Since the first gathering of concerned parents in Minneapolis in 1946, the structure and name of The Arc in Minnesota has changed, but our fierce commitment to improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families has not. The Arc Minnesota is a member of The Arc of the United States.

Dr. Reynold Jensen, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, challenges the prevailing practice of immediately separating children born with disabilities from their parents, counseling parents to delay the decision to place their child in an institution.

The Association of Friends of the Mentally Retarded files articles of incorporation and establishes member dues of $1 per year.

The National Association of Parents and Friends of the Mentally Retarded begins at the first-ever national convention of parents on September 28, 1950 in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Association for Retarded Children incorporates in October to coordinate local, state, regional and national initiatives and provide leadership in government affairs.

Arc members work hard to pass laws that:
• mandate special education for educable students
• provide funding for teacher training
• establish day activity center services
• fund prenatal care services for high risk women
• support research into the causes of mental retardation

The Arc national convention celebrates the movement’s 10th anniversary in Minneapolis with the “Panorama of Progress.”

The Arc receives United Way funding for the first time.

President John F. Kennedy signs legislation providing $355 million for a federal and state mental health and mental retardation program.

Parents succeed in establishing classes for students with disabilities in the Minneapolis Public Schools, eleven years before national legislation mandates special education services.

Legislation passes that:
• increases the number of staff at state hospitals
• increases funding for day activity center programs, sheltered workshops and public education services
• starts work on activity programs in state institutions
• secures statewide mandatory training for t children with disabilties
• provides funding to develop small, community-based group homes

Arc members wage “Minnesota on the March,” mobilizing to take an active role in the legislative session.

The 20th Annual Convention of Arc is held in Minneapolis.

Arc parents rally in support of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. This legislation mandates free, appropriate public education for all children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.

Arc’s individual advocacy programs begin to provide information and support to people with disabilities and their families.

Legislation passes that:
• permits day activity centers to serve high school graduates and creates employment training
• provides health insurance for the uninsured
• establishes grievance procedures and fundamental benefits for sheltered workers
• develops day programs for adults with severe disabilities
• mandates case management services
• provides mandatory education services beginning at age 3

Arc starts a nationwide public awareness campaign about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

The TapeMark Charity Golf Tournament begins, benefiting Arc and other organizations that support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Arc sponsors its first consumer conference, called “I’d Like to Know More”.

Arc’s Value Village Thrift Store opens in Richfield to provide funding for the Arc.

Self-advocates organize a local chapter of People First, an international self-advocacy movement, with support from Arc.

A decade of legislative progress that:
• mandates services for children with disabilities from birth
• mandates transition plans and diplomas for high school graduates
• results in the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act
• develops crisis intervention services, preserves in-home supports and personal care attendant services
• develops a closure plan for the Regional Treatment Centers by the year 2000
• expands Semi-Independent Living Services
• expands community programs through waivered services

The Arc in Minnesota stops using the name “Association for Retarded Citizens” out of concern about the label “retarded.” The national Arc changes its name a year later. The Arc is used as a noun and not as an acronym.

More than 1,300 people from across the country convene in Minneapolis for the national Arc convention. The theme of the convention is “Coming Home: Reflecting the Past, Realizing the Future.”

The Arc chapters metro-wide form a joint public policy committee to keep abreast of state legislative issues and establish a direct communications line to The Arc Minnesota.

The Arc membership tenaciously work for legislation that:
• “Unlocks the Waiting List” providing additional funding for services for individuals with disabilities
• Reauthorizes special education laws with the 2004 passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act
• Lowers parental fees charged for services that were dramatically increased in 2003

“What’s the Big IDEA?” educates parents on the complexities of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and on how to better advocate for their children with disabilities.

The Arc emphasizes self-determination, hosting “Taking the Lead: Creating a Blueprint for the Future,” a day-long retreat made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Governor’s Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Members of The Arc rally behind the “Save Our Supports” theme to help people impacted by state service cuts and fee increases.

Self-advocates metro-wide participate in Get Out the Vote training for the fall 2004 elections. The Arc also sponsors candidates forums to help voters make informed choices.

The Arc mobilizes families to speak at hearings, share their stories and attend town meetings to help legislators understand the impact of cuts to service funding and changes in Consumer Directed Consumer Supports.

The Arc celebrates the organization’s 60th anniversary. Members gathered to commemorate six decades of working to protect rights, raise expectations and open doors for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

The Arc expanded outreach to people from multicultural communities underserved in the past by hiring bilingual advocates and creating Family Access Groups, which provide culturally specific education and support to Hmong, Somali and Latino families.

A new civic engagement program called “Realize Your Power: Prepare, Practice and Participate in Public Policy” was launched to help citizens build the skills to help shape policy decisions that affect the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

Arc hosted the inaugural Arcademy Gala in February, 2008, generating more than $341,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales, live and silent auctions and a Fund-a-Need appeal focused on The Arc’s sibling programs.

The Arc became a certified Minnesota application agent through the Department of Human Services, allowing The Arc to support people and access health care services more quickly.

Arc’s Value Village celebrated 1 million hours of volunteer service since the first store opened in 1982.

The Arc launched GetSet!™ for Work! to help young people with disabilities prepare to find meaningful work beyond high school.

The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women awarded

The Arc a three-year, $425,000 grant for a community needs assessment of victims of violence who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Actress Lauren Potter of “Glee” headlined The Arc Gala with a focus on abuse prevention.

The Arc played an active role in Reform 2020, Minnesota’s broad initiative to improve disability services.

90% of people responding to the annual satisfaction survey said The Arc’s assistance will improve quality of life. The Arc supports people throughout the lifespan with 32% of people served were ages birth to 21 and 68% were 22 or older.

Relationships created through The Arc’s Adelante groups, Somali Taageer Group, the Somali Disability Network, and Help Me Grow extended support to people in Hmong, Somali, and Spanish-speaking communities.

The Arc obtained a contract from the Minnesota Department of Human Services to form Regional Quality Councils to conduct quality reviews to improve the quality of services and supports for people with disabilities.

More than 40,000 people visited a new accessible website launched to improve the delivery of information and assistance, and resources.

170 self-advocates were trained in the curriculum Healthy Relationship: Dating & Sexuality.

The GetSet! Online Survey is an interactive planning tool created by The Arc Minnesota to help young adults select and communicate their interests and preferences. In 2018, the tool would become available in Hmong, Somali, and Spanish,

On January 1, 2018, 7 chapters of The Arc across Minnesota merged as one organization to provide consistent and essential services to support more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

How Do I Get More Information?

For more information about The Arc Minnesota, click to learn about our programs and services.