About Us

  • Promote and protect the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Support individuals & families throughout their lives
  • Brought about large-scale changes throughout the past six decades

The Arc Minnesota is a private, non-profit, statewide voluntary organization. Our mission is promoting and protecting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.

The Arc Minnesota and local chapters of The Arc provide crucial information for people with developmental disabilities and their families, connect them with resources, and stand with them when they need an advocate. For the past six decades, The Arc Minnesota has been a leader in advocating for public policies that benefit people with I/DD and their families, and we continue that effort, coordinating our  policy work with local chapters.

The Arc Minnesota was founded in 1951, one year after the first national conference of The Arc was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our vision is a world where people with I/DD are more self-reliant, empowered, and able to make choices in their lives.

  • Woman and Toddler with Disability
  • Boy with Disability in School
  • Walking in winter
  • Learning to cook
  • Kurt Rutzen speaking at the Minnesota Capitol
Originally organized to serve children with intellectual disabilities, The Arc now serves people of all ages with many kinds of developmental disabilities, including, but not limited to, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The Arc is different from other organizations in that it is concerned with the total life of an individual, from birth to death, and with all services or needs an individual and his or her family might have.
The Arc Minnesota office is located in St. Paul, Minnesota; local chapters of The Arc span the state. The Arc and its services are available to all citizens of Minnesota at the local and at the state level. Workshops, information, one-on-one advocacy for families and their children with I/DD, public policy advocacy, and support services are provided across the state by local chapters or The Arc Minnesota.
The Arc movement in Minnesota began in 1946, when parents gathered together in Minneapolis to create an organization that would help them secure services for their children with I/DD. This was a time when institutional care was substandard, community alternatives were rarely available, and myths about developmental disabilities were widespread; as a result, people with I/DD and their families were isolated from the rest of society.

Services have improved dramatically since then, and The Arc is largely responsible for the changes brought about during the last six decades. A broad range of community services are now available, including housing, day programs, support for families, recreation activities, and support for competitive jobs in the community. Public schools are now accessible to all children with disabilities. People with I/DD are participating in and contributing to their communities.

Today, residential, employment, and educational services are found in virtually every part of the state. The Arc’s services help people find and secure the opportunities to live, work, learn, and play in their communities.