• Community-Living

  • Special Education

  • Public Policy Work Related to Intellectual Disabilities

  • Public Awareness and Education

  • Health and Prevention

  • Employment

  • Ethics and Intellectual Disability

  • International Activities

  • Prenatal and Postnatal Support

  • Research

  • Public Policy Fellowship

Community Living

The number of persons with intellectual disabilities is increasing in our community.  Based in the philosophical belief that the needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities should be met in the most appropriate settings.

Kennedy Foundation Work: 

Family and Community

Aging Issues

The percentage of persons 55 years old and over is increasing significantly in the community. To address the issues of this population, the Kennedy Foundation has provided funding for intitiatives related to Aging Issues.The Kennedy Foundation sponsored several demonstration projects which are being replicated throughout the country to meet the needs of persons with intellectual disabilities who are aging. 

Other resources regarding this subject:

Special ​Education

The Kennedy Foundation believes that all children, regardless of status, are entitled to appropriate, quality educational services.  The Kennedy Foundation works to ensure that policy makers, educators, and family members are aware of the needs of students with disabilities.

Kennedy Foundation Work: 

Special Education Teacher Loan Forgiveness Incentive


View our flyer with basic information about loan forgiveness
To find low-income schools: .


Other resources regarding this subject:

Public Policy Work Related to Intellectual Disabilities

The Kennedy Foundation believes that promoting public policy fostering community integration for individuals with disabilities is a priority. We offer information about how past, current, and pending legislation does and will effect individuals with disabilities, their family members, and others sectors of the community. Discussions about how public policy decisions effect the disaiblity community is an extremly important part of the democratic process. The Kennedy Foundation supports efforts to educate and advocate for the rights of individuals with disabilities in a number of ways.


Kennedy Foundation Work:

Public Policy Fellowship


Other resources regarding this subject:

Public Awareness and Education

The Kennedy Foundation maintains ongoing efforts to raise the public consciousness about the rights, capabilities, and needs of persons with intellectual disabilities through speeches, meetings, interviews, workshops, articles, and media appearances.

Kennedy Foundation Work:

Kennedy Foundation Film Series:

  • The Right to Survive

  • The Right to Let Die

  • The Right to Reproduce

  • The Value of Life

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. International Awards

Other Films:

  • Who Should Survive


Other resources regarding this subject:

Health and Prevention

Healthy habits are essential to promoting the overall well-being and ability to live in an integrated community for many individuals with disabilities. The Kennedy Foundation has promoted health and appropriate physical activity programs for many years.


Kennedy Foundation Legacy:

Community of Caring


The Kennedy Foundation created the Special Olympics program as a model to expand sports and recreation opportunities in schools, communities, and institutions around the world. While Special Olympics International is now self-supporting, the Kennedy Foundation continues to have a strong interest in recreation and sports opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities.

The introduction of Special Olympics Unified Sports has given those athletes who participate an even greater opportunity for community-based sports competition and development of more integrated social relationships.


Other resources regarding this subject:


The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 opened new opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities, especially in the area of employment addressed specifically by Title I of the act.  The Kennedy Foundation previously sponsored a major initiative designed to lead widespread employment of persons with intellectual disabilities in essentially all types of jobs. 

Kennedy Foundation Work:

For current resources look at the:


Other resources regarding this subject:

Medical Ethics

The genetic, biological, clinical, educational, and physical aspects of intellectual disabilities have occupied the attention of the Kennedy Foundation over the years. In 1971, the Kennedy Foundation sponsored Choices on Our Conscience, the first international symposium on medical ethics.

Recently, there has been a growing awareness of ethical implications on the feild and on individuals with intellectual disabilities. Major educational and training efforts in the broad area of bioethics have been supported and headed by programs funded by the Kennedy Foundation.

Kennedy Foundation Work:

Many of the country's and the world's leading medical ethicists emanated from Kennedy Foundation-supported medical ethics programs. The Kennedy Foundation gives funding to two major centers for bioethical study.

International Activities

The United States leads the world in addressing the needs of its citizens with intellectual disabilities. To better carry out its mission, the Kennedy Foundation exports advances in the United States to other countries.

Kennedy Foundation Work:

The Kennedy Foundation supports professional exchanges in the field of intellectual disabilities and is currently working towards establishing University Affiliated Programs in Eastern and Western Europe.

Other resources regarding this subject:

Prenatal and Postnatal Support

New and expectant parents need accurate, up-to-date, and medically balanced information about health conditions that can cause intellectual disability as described in the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act passed in 2008 under the leadership of Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Kennedy Foundation Work:

To fill that need for prenatal and postnatal information about Down syndrome, the Kennedy Foundation sponsored and owns the copyright to "Understanding a Down Syndrome Diagnosis" available by clicking this link.


Other resources regarding this subject:

Research Related to People with Disabilities

When the Kennedy Foundation was established, there were no facilities with any degree of excellence for the study of intellectual disabilities. Over the past thirty years, beginning with the establishment of Kennedy Centers for improved diagnosis and treatment of intellectual disabilities in Brighton, MA and Santa Monica, CA; research, training, and clinical centers have been established with the encouragement and support of the Kennedy Foundation at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Wisconsin, University of Chicago, George Peabody College (now Vanderbilt University), Einstein College of Medicine, the University of Colorado, and the University of Miami.


These basic and clinical research centers have developed many advanced diagnostic and treatment protocols. Treatments for different disabilities have been studied including ones for Downs Syndrome, AIDS, fetal cocaine exposure, and brain asphyxia.


Kennedy Foundation Work:

The Foundation has funded institutes, schools, and centers for the diagnosis, treatment, and education of children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, California, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC.

Public Policy Fellowship Program

Each year the Foundation awards professionals and family members a stipend to work in Washington for a full year, where they actively participate in public policy development through work on the staff of a congressional committee, or a federal agency. Former Public Policy Fellows describe the Fellowship as a major turning point in their lives. The coming year offers exciting opportunities to be involved in policy and legislative development in key areas such as special education, health and mental health care for persons with intellectual disability, child care, housing, justice, child welfare and other areas related to improving the quality of life for individuals with intellectual disabilities.


The Kennedy Foundation Legacy:

The Kennedy Foundation is proud of the many accomplishments of our past and present Public Policy Fellows. Check Back Soon for Profiles of our past fellows!


NOTICE: Should you have any other questions about the Public Policy Fellowship application process, please send email to Thank you for your interest.

Please reload