2021 National Buddy Walk® Program Announcement

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2021 National Buddy Walk® Program Announcement – March 1, 2021 


After the challenges of 2020, we hope you can join us in feeling optimistic about the year ahead. Last year, it was extremely important to everyone at NDSS that we waived Buddy Walk® licensing fees in support of your local events. We are thrilled to have worked with so many of you over the past year to help you hold successful Buddy Walks, even if they looked immensely different from past years. 


As we look to the year ahead, we know that this pandemic and its impact are far from over. However, we also know that through dedication and creativity we are all finding ways to celebrate our community and engage them in our missions. We also know that charitable giving has bounced back in most markets over the last six months and all signs point to a successful 2021 fundraising year. 


For all of these reasons, we have made the decision to request a 2.5% licensing fee for 2021 Buddy Walk events. This lowered fee will allow you to continue keeping the majority of your proceeds in your local communities, while ensuring we can provide you with support, resources, trainings, templates and more to help you succeed. We have also decided to hold off on the Buddy Walk® Incentive Program at this time. 


Over the next few months, we will be announcing our new National Buddy Walk Program Manager who will provide you with even more dedicated support as you plan and execute your event. We will also roll out a series of Zoom learning sessions, which will be recorded, to provide you with best practices around fundraising, stewardship, virtual event planning, public relations and more. In addition, we’ll increase opportunities for you to share and learn from each other. 


While we know 2021 won’t necessarily bring a “return to normal,” we are optimistic that we can collectively use the lessons learned in 2020 to come out even stronger. Our staff and Board know that – together as the National Buddy Walk Program – we can continue having a powerful impact for individuals with Down syndrome and their families in your communities and across the country.  


As you begin to plan your 2021 Buddy Walk, whether virtual, in-person or hybrid, please reach out to BuddyWalk@ndss.org to get registered. We look forward to doing all we can to support your event and your organization in the months ahead. 



Kandi Pickard  

NDSS President & CEO