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LEAD PARTNERS National Disability Institute

December 21, 2012

National Disability Institute LogoNational Disability Institute (NDI), the lead organization in the LEAD Center collaborative, understands that employment is an important step in a bigger picture for people with disabilities – financial stability and economic advancement.

In 2005, a small group of parents, family members, and individuals with disabilities joined with leading thinkers and practitioners in the disability and asset building communities to launch National Disability Institute (NDI). The unified vision for the new nonprofit corporation was to build together a better economic future for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Through public education, pioneering demonstrations, policy development, and customized training and technical assistance activities, NDI has become a recognized leader nationwide that continues to change thinking and behavior at an individual and systems level that individuals across the spectrum of significant disabilities can work, save, and advance their economic stability and self-sufficiency.

Today, NDI has a staff of 20, located across the country with a headquarters in DC, that is most recognized for harnessing the power of collaboration with government, financial institutions, the business community, community nonprofits, and institutions of higher education to advance new opportunities for work, income production, saving and asset building for people with disabilities.

NDI accomplishments include:

·         The Real Economic Impact Tour has brought together more than 900 collaborating organizations in more than 100 cities nationwide to improve access to the Earned Income Tax Credit. In seven years, NDI has assisted more that 1.5 million low-income workers with disabilities access EITC and benefit from more than $1.4 billion in tax refunds as a first step toward planning a better economic future. The Tour has been supported for multiple years with funding from Bank of America, Walmart, AT&T, Acorda Therapeutics, the IRS, and the U.S. Department of Education.   

·         The Disability Employment Initiative is a unique partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor and NDI that is providing training and technical assistance to 23 state Workforce Investment systems to improve access and support to jobseekers with disabilities at a community level. NDI is the Technical Assistance contractor that provides monthly training events in addition to on-site technical assistance to improve integrated service delivery options.

·         The BEST Intern project is a collaboration with the Kessler Foundation and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, the Workforce Investment system and state VR agencies to place individuals with disabilities in varied jobs in credit unions in selected states that will help improve also the availability of affordable and accessible financial services and products.

·         Asset Development Summits that have brought together the disability and asset building communities to plan and implement an action agenda in more than a dozen states with ongoing education and outreach activities.

·         BEST Alliance, a customized financial education program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities that was piloted at the University of North Florida to teach understanding and skills development regarding budgeting, credit, and savings strategies that is now being adapted and replicated by other colleges and universities for students with and without disabilities to learn together.

With nearly 1 in 3 Americans with disabilities living in poverty – double the national average and among the highest poverty rate of any underserved population in America – National Disability Institute believes the economic advancement and stability of people with disabilities is one of the most important social issues of our time. Today, organizations and individuals can join NDI in its mission and work by joining its Real Economic Impact Network, a grassroots team dedicated to advancing economic self-sufficiency for all Americans with disabilities. To learn more, visit www.realeconomicimpact.org.