Global Down Syndrome Educational Grants

Global Down Syndrome Educational Grant winners 2012


In 2012, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the National Down Syndrome Congress established the Global Down Syndrome Educational Grants to spur educational programs for people with Down syndrome. The two organizations are pooling resources to co-manage and co-fund the grants, which are worth up to $15,000 each and available to local Down syndrome organizations that are affiliates of the National Down Syndrome Congress.

The grants are based on affiliate, parent, and self-advocate feedback regarding a need for more educational programs and opportunities, with several objectives:

  • Provide much-needed financial resources to local Down syndrome organizations
  • Create a professional and in-depth application process similar to community foundations
  • Fund programs and organizations with a high probability of leveraging the grants toward long-term sustainability
  • Have a feedback loop in terms of measuring success of the grants for both the awardees and future grants

The Global Down Syndrome Educational Grants have provided $232,500 to local Down syndrome organizations from around the United States funding 23 innovative educational programs to medical professionals, self-advocates and parents of people with Down syndrome.

Grant applications are available in early spring and winners announced at the annual National Down Syndrome Congress Convention. Follow us on social media, or join our mailing list to receive grant announcements or check back here in the spring to download the grant application.

2014 Winners

Nine educational programs are receiving grants varying from $5,000 to $10,000, totaling $77,500. The nine local Down syndrome organizations we announced at the 2014 National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention in Indianapolis. The Global Down Syndrome Educational Grants program is a collaboration between the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (“Global”) and the National Down Syndrome Congress (“NDSC”).

Grant recipients detailed their ideas, budgets and goals for educational programs as part of their applications, which were reviewed by Global and NDSC for thoroughness, potential, diversity and sustainability. More than 70 applications have been submitted through the program. View the press release.

  • Club 21 Learning & Resource Center (Southern California) — “Equipping Educators” will provide funding for substitute teachers so that 50 general education teachers can attend training on inclusion and addressing the needs of students with Down syndrome.
  • Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands (Nebraska and Iowa) — “Down Syndrome Education Series for Parents” will help parents of children with Down syndrome be better equipped to participate in their students’ education, work more effectively with their school districts, and prepare for transitions.
  • Down Syndrome Association of Delaware — “Adult Down Syndrome Clinic” will be a new program initially serving five patients per clinic with a goal of 100 unique patients over the first three years. Funding will help provide education to the physicians and staff at the clinic while mirroring some of the successful Adult Down Syndrome Clinic models found across the country.
  • Down Syndrome Awareness Group of Baton Rouge (Louisiana) — “Second Annual Down Syndrome Conference” will be an expanded version of the group’s first successful conference, allowing for a dance for people with Down syndrome and more education and networking opportunities for medical professionals, parents and children with Down syndrome.
  • Down Syndrome Community (Seattle) — “Learning Program – Level 1 Pilot” will supplement traditional education, focusing on parents as first teachers for their children. Level 1 focuses on skill development for literacy, math, language and fine motor skills.
  • Down Syndrome Foundation of Southeastern New Mexico  — “Education Workshop” is intended to build upon the success of previous workshops to reach over 150 school administrators, teachers, therapists, auxiliary staff and parents and provide valid research and techniques in educating students with Down syndrome.
  • Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization (Florida) — “Get a Life!” will be a monthly program geared toward transition-age individuals who have Down syndrome to give them and their families the tools for developing a full life in the community as adults.
  • Montana Down Syndrome Association — “Resource Connection” will provide a unique resource library offering books, curriculum materials, adaptive equipment and play materials that can be loaned to families of people with Down syndrome.
  • Up Side of Downs of Northeast Ohio — “Mind Body Soul Adult Mini-Conferences” will be two half-day events for adults with Down syndrome that provide a series of hands-on activities such as photography, makeup and party planning, as well as life-skills topics like safety, technology, money management and other critical issues for daily living.

2013 Winners

In 2013 more than 50 applicants detailed their ideas, budgets and goals for educational programs as part of their applications, which were reviewed by Global and NDSC for thoroughness, potential and sustainability.

  • Down Country (Missouri, Illinois, Iowa) — “I Learn / I Speak / I Care” is designed to give rural residents access to cutting-edge education and information through workshops, and provide technology to rural schools.
  • Down Syndrome Association of Brazos Valley (Texas) — “Keys to Success” will create a computer training program, including a computer lab, to help students with Down syndrome acquire computer skills for everyday life, as well as job security and independence.
  • Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida — “Global Down Syndrome Regional Seminar Series” will be a quarterly program for self-advocates, their families and medical professionals in various locations across central Florida.
  • Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma — Full-day workshops will serve as learning tools for parents who have children with Down syndrome in hopes of empowering them to advocate strongly for their children at school, in extra-curricular activities and in the workplace.
  • Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond — “Learning Program” will provide programming for children with Down syndrome ages 4 to 7, supplementing their formal instruction in school with additional help in literacy and math.
  • Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-South — “Self Advocate Council Delegation” will help people with Down syndrome to have a voice and to speak up for themselves by preparing PowerPoints for public speaking, planning their own social events, and planning volunteer efforts and fundraising ideas.
  • Puerto Rico Down Syndrome Foundation — “Increasing Access” will be an educational pilot program for adults with Down syndrome that involves developing a curriculum and helping at least 20 adults with reading, writing and math skills.
  • Red River Valley Down Syndrome Society (Texas) — “After School / After Work Recreation Center” will build academic, emotional and social skills for people with intellectual disabilities and their typical peers through enrichment classes, workshops and peer interaction.

2012 winners

In 2012, More than 30 grant proposals were submitted and a joint committee of the NDSC and Global Down Syndrome Foundation reviewed the proposals. Six grant recipients were announced at the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention in July 2012:

  • Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond – The grant funds inaugural “From PossAbilities to Practical Applications” Educational Conference for parents, educators and professionals who work with individuals with Down syndrome
  • Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia – The grant funds IEP Support Program to help parents navigate the special education system by providing an annual seminar, followed by monthly roundtable discussions, and opportunities for individual IEP support and consultation
  • Down Syndrome Society of Mobile County – The grant funds development and implementation of an Icebreakers Etiquette Class that will give teens and adults with Down syndrome more confidence in social settings
  • Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization – The grant funds expansion of Exceptional Educators program, which trains teachers, paraprofessionals and administrative staff in creating successful inclusive classrooms
  • Down Syndrome Foundation of SE New Mexico – The grant funds DSF Educational Workshop to educate the educators about the realities of teaching students with Down syndrome; this annual event will provide educators the tools to include students with Down syndrome successfully in the general classroom environment
  • Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area – The grant funds Down Syndrome Educational Alliance to identify and train school-based Down syndrome specialists to ensure that students with Down syndrome have the support, tools and resources to reach their potential


Here is what some of the initial grant recipients have said about the program:

“Having the endorsement of GDSF and NDSC on our program materials lends great credibility, especially for a new program.”

“The grant’s national recognition allows us to promote and showcase the program as not only a collaboration with our county school district, but also with national partners.”

“These dollars are making a difference all over the US and in both rural and urban areas.”