Four Leading Disability Organizations Announce Leadership of the ABLE National Resource Center

National Disability Institute, National Down Syndrome Society, Autism Speaks and The Disability Opportunity Fund Partner to Help Accelerate the Availability of ABLE Accounts Nationwide

Washington, District of Columbia, UNITED STATES

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- National Disability Institute (NDI), founder of the ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC), has entered into a formal partnership with three other leading national disability organizations - National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), Autism Speaks, and The Disability Opportunity Fund (DOF) - to assist in better achieving the goals, objectives and mission of the ANRC. The four organizations will collectively serve as the executive leadership over the ANRC, and will work in collaboration with the Center's current membership, consisting of over 30 national disability-related organizations.

"NDI is looking forward to working with these three dynamic organizations. The value brought by their collective contributions will inevitably ensure a bright future for the Center and ultimately the people with disabilities it serves," Michael Morris, NDI Executive Director, said. "I would, in particular, like to thank the Bank of America Foundation for being the inaugural sponsor of the ABLE National Resource Center. With its support, and the additional sponsors we expect to sign on by the end of the year, we can expand our vital work on behalf of people with disabilities and their families."

Each of the four executive leadership organizations has committed substantial ongoing resources to both pass the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (Public Law 113-295) and to ensure the success of the ANRC. In addition to support NDI received from Bank of America Foundation for the Center, DOF is committing a portion of its recent Wells Fargo NEXT Award to the ANRC. This particular award recognized the potential impact the Community Development Financial Institution industry can play in starting an innovative consumer finance strategy, such as ABLE accounts.

"This is an historical collaboration between four leading disability organizations. It is vital that the disability community work together to ensure we have effective, efficient and widespread availability of ABLE accounts across the country," Sara Hart Weir, NDSS President said. "The ABLE Act remains one of the most significant pieces of disability legislation and is among the most bipartisan, bicameral bills ever passed any Congress – 85 percent of the entire 113th Congress supported the law."

The ANRC goals and objectives are the following:

  • Serve as a facilitator between the disability sector, government, and financial service companies to accelerate the effective design and availability of ABLE accounts nationwide;
  • Educate the disability community about the opportunities available to save and plan for a better economic future and quality of life experience through the establishment of ABLE accounts;
  • Educate government at federal and state levels about consumer needs and challenges in establishing and/or managing an ABLE account;
  • Educate and inform financial service companies about the needs and interests of the disability community to offer investment product choices to place ABLE account resources; and
  • Educate the public, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders about the positive impact of ABLE accounts at an individual and systems level and any needed changes for further policy development.

The ANRC collaborative estimates the number of eligible individuals and families is between five and eight million and will grow each year. It is projected that more than $50 billion is expected to be invested in ABLE accounts over the next five years. The ANRC will provide consistent, reliable information about the benefits of an ABLE account and its potential impact on quality of life experience for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the ANRC will educate individuals with disabilities and their families, state governments and related agencies, financial service companies, and financial planners and attorneys in relevant specialty areas, about the rules governing the administration and use of these accounts.

For more information on the ABLE National Resource Center please contact Chris Rodriguez at

About National Disability Institute
National Disability Institute (NDI) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to building a better economic future for people with disabilities. The first national organization committed exclusively to championing economic empowerment, financial education, asset development and financial stability for all persons with disabilities, NDI affects change through public education, policy development, training, technical assistance and innovative initiatives. NDI and its Real Economic Impact (REI) Network have helped 2.8 million people with disabilities receive more than $2.7 billion in tax refunds and credits. To learn more, visit Engage with NDI on Facebook: RealEconImpact or follow NDI on Twitter: @RealEconImpact.
About National Down Syndrome Society
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is a nonprofit organization representing the more than 400,000 Americans with Down syndrome. The mission of NDSS is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of a welcoming community. NDSS has a network of over 350 affiliates nationwide. To learn more about NDSS, please visit Engage with NDSS on Facebook: NDSS1979 or follow NDSS on Twitter: @NDSS.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed $560 million to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year, Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in nearly 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 70 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit
About Disability Opportunity Fund
The Disability Opportunity Fund (DOF) is a United States Department of the Treasury Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides financing, technical services, and policy advocacy to increase access to appropriate and affordable housing and related services for people with disabilities throughout the United States. The vision of DOF is to create a society where financing is readily available to address the gap in housing and related services for people with disabilities and their families. DOF is the winner of the 2015 Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance $100,000 Seed Capital award for its work on the ABLE Act. To learn more about this prestigious award, please visit and


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