Last Year's Award Winners
Advocacy Matters! Award: The Arc of Virginia
The Arc of Virginia was honored with The Arc’s Advocacy Matters! Award for their ongoing advocacy work on behalf of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Virginia. The Arc of Virginia played an instrumental role in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reaching an historic settlement (U.S. v. Virginia Settlement Agreement) requiring the state to close some institutions and provide community-based services for thousands of individuals with I/DD.
Image and Inclusion Award: Don and Laurie Istook
Long time racer and team owner Don Istook and his wife Laurie have a personal connection to the I/DD community. Two of Laurie’s brothers, Mark and Tyson, have Fragile X, but this does not stop them from being an active part of Don’s professional race team pit crew. Inspired by their success, Don and Laurie contacted the national office of The Arc to propose a program to give select chapters of The Arc across the country the opportunity to be an integral part of five races in 2012. Participants in The Arc Audi Racing Program have been able to see the cars, talk to the crew and play a hands-on role in preparing the cars for the race.
President’s Award: Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security
Commissioner Astrue received this award for his steadfast commitment to addressing the needs of people with disabilities, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, during his tenure as Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. The Commissioner always made it clear that Social Security is much more than just numbers and getting the checks out on time - it is people’s lives. Bringing a unique business perspective to the agency, he helped reduce the average length of time applicants wait to receive Social Security disability benefits. He also helped develop and expand initiatives such as Compassionate Allowances and Quick Disability Determinations that seek to provide benefits quickly to applicants with the most severe disabilities. Commissioner Astrue’s term ended earlier this year.
Distinguished Researcher Award: Rud Turnbull
This award is given each year to a career academic researcher whose work has contributed significantly to the study of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Rud Turnbull is a non-practicing lawyer, policy researcher, teacher, consultant, advocate, and a self-described student of the human condition in policy contexts whose peers have described him as one of 36 people who, in the 20th Century, changed the course of history in this field. His career as an unrelenting advocate and thought leader for people with intellectual disabilities is truly a legacy. Rud is the Marianna and Ross Beach Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas, has authored more than 300 publications on disability law and policy, and is still active at the national level with The Arc as a trusted advisor and volunteer.
Participatory Action Research Award: Jack Brandt
This award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of researchers who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, and demonstrates the power of research coupled with self-advocacy. Jack Brandt has been the Disability Policy Specialist for the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University since 2010, and previously served as a Disability Rights Advocate at the Virginia Office for Protection & Advocacy and a Disability Policy Consultant for the State of Virginia. Jack serves on the Virginia Community Integration Advisory Commission and the Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council as well as the President’s Council for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and is pursuing his M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University.
NCE Distinguished Professional Achievement Awards
Each year, The National Conference of Executives of The Arc (NCE) honors the professional excellence and achievement of NCE members and those persons outside the membership who make significant efforts to fulfill the mission, core values and position statements of The Arc. Full descriptions of the winners of the 2012 NCE Professional Achievement Awards can be found on the NCE Awards page.