Amazon and The Arc have joined forces to launch a community program aimed at enhancing technology access for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). In this landmark initiative, Amazon is donating 5,000 Echo Show and Fire Tablet devices to nearly 600 chapters of The Arc across the United States. The goal is to empower people with IDD, fostering greater independence through the use of technology in daily living. The program, facilitated by TechSoup, will not only provide essential devices but also encourage feedback from the IDD community on Amazon products. The collaboration strives to bridge the digital divide, allowing individuals with IDD to participate fully in society and enjoy autonomy, entertainment, education, and inclusion. The program was officially launched at The Arc of Spokane on November 20, 2023, with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers in attendance. Personal stories illustrate the positive impact, such as Grace using her device for morning routines and academic tasks, Scott staying connected with the weather and learning, and Jonathan using technology for music, organization, and communication with his sister. This partnership underscores the commitment to unlocking the untapped potential within the disability community and leveraging technology for a more inclusive and independent life.
Amazon Will Donate 5,000 Devices, Provide Monetary Support, and Engage IDD Community for Ongoing Feedback
Washington, DC – Technology can be life-changing, but people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) disproportionately face barriers to access and adoption. Amazon and The Arc have announced a landmark community program that will expand technology access and empower greater independence for thousands of people with IDD.
Amazon is donating 5,000 Echo Show and Fire Tablet devices to nearly 600 chapters of The Arc across the United States. The Arc, along with TechSoup, the leading nonprofit network facilitating distribution and adoption of technology solutions, will implement the national donation program to its chapters. The donation will enable people with IDD to leverage technology to improve daily living. The organizations will also build upon their existing work of giving people with IDD the opportunity to provide product feedback on Amazon devices.
“This collaboration is about more than donating devices – it’s about empowering people with disabilities to live life on their own terms,” said Katy Schmid, Senior Director of National Program Initiatives at The Arc of the United States. “Autonomy, entertainment, education, inclusion – these are essentials of a meaningful life, and they continue to be out of reach for many people with IDD. Our community uses technology for their daily needs in inventive ways, and this program will give even more people greater control over everyday moments. Together, we can help close the digital divide and help people with IDD fully participate in society in ways many of us take for granted.”
“The disability community is full of untapped potential just waiting to be unleashed,” said Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, U.S. Representative for Washington State. “In today’s digital world, innovative technology is the key to unlocking new and exciting opportunities for individuals living with disabilities to achieve their goals. I’m grateful for the efforts of Amazon and The Arc to further empower every person with a disability to live a more full and independent life.”
This partnership will help people like:
- Grace, a tween with Down syndrome, autism, ADD, hearing loss, and visual impairment who uses her device to get ready in the morning, play her favorite songs, help with her academic work, and notify her parents when she needs help.
- Scott, an adult with IDD and a hearing impairment who uses his device to hear the local weather, dance, and learn new things.
- Jonathan, an adult with an intellectual disability and bipolar disorder who uses his device to listen to music, set an alarm for morning wake-up, stay organized, and be more in touch with his sister.
“We’re excited to work with The Arc to support and empower people with disabilities” said Leila Rouhi, Vice President of Trust for Devices and Services at Amazon. “It is energizing to see how our devices meaningfully improve the lives of customers like Grace, Scott, and Jonathan, and we will continue working to make the world more accessible through technology for people with IDD.”
The community program kicked off this week at a launch event with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers held at The Arc of Spokane on November 20, 2023.
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, and over 80 million family members who love and care for them. Visit 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 Amazon: Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, Earth’s Best Employer, and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Career Choice, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Just Walk Out technology, Amazon Studios, and The Climate Pledge are some of the things pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.