard)
"Special" is the New "Retard"
That Teacher Carrying a Wheelchair Using Student
What People First Language Is (& Why and When It’s WRONG)
Square Pegs in a Round Peg World: The Power of the Neurodiverse

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  1. Helen Murphy says:

    u came to the right place I too am chatty

  2. Great resource! Thank you.
    Also, check out Optimal Rhythms (nonprofit). They advocate for nonspeaking and unreliably speaking students to have access to meaningful academics with accommodations to support their strengths, not deficits. They provide in-person or virtual parent, teacher, paraprofessional trainings and host an annual Rethinking Autism Conference in April.

  3. Myles de Bastion says:

    Great list. Consider adding CymaSpace (www.cymaspace.org). One of the few Deaf-run non profits with a mission of Disability inclusion in the arts.

  4. Dear Meriah,
    This is a great curated list of organizations.
    As the program director for Clallam Mosaic, a program working to empower individuals with special needs, in Port Angeles, Wa., I am always looking for information to share with our rural families.

    Although I have begun reading your blog recently, I am learning much.

    Thank you

  5. Robert Stack says:

    Community Options is an excellent nonprofit supporting housing and employment for persons with significant disabilities

  6. Is there someone out here that can help us out with this disabled program and project. Work, . business plans and design complicated. We need Angel investors and investors to help us. Lit me tell you more about what we’re trying to do and who this is for! We need a 214 – 418 acre lot. A contractor that is good with disabled amenities we may need within and without the place. And willing to work with us on them. A few furniture and other store amenities that will help us make it complete. Have work and business plan. (The Retreat:) Wheeling Comforts bed and breakfast retreat includes; a rode Iron Gate that will be around the whole retreat, recycling Center, There’s a park named “Victory Park ” one side for us and another for a Celebrity wing. It also includes a guest parking lots, vegetable garden and fruit trees. Then you have the Petty James Reeds Banquet /Conference/Faculty Hall. Wheeling Comforts has a pool and hot tub, men’s and women’s restrooms and “The Cage”, which is the place to have weddings and parties etc. The front of the retreat is a yard. There will be various electrical outlets in the brick fence around yard and house. You have in the house, dining rooms and kitchens and all of the other places where events can be held! There is a large size house, within the house there is a living room, laundry rooms, dining room, kitchen, hall-ways; Pantry & Linen closets, bedrooms & bathrooms. The rooms are named after “stones of the earth”. On the back side of the main house are more various electrical outs and Side-walks that lead you in many directions. One of the ways goes to the day-care, laundry rooms, and staff rooms. In the Courtyard, there are ten rooms. In the middle of the ten rooms, you have the Courtyards. Then you come to the gates of the celebrity wing, and they can have the same fun, with their own privacy as well. In there is a kitchen, dining room, day care, a nice size park, storage, laundry rooms, the other side of the retreat, and the celebrity wing parking lot. On both sides of the retreat, on the outside gates there are a dog runs and above that a cat runs. On the outer outside wall, on the other side of the Celebrity wing is the gift shop, salon and Medical center. This retreat will have benefits for ALL the disabled. This place is also going green throughout the whole retreat, recycling water, recycling energy and recycling cans, paper and glass and much more. This retreat will bring a lot of job opportunities for many people in different ways, if you are disabled or not disabled. There will be over 144 + Employment opportunities or more here at this Retreat. I strongly encourage the disabled people to work at this retreat and others that may open. There will be all kinds of special equipment for the disabled people so they can get in and out of the things, to help them read and see what they’re looking at clearly; as well as having special vehicles with lifts and ramps etc for all guest and employees. Life plane After we get a Wheeling Comforts up and going, my life plan is living day by day. Running and keeping everyone and myself happy as can be. Hopefully, in two or more years I’ll be able to open up other Wheeling Comforts in another cities and maybe in other countries to promote the work forces for the disabled communities. Also help other disabled start and maintain projects of their own! We need help!!!!

  7. Christopher fulwider says:

    Hello, my name is Christopher I’m a disabled person who just started trying to make a change in my community in Indiana what I’m trying to accomplish is the accessibility that is pretty much non existent to what the Indiana DNR says is an ADA accessible fishing spots. I have been fishing my whole life and when I got in my accident and became permanently in a wheelchair I lost a huge piece of myself I recently started a YouTube channel called fishing in wheels I would love for you to give it a look and please any advice on who I should contact next or what organization could help me would be greatly appreciated I also have tic tok also called fishing in wheels if you would take a look at both of those and get back to me I would so so so greatly appreciate it thank you

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