The Awards

The Arc’s Catalyst Awards have been created to recognize individuals, businesses, and other organizations that are catalysts for achievement in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Each honoree has done something remarkable that helps fulfill The Arc’s mission to promote and protect the human rights of people with I/DD. Their work embodies what inclusion truly means.

Furthermore, their contributions are of national significance because they advance public understanding and acceptance of people with I/DD in a variety of arenas—from employment and philanthropy to education and media. Each award illustrates what can be achieved and how we must move forward to create a fully inclusive society. The goal of these awards is to turn a national spotlight to individuals and organizations that are setting an example of what civil rights for people I/DD should be.

The avenue to true equality for people with I/DD will not be paved by a single person or organization, but by thousands who share a vision and a passion.

This is our opportunity to find those like-minded leaders in fields both inside and outside of our network who are trailblazing to make the future more inclusive. This isn’t about the accomplishments of one; it is about the collective achievements of a powerful movement. The Arc’s Catalyst Awards will inspire future advocacy and empower others to follow in the footsteps of these champions of inclusion.

—Peter V. Berns


The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. We encompass all ages and more than 100 different diagnoses including autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and various other developmental disabilities. Learn more about The Arc here.