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 and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization that has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide.
Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States, and in 50 countries around the world. Best Buddies’ seven formal programs – Best Buddies Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies, Jobs and Ambassadors – positively impact nearly 700,000 individuals with and without disabilities worldwide.
Best Buddies volunteers annually contribute, at no cost to their communities, support services that equate to more than $164 million USD. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with IDD secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships.
Although Best Buddies has advanced tremendously in its short existence, many areas of the country and many regions of the world still lack programs to help people with IDD become part of mainstream society. With that in mind, Best Buddies is systematically implementing its 2020 Initiative, which will witness the organization’s continued significant growth, both domestically and overseas.