A Hispanic young man with disabilities sits with a teacher at a desk. He is looking at a laptop.

Comcast Grants $1M to Transform The Arc’s Data, Tech Training, and Spanish Education Resources

Washington, DC – The Arc of the United States and Comcast NBCUniversal announced a major expansion of their long-standing partnership that will break down barriers and create more equity and opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Comcast is providing a $1 million grant over two years to The Arc to modernize its data infrastructure, deepen the impact of its digital literacy programs, and give Spanish-speaking families access to special education advocacy. This funding is a part of Project UP, Comcast’s $1 billion commitment to advance digital equity and help create a future of unlimited possibilities.

Robust data is the foundation for driving meaningful change. This investment will revolutionize how The Arc collects and analyzes information across its network of nearly 600 chapters nationwide. The new centralized data system will track vital services its chapters provide, capture the scope of The Arc’s collective impact, and reveal insights to better advocate for and support the IDD community. The benefits of this new technology will reach every stakeholder: the national office will better support its chapters, chapters will learn best practices from each other and better meet their community’s needs, and people with disabilities and their families will have a stronger federation to rely on.

“In our pursuit of a fully inclusive society, data is power,” said Katy Neas, CEO of The Arc of the United States. “This grant allows us to wield our collective strength across our nearly 600 chapters to more strategically uplift millions of people with disabilities across America, making our human impact even greater.”

Comcast has also supported The Arc’s efforts to ensure resources are accessible to Hispanic communities. Through funding in 2023, The Arc@School Special Education Advocacy Curriculum was translated into Spanish and launched in early 2024. As part of the new grant, The Arc will conduct targeted outreach to Hispanic communities through Spanish-language webinars, collaboration with Spanish-speaking Special Education Advocates, and local program access to help this underserved population become strong special education advocates. The funding will specifically provide subgrants to five chapters of The Arc—located in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Texas, and Virginia—that will give 150 Spanish-speaking families free access to the program and host focus groups to learn and better ensure their children receive a quality public school education.

“For too long, students with disabilities have faced a whole host of barriers that have denied them the free, appropriate public education they are entitled to,” Katy Neas said. “It is essential that parents and school personnel alike fully understand their rights and responsibilities so that students get the education they need consistent with federal law. Our partnership with Comcast to get The Arc@School in the hands of more families and educators is tearing down those barriers in profound ways. With their support, we are empowering students to not only access the education they deserve but to truly thrive.”

In addition, the Comcast grant will support The Arc’s Tech Coaching Centers, which provide customized digital skills training to people with IDD. The Arc will broaden its training to include caregivers and family members, which will better integrate technology skills into all environments of a person’s daily life, and support a total of 10 sites across Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas. Since 2014, Comcast has helped The Arc’s Tech Coaching Centers empower over 2,500 people with IDD through training that advances measured outcomes in employment, health, independent living, education, and interpersonal connections.

“Whether it’s having a reliable job, managing your health, learning lifelong skills, or being socially connected—technology is the bridge to opportunities and independence,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation and President of Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation. “We’re proud to partner with The Arc to meaningfully advance digital access and equity for people with disabilities.”



About The Arc of the United States: The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy, and other diagnoses. Founded in 1950 by parents who believed their children with IDD deserved more, The Arc is now a network of nearly 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with IDD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. Through the decades, The Arc has been at the forefront of advances in disability rights and supports. There are over 7 million people with IDD in the United States, which encompasses over 100 different diagnoses. Visit www.thearc.org or follow us @TheArcUS to learn more. Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.


About Comcast Corporation: Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company. From the connectivity and platforms we provide, to the content and experiences we create, our businesses reach hundreds of millions of customers, viewers, and guests worldwide. We deliver world-class broadband, wireless, and video through Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky; produce, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through brands including NBC, Telemundo, Universal, Peacock, and Sky; and bring incredible theme parks and attractions to life through Universal Destinations & Experiences. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.


