The Arc Launches Dynamic New National Brand Identity

Washington, D.C. – The Arc, the largest organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, FASD, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses, is changing its look and adopting a new visual identity. The Arc is joined in the launch of this rebranding initiative by state and local chapters representing more than 30 states.

“This is an exciting time in The Arc’s history,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc. Our powerful, new, shared identify reflects the energy and the action of our organization as we work to transform the lives of people with I/DD.  This impactful and fresh identity will move us further in revitalizing The Arc – an organization that has been on the frontlines of advocacy and service for over 60 years –by harnessing the incredible power of those we serve.”

The Arc’s vibrant new logo and tagline communicate the organization’s commitment to promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. The Arc’s logo is
emblematic of the organization’s embracing nature with the flowing “catalyst” icon; a burst of energy is symbolic of our support of independence. The new tagline, Achieve with us, conveys The Arc as a provider of opportunity, hope, growth and change.

The Arc’s new identity grew out of a lengthy, collaborative effort that began in spring 2008 and has involved literally thousands of The Arc’s volunteer and staff leaders, constituents and other stakeholders to create a visionary plan for the future: The Strategic Framework 2010-2019. A survey of chapters of The Arc demonstrated widespread support to rebrand and create a more compelling vision for The Arc.

The launch of The Arc’s new brand coincides with the commemoration of Developmental Disability Awareness Month in March. Nearly a quarter century ago, The Arc’s advocacy led to President Ronald Reagan officially proclaiming March to be Developmental Disabilities (DD) Awareness Month. Chapters of The Arc across the nation are celebrating DD Awareness Month with special events and activities. Over the past six decades, The Arc has championed groundbreaking legislation that has improved the lives of people with I/DD.

“There is tremendous energy and ‘buzz’ as we begin to implement The Arc’s new brand identity” said Mohan Mehra, Board President of The Arc. “This will help raise public awareness of The Arc and translate to greater support at both the local and national levels. I am especially invested in the new brand and have been involved since the start of the process. Having served as a business manager with Kraft Foods with experience in business strategy, marketing and sales I know that a new brand can make a real difference.”

The Arc selected CoreBrand, an award-winning branding firm, to design and execute the new identity led by Brand Director Jonathan Paisner.  “As a branding consultant, this was the rare opportunity to help discover and unleash a powerful brand simply waiting to be born,” Paisner said.  “A true collective voice –- one shared by and reflected in over 700 chapters – will certainly be a boon to fundraising, volunteerism and visibility in the corporate world. Yet the true impact of a greater national presence will ultimately bring all of these elements together to advance The Arc’s goals of inclusion, hope, opportunity and achievement.”

The look and feel of the new brand will advance further with the May 10, 2011 national announcement of The Arc’s FINDS (Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports) survey results at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  The FINDS survey will yield a candid and current view on issues concerning the needs for disability supports across the lifespan. This unprecedented assessment of data from nearly 6,000 individuals will enable those in the field to better understand what services are available, what gaps exist and what new supports are needed.

Today, across the United States, the 700+ chapters of The Arc share common goals:

  • The Arc is embracing, determined and experienced in promoting and protecting the rights of people with I/DD;
  • The Arc provides key needed services and supports across the arc of a lifetime and across diagnoses, such as Down syndrome, autism and many other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • The Arc is banding together around the new and vigorous identity that embodies the energy and movement of The Arc to help people with I/DD feel empowered and included.

“We are thrilled,” Berns added, “that upon the launch today we will have more than 150 of The Arc’s state and local chapters simultaneously unveil The Arc’s new brand identity in communities across the country.  With close to 25% of chapters of The Arc on board already, and more chapters signing on daily, the successful implementation of our new brand strategy is well underway,” Berns explained.

Spread Some Awareness in Your World

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month thanks to a 1987 Presidential Proclamation which was the direct result of the advocacy efforts of The Arc.  A lot has changed since then: more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are living and thriving in their communities rather than institutions, there are more opportunities in education and employment, more protections in health care, the legal system and other areas of human rights, there are more positive and accurate portrayals of people with I/DD in the arts, the list goes on. But we must remember that many of those advancements were hard won. Self-advocacy and advocacy on behalf of those with I/DD was the impetus for many of the positive changes in our society, such as the proclamation that recognized DD Awareness Month.

It’s up to you to continue to advocate for respect, access and inclusion of people with I/DD. Take advantage of March to spread some awareness in your world. Learn more about the issues concerning people with I/DD and The Arc’s position on those issues. Learn more about public policy that impacts people with I/DD and contact your legislator. Since many people with disabilities rely on publicly funded services to fully participate in their communities, policy makers need to know you are concerned about continuing those services in the face of budget cuts during tough economic times. And, get involved. Find a local chapter of The Arc and volunteer or donate. Together we can continue to make a difference.

What Can I Do to Raise Awareness About Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities?

There’s a lot you as an individual can you do to raise awareness about intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in your community. And, since March is I/DD Awareness Month, that’s the perfect time to do your thing – we encourage you to pick at least one idea from the list below and make that your personal effort to raise I/DD awareness during March.

  • Post this as your status on Facebook at least once during March: March is Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Awareness Month. Help me celebrate the contributions of all people with I/DD by copying and posting this as your status during March. Get more information about I/DD at www.thearc.org.
  • Tweet this out on Twitter at least once during March: March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Be aware. Visit www.thearc.org.
  • Write a post for your blog about someone you know with an intellectual or developmental disability and how they have inspired you.
  • Since many people with disabilities rely on publicly funded services to fully participate in their communities, policy makers need to know you are concerned about continuing those services in the face of budget cuts during tough economic times. Contact your legislator today and let them know you expect them to enact public policy to assist people with I/DD.
  • Contact your local chapter of The Arc to volunteer or donate. Local chapters are on the front lines of advocacy efforts and provide the services and supports essential to people with I/DD and their families. Often they are lifelines for struggling families and they need your help to accomplish their goals.
  • Watch movies and TV shows that positively portray actors with disabilities and discuss them with your friends and family. Two actresses with Down syndrome are featured on the hit TV show Glee and were recently awarded The Arc’s Inclusion and Image Award for their positive portrayals.
  • Talk to your employer about their practices for recruiting and hiring people with I/DD. Many employers don’t realize just how much an employee with I/DD can contribute to the workplace. Tell them.
  • Support businesses that employ people with I/DD and make sure they know you noticed.
  • Comment on The Arc’s Facebook page and Twitter profile about what you are doing to raise awareness of I/DD.