Our Mission

The mission of The Arc of Massachusetts is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, and their families.

We fulfill this through advocacy for community supports and services that foster social inclusion, self-determination, and equity across all aspects of society.




Families began to band together to support each other and to effect change in both policy and practice. Some early activities include local camps, home schools, and support groups.


Chapters of The Arc expand their advocacy, convince school systems to offer programs and establish workshops.


Special education and de-institutionalization take center stage; nonsent decrees usher in community services; ‘normalization’ becomes the watchword for services; a life in the community.


Few residential spaces are available and families fear aging. The Rolland lawsuit, in which The Arc is a representative plaintiff, is settled, moving 1,500 people with developmental disabilities from nursing homes to community services.


udge Douglas Woodlock ruled on the Boulet case, that the state must pay for the 2,437 individuals on the DMR Waiting List. Between 2000 and 2006, every person must be served.


The autism omnibus bill was passed. The Real Lives bill passed which placed into statute the right to self-direct services with public funds. Nicky's Law, also known as the abuse registry bill, is enacted. A staffing shortage crisis begins to emerge in the direct support workforce.


COVID-19 changes the disability landscape. Isolation overtakes inclusion. Staffing shortages worsen. People with disabilities remain unserved and underserved. The Arc leads the charge advocating for their needs.

Looking Forward

Program Information

The Arc of Massachusetts maintains active programs on education and information referral; legislative and public policy; health equity; social inclusion; and support brokering.

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The following document contains The Arc's Strategic Plan for the years between 2021 and 2024, as devised in the beginning of 2021. A new Strategic Plan will be added when available.

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Share Your Story

Tell us about how The Arc of Massachusetts has impacted you, your loved one with a disability, or your family. We will publish selected stories in our 70th Anniversary Program Book. Others will be part of the 70th Anniversary webpage.

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Our Impact

Through advocacy, programs that promote inclusion, and engaging the community, The Arc creates tangible changes in the community and in the lives of people with disabilities.


Individuals & Families Supported

70 Years

of Enhancing the Lives of People with Disabilities


Local Chapters

Celebrate 70 Years of Progress

70th Anniversary Gala

Nov 09 2023 | 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Join us for a reception, auction, and dinner as we honor those who had a significant impact in helping individuals with IDD and their families.

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70 Years of Progress: Advocacy, Empowerment, and The Arc of Massachusetts

May 23, 2024 | 3:00 PM

This program will look back at the history of disability policy and advocacy in Massachusetts through the personal experiences of members of the disability community. A cocktail reception will follow the presentation.

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the arc anniversary logo with 70 years of progress

Donate to The Arc of Massachusetts

The Arc is here for you, your family, and your community. Support our advocacy on behalf of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by making a gift today.

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Meet The Arc of Massachusetts Team

Meet the Team