Media Contacts:

Jackie Dilworth



Kim Atterbury


A woman in a wheelchair is holding a tablet and showing it to a man seated next to her who is holding a clipboard. They are in a work setting.

5 Disability Stories Journalists Should Be Covering Right Now (2024)

Journalists, are people with disabilities and disability issues at the forefront of your coverage? With over 61 million Americans and 1 billion people globally living with a disability, we all know and love someone with a disability. Yet this large and influential community remains underrepresented in media narratives. Too often, disability stories perpetuate negative stereotypes, reduce people to inspirational tropes, or oversimplify their diverse experiences and intersectional identities.

The Arc has driven disability rights for nearly 75 years, and we want to help you elevate authentic and diverse disability perspectives across all beats. Building on last year’s overlooked topics, we’re bringing you five new timely topics that demand greater attention. We hope this gives you a starting point to investigate the systemic barriers, discrimination, and lack of access and representation that people with disabilities face every day.

Here are 5 crucial angles you should report on in summer and fall 2024:

1. Disability Pride Month

July marks Disability Pride Month, commemorating the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Yet this annual celebration championing disability rights and human diversity rarely shows up in news programs or stories. Just like American Heart Month or Autism Acceptance Month, Disability Pride Month has rich storytelling potential. What began as grassroots parades asserting disabled people’s rights to live freely has evolved into a global movement accepting each disabled person’s uniqueness and rejecting ableism and societal pressures on non-normative bodies. It’s also an opportunity to rally around policy priorities like health care access and barriers to employment and education.

Capture the intersectional perspectives uplifting disability pride across races, LGBTQ+ identities, disability types, and other marginalized groups. Spotlight trailblazing activists and organizations continuing the fight for inclusion. Analyze how companies and governments are following through on accessibility commitments.

Don’t let inspiration porn define your coverage. Disability Pride symbolizes resilience, beauty in human diversity, and the notion that disabled lives are equally valued. Uplifting authentic voices can reshape attitudes and catalyze change in your community.

2. The Child Care Crisis

Like all parents, parents of children with disabilities want to see their child thrive, and child care is crucial to that. As you cover America’s overarching child care accessibility and affordability crisis, consider a too-often overlooked angle—the severe obstacles facing families of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

These families confront the most difficult barriers in finding trusted, safe, developmentally appropriate child care. Many providers outright deny services to children with IDD or prematurely expel them, deeming accommodations too burdensome despite legal requirements. Research found 1 in 6 children with autism have been kicked out of child care.

Affordable, inclusive child care programs are scarce, and the consequences are devastating. Without reliable care, parents are forced to make career sacrifices, losing income and opportunities, which only adds to their extreme stress. Children with IDD miss pivotal social and developmental experiences alongside their peers. Congress has recently taken notice of this crisis, asking the Government Accountability Office to conduct a first-ever study on the difficulties that parents of children with disabilities face in finding child care. Numerous constituents of The Arc shared their experiences for the study.

Investigate nearby centers’ admission and expulsion policies. Hold providers accountable for discriminatory practices. Encourage local parents of nondisabled children to foster inclusion and acceptance of disabled children. Spotlight the economic and emotional toll this crisis leaves on parents of children with disabilities. Center these marginalized families in your storytelling.

The experiences of families of children with disabilities must be part of this national crisis.

3. Election 2024

This election cycle carries enormous significance for Americans with disabilities, the nation’s largest minority voting bloc. Yet their perspectives and the policies shaping their daily lives are consistently overlooked in candidate debates, interviews, and media narratives. Disability cuts across every community and every issue—from education and employment to health care access and criminal justice reform. Candidates’ stances on these topics will profoundly impact disabled voters’ quality of life. And new federal guidance from the Department of Justice reinforces that the ADA prohibits discrimination in voting and protects the rights of people with disabilities.

Spotlight the diverse perspectives and policy priorities from disability advocates. Investigate how proposals on safety nets like Medicaid and Social Security will tangibly affect this population’s independence and economic mobility. Ask the tough questions about how candidates will address systemic barriers and discrimination that shut out disabled voters.

