Best Buddies is Changing Lives Through the Power of Inclusion


Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Best Buddies is the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with IDD. For individuals within this community, Best Buddies serves as a lifeline to creating life-long friendships, securing successful jobs, living independently and feeling valued and respected by society.

Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to nearly 3,000 elementary school, middle school, high school, and college Friendship and Promoter chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ nine formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies®, Jobs, Ambassadors, Promoters and Inclusive Living— engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 56 countries and territories, positively impacting the lives of over 1.3 million people with and without disabilities around the world. In many cases, as a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live independently, become inspirational leaders and build lifelong friendships.

In December 2019, the organization launched Best Buddies Living, an integrated living Initiative, to meet the significant need for inclusive housing for individuals with disabilities. Through this program, individuals with and without IDD live together in a vibrant community that support its residents in advancing their employment, financial literacy, continued education and life skills as they work to achieve their personal goals. In partnership with UCLA, the flagship Best Buddies Living residence is located in Westwood, California and three additional developments are underway in the Washington, D.C. area. As the program expands, Best Buddies Living residences will continue to be near college campuses, cultivating mutually transformative relationships and growth opportunities for people of all abilities.

Through the creation of meaningful, lasting one-to-one friendships with peers without disabilities, the promotion of integrated employment opportunities, the development of leadership skills for individuals with IDD, and the opportunities for inclusive living, Best Buddies is changing the world one friendship, one job, and one leader at a time.

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