Our Mission


The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.


The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of welcoming communities.

NDSS Programs

Founded in 1979, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) supports and advocates for the Down syndrome community by focusing on three key areas of programming: Resources & Support, Policy & Advocacy, and Community Engagement. Within these focus areas, NDSS engages in various activities, events, and programs on topics that are critical to our community, such as federal and state advocacy and public policy, health and wellness, education, and employment. NDSS creates resources to support individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and caregivers across the lifespan and hosts awareness and engagement events throughout the country including the National Buddy Walk® Program, the Times Square Video presentation and New York City Buddy Walk®, Racing for 3.21 on World Down Syndrome Day, Run for 3.21, DC Golf Outing, the annual NDSS Gala & Auction, and others.

Resources & Support

NDSS is committed to providing individuals with Down syndrome, their families, caregivers, and the public with comprehensive information across the lifespan, from birth to end of life. Through events, webinars, videos, publications, and our website, NDSS provides free resources on a variety of topics including information for new and expectant parents, health and wellness, education, and employment. Through our helpline and info email, NDSS answers thousands of requests for support each year. Our staff responds to questions and connects parents, professionals, self-advocates, and others with referrals, including to our network of more than 300 local Down syndrome organizations.

Advocacy & Policy

The NDSS Advocacy & Public Policy Program champions federal, state, and local policies that positively impact all people with Down syndrome across the country. Through our grassroots advocacy programs, NDSS works with Congress and federal agencies, as well as state and local officials, to develop and improve laws, regulations, and policies for the benefit of the Down syndrome community. NDSS also empowers self-advocates, parents, and others to influence policy themselves. The NDSS legislative agenda spans the life experience of individuals with Down syndrome from birth to adulthood, centered on five important areas: healthcare and research, education, economic self-sufficiency, community integration, and employment.

Community Engagement

The Down syndrome community is the heart of NDSS. Our community engagement events and activities celebrate our loved ones with Down syndrome, raise awareness and acceptance among the general public, and connect individuals and families within the community. Through our scholarships, grants, and awards program, NDSS supports individuals with Down syndrome in pursuing their dreams. Started in 1995, the National Buddy Walk® Program promotes acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and raises funds for local and national organizations that support the community. Additionally, NDSS hosts awareness and engagement events throughout the country including our Times Square Video presentation and New York City Buddy Walk®, Racing for 3.21 on World Down Syndrome Day, Run for 3.21, DC Golf Outing, annual NDSS Gala & Auction, and more.

NDSS is a 501c3 organization. Our advocacy work is nonpartisan and we do not endorse any political party or candidate.

Core Values


People with Down syndrome and their families are at the heart of everything we do. Each and every day, we strive to serve and support our community, to address their needs, and to put them at the center of every decision we make.


We are committed to the highest level of transparency, responsibility, and stewardship of our supporters' funds and of our community's trust. We make our financial records available to the public, we report back to our supporters on their impact, and we strive to always make ethical choices in the best interest of our community.


By collaborating with others, we can better support the entire Down syndrome community. Whether working internally as a team or with other organizations, we seek new ways to amplify and enhance our collective service to the community, we are open to new ideas and viewpoints, and we invite collaboration in all we do.


We believe that everyone belongs in our NDSS family. We foster a sense of openness and acceptance in all that we do, we embrace diversity among our staff, volunteers, and supporters and we strive to ensure all individuals with Down syndrome and their families find a home with NDSS.


We are committed to ensuring all individuals with Down syndrome are respected in their schools, workplaces, and communities. That work begins within our organization. We strive to always act respectfully toward each other and toward our volunteers, partners, supporters, vendors, and community members.