Most crucially, ensure your coverage itself is accessible and inclusive. Center disabled voices as sources and authors—not just subjects. Consciously counter biases and tropes about disability in language and graphics you use.

We hope your election coverage will elevate the disability community’s needs as frontline issues. Here’s a guide to help you get started.

4. The Social Security Customer Service Crisis

When people apply for crucial Social Security benefits, the process should be fair, prompt, and accessible. But for far too many, that’s not the reality.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the gatekeeper to disability benefits that millions of people with disabilities rely on for survival. Unfortunately, they’re facing a customer service crisis after more than a decade of underinvestment, rapidly expanding workloads, and record-high staff attrition. Its administrative budget has been cut by 20% over 9 years, now making up less than 1% of benefits paid—a stark contrast to what private insurers spend on overhead.

The consequences have been devastating. Over 1.1 million initial disability claims are currently pending—almost double pre-pandemic levels. Thousands of people are dying each year while desperately waiting for the income and insurance they need to survive.

Disability advocates have been sounding the alarm, demanding action from Congress. The Arc recently joined 22 organizations urging lawmakers to properly fund the SSA through the President’s budget request. They must give this agency the resources and staffing it needs to promptly and fairly adjudicate claims—upholding people with disabilities’ life-sustaining benefits and basic human dignity.

If you cover this nationally-recognized crisis, don’t overlook the experiences of people with disabilities. Localize the claims delays impacting your community. Hold leaders and lawmakers accountable for solutions. Elevate the stories of people with disabilities who are struggling to navigate life without these crucial benefits. Their stories are what will compel overdue reform.

5. AI in the Classroom

As artificial intelligence (AI) rapidly evolves, you can’t overlook its complex impact on education, especially for students with disabilities. There are opportunities, but also equity and ethical concerns to navigate.

The potential upsides? AI can tailor educational materials to individual needs and learning styles, benefiting students who require customized instruction. Additionally, AI boost accessibility for students with disabilities by converting content into visuals, simplified language, text-to-speech, or speech-to-text. Algorithms analyzing student data could also identify trends and patterns that can inform tailored instructional strategies and interventions.

But AI bias is a major risk. If trained on data underrepresenting or stereotyping certain groups, the system’s recommendations could entrench discrimination against students with disabilities. There are also ethical and privacy issues around consent, autonomy, and the appropriate use of student data. Clear guidelines and safeguards are vital to protect students’ rights and well-being.

Localize this nationally-relevant topic by scrutinizing your school district’s AI policies and spending. Gather perspectives from educators, parents, and students themselves. How are they mitigating bias and protecting students with disabilities? Is AI’s efficiency inadvertently diminishing human interaction’s role?

As always, center the rights and needs of the disability community. Hold AI companies accountable for inclusivity and ethical design from the start. Highlight work making AI truly accessible and empowering for disabled students. By examining AI’s complex classroom implications, your coverage can drive thoughtful dialogue and ensure no student is left behind.

BONUS Topic: Discrimination & Criminalization of Parents With Disabilities

As journalists ramp up Mother’s Day and Father’s Day content, one perspective is often missing—the experiences of disabled parents. This glaring oversight perpetuates harmful biases that parents with disabilities face, leading to widespread discrimination and even family separations.

Despite having the same dreams of raising children as everyone else, parents with IDD are shockingly overrepresented in the child welfare system. Up to 80% permanently lose custody due to prejudicial doubts about their caregiving abilities rather than evidence of neglect or abuse.

For all their resilience, parents with IDD also face everyday discrimination as they navigate life as a parent—from educators to cashiers. Stories humanizing their loving bonds and advocacy battles are urgently needed.

