About the Catalyst Awards

The Arc’s Catalyst Awards were created in 2015 to recognize individuals, businesses, and other organizations that have made extraordinary contributions toward greater social inclusion and the advancement of the human and civil rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Honorees are recognized for achievements that have benefitted people with disabilities by creating equity, promoting greater independence, protecting human and civil rights, and raising public awareness of challenges facing the national I/DD community—work that embodies what inclusion truly means.

Furthermore, the contributions of Catalyst Awards honorees 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 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.

—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.