“To provide education, advocacy and support to children and adults with disabilities to foster empowerment and full inclusion in the community.”
The Arc of Bismarck is a private, non-profit 501(C)3 advocacy organization that was formed in 1957. Originally founded by a small group of parents and stakeholders, The Arc has offered a variety of services and supports over the years, always morphing to meet the current needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. The Arc of Bismarck is dedicated to improving community support and services, influencing public policy at all levels, providing education and training for advocates, self-advocates and parents, and achieving full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of life.
The Arc of Bismarck is a local chapter under the umbrella of The Arc of North Dakota and The Arc of the United States. As part of this cohesive nationwide network, The Arc has accomplished much on a local and national level:
- Introducing the term “intellectual disability” to replace the use of the derogatory classification “mental retardation”
- Drafting key points for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Establishing the National Housing Trust Fund for people with disabilities
- Leading the charge to close institutions and shift toward community and home based services for individuals with disabilities
- Assisting in the closure of the state institution in the early 1980s.
STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION
The Arc of Bismarck is a hierarchical, member-run organization. As a small non-profit organization, The Arc has two arms that contribute to success of The Arc:
The Arc Thrift Store
- Provides monetary support for programs
- Employs individuals with disabilities
The Arc of Bismarck
- Focuses on providing community based programs for individuals with disabilities and their families.
- Advocates for people with disabilities through participation in key projects and committees at the local and state level.
All activities are additionally supported through fundraising efforts. Together, these two very different funding streams contribute to positive changes for individuals with disabilities in the areas of supports, services, and advocacy.