This Mother’s, Father’s, and Parent’s Day, celebrate their journeys through authentic, nuanced profiles. Highlight the support systems sustaining parents with disabilities. Elevate disabled parents’ own experiences to counter negative stereotypes about them being “unfit.” Spotlight their pride, resilience, and devotion to their children. Most crucially, include video, images, and stories of parents with disabilities in your everyday coverage of parenting topics.

This angle offers fresh perspectives that will strengthen your holiday storytelling and year-round diversity coverage.

Please contact us at dilworth@thearc.org if you need sources, background information, or other issues. Also, be sure to visit our Press Center to find guides on reporting on disability. We are excited to see your impactful work!

A person with disabilities using a wheelchair is with a thre other people. They are on a sidewalk in a city.

The Arc and United Health Foundation Launch $2.5M Partnership to Tackle Mental Health Crisis for People With Disabilities

The partnership will provide $100,000 to 10 communities to expand mental health support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, and WASHINGTON, DC – The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), has awarded The Arc of the United States a three-year, $2.5 million grant to improve mental health care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Up to 40% of people with IDD have co-occurring mental health conditions, and this critical funding will help address their unmet mental health needs.

Currently, only 1 in 10 children and adolescents with IDD and mental health disorders receive specialized services. Additionally, people with disabilities report 3 times more suicidal ideation compared to those without disabilities, and adults with disabilities are 3.5 times more likely to experience frequent mental distress. These statistics highlight the need for training and awareness to ensure providers and caregivers are equipped to support the mental health needs of people with disabilities.

“People with intellectual and developmental disabilities face barriers from the moment they are born, which can have a direct impact on their mental health,” said Katy Neas, CEO of The Arc of the United States. “But too often, their mental health needs are going unmet due to stigma, lack of training, and biases. This generous investment by the United Health Foundation gives us a path to tackle this mental health crisis head-on by providing critical training to all who interact with our community—medical professionals, caregivers, first responders, educators, families, and more. Let’s work together to improve coordination of care, raise awareness, and ensure everyone’s mental health needs are supported.”

The partnership will deploy $100,000 in direct grants to 10 chapters of The Arc nationwide to build comprehensive local solutions tailored to people with IDD. This includes expanding access to quality mental health care services, improving coordination between disability and health systems, training over 2,000 providers and caregivers to recognize mental health needs in people with IDD, and launching public awareness campaigns to counteract stigma and misconceptions.

The 10 chapters receiving grants are: The Arc of Arizona, The Arc of Loudoun (VA), The Arc of Macomb County (MI), The Arc of Mississippi, The Arc of Oklahoma, The Arc Oregon, The Arc Prince George’s County (MD), The Arc Rhode Island, St. Louis Arc (MO) and Sertoma Star Services (IL).

“When we root ourselves in empathy and build alongside those with lived experiences, pretty powerful things begin to take shape,” said Dan Schumacher, executive vice president, UnitedHealth Group, who also serves on the Board of Directors of the United Health Foundation and as the executive sponsor of UnitedHealth Group’s disability inclusion employee resource group. “The United Health Foundation is committed to building strong partnerships and providing resources to address the needs of our communities. Together with The Arc, we’re excited to see the impact this work has on providers, caregivers and the people they serve.”

A key component of the grant is partnering with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing to adapt its evidence-based Mental Health First Aid program with information on IDD. The training teaches how to identify and respond to signs of mental illness and substance disorders. As the Council notes, “Most of us would know how to help someone having a heart attack, but too few know how to respond if someone was having a panic attack or showing signs of substance abuse. Mental Health First Aid takes the fear out of starting these conversations.”

Over three years, the United Health Foundation grant will help train caregivers, health care professionals, first responders, educators, and family members to recognize the mental health needs of people with IDD and decrease the number of mental health crisis incidents experienced by this population. The partnership will also provide mental health resources directly to people with IDD through the participating chapters to help them recognize and communicate their own needs. This is vital for individuals, and also families as research shows the mental well-being of parents of children with IDD is strongly influenced by the severity of their child’s co-occurring mental health conditions.


