Mission & Vision

Our mission is to help children and adults with enduring intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities live as independently as possible, be included in the community and function at their highest potential.

We envision a community in which people with enduring intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities are engaged fully and meaningfully in all aspects of community life.

How We Do It

The primary way we support our vision is to provide grants to community partners who will implement the Foundations vision on a practical level. The Foundations grants support nonprofit organizations with their programs, capital needs and operations in our five priority initiatives as well as related opportunities that enhance the lives of people with disabilities.

Our Initiatives


Education & Employment

Supporting access to educational resources and activities to be successful learners, both academically and in developing life skills, that offer individuals with disabilities equal opportunity for meaningful employment.



Pursuing opportunities for accessible, affordable community transportation increasing access to locations throughout the community for individuals with disabilities.


Promoting Social Enrichment

Seeking inclusive and accessible social, recreational and creative programs that engage and inspire individuals with disabilities.


Early Diagnosis & System Navigation

Exploring programs that recognize and diagnose disabilities early to achieve each individuals highest potential, providing easy access and information to assist families and care givers, and gaining better understanding of effective therapies for individuals with disabilities.



Broadening opportunities for safe, secure and affordable housing that provides a variety of beneficial living environments for individuals with disabilities.

Our Guiding Principles

Our guiding principles serve as the foundation of our work. While not the only factor in our decision-making, they are core ideals of our mission that we value as priorities in our funding. Our current guiding principles are:

  • Individuals with disabilities deserve a choice-driven life (self-determination). Preferences, opinions, priorities and accommodations are best defined by the individual rather than for the individual.
  • Inclusion and integration are better than segregation. The more inclusive and integrated an environment, activity or program, the more it benefits everyone.
  • Opportunities are presented with a focus on encouraging potential, rather than identifying limitations.
  • Social settings that include family and friends are preferred. Age-related peer groups and the potential for new friends are ideal.
  • ADA standards are the law and the minimum. Exceeding through the principles of Universal Design is desirable.
  • Opportunities that enhance and support education and employment potential will contribute to greater independence for the individual.
  • No one has all the answers. Collaboration increases the potential for greater opportunities.

Below are videos featuring community organizations sharing how their work supports our guiding principles.

Choice Driven Life

Inclusion & Integration

Encouraging Potential

Social Settings

Universal Design

Education & Employment


Our Story

AWS Foundation was established in 2007 as an independent, not-for-profit entity supporting the disability community.

Since it began grant making in 2009, the Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $48 million to more than 190 not-for-profit organizations. AWS Foundation also strives to engage the community through advocacy and awareness efforts and to be a useful resource to both service providers and families facing the challenges of enduring disabilities.