About The Arc of the United States: The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy, and other diagnoses. Founded in 1950 by parents who believed their children with IDD deserved more, The Arc is now a network of nearly 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with IDD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. Through the decades, The Arc has been at the forefront of advances in disability rights and supports. There are over 7 million people with IDD in the United States, which encompasses over 100 different diagnoses. Visit www.thearc.org or follow us @TheArcUS to learn more.

About the United Health Foundation: Through collaboration with community partners, grants, and outreach efforts, the United Health Foundation works to improve the health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce, and enhance the well-being of local communities. The United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, the United Health Foundation has committed nearly $800 million to programs and communities around the world, including a $100 million commitment to help diversify the health workforce. To learn more, visit UnitedHealthFoundation.org.

Media Contacts:
Tony Marusic
UnitedHealth Group

Jackie Dilworth
The Arc of the United States

A young man in a wheelchair outside next to a woman standing next to him. They are both dancing and smiling excitedly. In the bottom right corner are stripes in the colors of the Disability Pride Flag (green, light blue, white, yellow, and red). Across the bottom is white text against a dark gray background that reads "Celebrate Disability Pride Month."

Why and How to Celebrate Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month is celebrated every July and is an opportunity to honor the history, achievements, experiences, and struggles of the disability community. Why July? It marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landmark legislation that broke down barriers to inclusion in society.

People with disabilities deserve to live full, self-determined lives, just like everyone else. Yet discrimination persists for the 1 in 4 U.S. adults living with a disability. That’s why we spotlight inspiring stories in July and beyond that show what’s possible with inclusion.

The History of Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month happens every July to mark the ADA’s anniversary, which was passed on July 26, 1990. The first celebration was a Disability Pride Day that took place in Boston in 1990. Chicago hosted the first Disability Pride Parade in 2004. Now there are events nationwide empowering people with disabilities to take pride in who they are. Here’s more about the history of Disability Pride Month and the story behind the flag.

2024 Theme: “We Want a Life Like Yours”

This theme comes from The Arc’s National Council of Self-Advocates. It reflects the disability community’s dreams for life experiences that they are too often denied. All month, we’ll share diverse stories of people with disabilities thriving as students, employees, leaders, engaged members of their communities and families, and more given a chance.

Learn About the Disability Experience

Share Your Disability Story Using #DisabilityPride and #DisablityPrideMonth

What are you proud of? What do you want people without disabilities to know? Share your videos, pictures, or written answers on social media using hashtags #DisabilityPride and #DisabilityPrideMonth. We want as many people to join the conversation as possible! Join The Arc’s celebration by following us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and X/Twitter.

Take Action

  • Reach Out to Your Elected Officials: Educate your elected officials about policies that harm or strengthen the quality of life of people with disabilities. Make sure you bookmark The Arc’s Action Center for timely alerts!
  • Donate to The Arc: For nearly 75 years, The Arc has been at the forefront of positive change in disability rights, and we’re not slowing down! Donate to join our grassroots movement that is creating policy, programs, and possibilities for people with disabilities.

Teach Your Kids to Acknowledge and Include Disabled People

Help foster inclusion for future generations of people with disabilities. Here are age-appropriate tips from TODAY.com, HuffPost, and Cincinnati Children’s.

Attend a Disability Pride Month Event in Your Area

Celebrate your local disability community and show your support! There isn’t a database for Disability Pride Month events (yet!), but here are a few coming up in major cities:

Hire People With Disabilities

Right now, 85% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are unemployed. Many of them want to work and have skills to contribute. Among those who are employed, people with IDD are working fewer than 13 hours a week on average and less than one-fifth of them are getting workplace benefits. But research shows that disability inclusion is a proven good business decision. Read these stories from employees and their employers.

There are many other ways you can celebrate Disability Pride Month, and we hope this list gives you a good starting point. Thank you for doing your part to amplify the voices and experiences of people with disabilities!

If you have questions or events/resources we should add to this page, please email Jackie Dilworth at dilworth@thearc.org!