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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Invisible Disabilities Association

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Mental Health, Voluntary Health Associations & Medical Disciplines

Mission: Our mission is to encourage, educate and connect people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Envision with us a world where people living with illness, pain and disability will be Invisible No More!

Target demographics: envision a world where people living with illness, pain and disability will be Invisible No More!

Geographic areas served: Nationwide

Programs:

IDA hosts an over 7,000 member support group at www. Invisibledisabilitiescommunity. Org. Over 183,000 online followers, on Facebook www. Facebook. Com/invisibledisabilities www.Twitter.com/invdisabilities & www.Instagram.com/invisibledisabilities

IDA's website www. Invisibledisabilities.org was visited over 35,000 times monthly. But You LOOK Good book reached 34,000 copies in circulation around the globe

IDA hosted the 12th annual awards gala attended by 250 guests. Http://awardsgala.org IDA launched the Invisible Disabilities online Support Community to connect people living with invisible disabilities. Share stories of diagnosis, treatment, managment, and more. Http://invisibledisabilitiescommunity. Org

IDA launched the National Disability ID (NDID) initiative in January 2018. NDID is legislation, which provides through accredited voluntary disclosure a designated identifier, a discreet symbol approved for placement on Government ID’s for acknowledging disabilities of any kind, but specifically to bring awareness for people living with non-apparent disabilities, what we call at IDA, invisible disabilities. Alaska is the first state to have passed the NDID into law. Since 2018 IDA has been in contact with a host of states that are interested in sponsoring NDID legislation in their states. In 2019-2020, both Colorado and Pennsylvania have sponsored bills in progress.

Invisible Disabilities Week takes place during the 3rd week in October every year, proclaimed in 2019 by the states of Colorado, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, North Carolina and Virginia. Invisibledisabilitiesweek.org

Community Stories

107 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4 Edward C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My invisible disabilities are "epilepsy and "diabetes". I also had "brain surgery" over a decade ago which has eliminated my "short term memory". I follow the "Invisible Disabilities Association" on Facebook because they provide needed: information, communication, support and a forum for people like myself. I am able to share with others, my invisible disabilities, the pain, the struggles and challenges that I deal with in life, each and every day. At the same time, I am listening and learning about others like myself that are fighting the same or similar battles. We are able to learn from each other and give each other hope and helpful advice, but most importantly to know that others walk similar paths as us and they truly care..

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first saw Invisible Disabilities on Facebook. Since I contracted Lyme Disease, I have been hit with the words, "You don't look sick" repeatedly from family and friends. Maybe it was said to make me feel better, but I was already struggling to get a diagnosis so it just made things more confusing. I am not able to be as involved with IDA as I would like, soon I hope. I am proud to be part of a group that recognizes, gives assistance, support and provides a soft place to land for the people with invisible disabilities. Thank you again and again.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) provides tremendous awareness and support to individuals who have a disability that is not visibly apparent. outwardly the individual may look fine, which makes it hard for their family, friends, and the general public to understand what they experience. The support groups help individuals connect with other to share their experience and get helpful information. I am pleased that my organization supports IDA.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Numerous discussions with the leaders, attended their Gala 2 years in a row and while I was on the board of the Autism Society of America I worked with Invisible Disabilities to put our support for their effort to get an invisible disabilities marker on state driver licenses and ID cards. As an autistic person this is important as I may respond in a way that is different and would much prefer any law enforcement has an easy reference as to why instead of assuming bad intent.
From looking at what they have accomplished and they budget they have done it with they are probably the most efficient non-profit I have seen.

1 Shay S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with the organization has been amazing. Having dealt with the challenges that I face with Invisible disabilities its nice to have found an organization that understands and supports me.

1 Lori A.4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Invisible Disabilities is a wonderful organization and charity who helps bring national awareness and helps make resources available to those like myself who suffer with invisible disabilities or a hidden disability. They have a community area on the site where people can interact with others who deal with the same illness as well as they try to connect with businesses and individuals in the country who share a similar mission. In my professional life, I have also interacted with the staff of IDA and they have always been a pleasure to work with and we are working to collaborate on various things and attend their Awards gala each year. I admire what they are doing because many people associate a disability as someone who is handicapped or 'in a wheelchair' and they are helping to bring awareness that disability is not always something you can 'see.'

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a God given joy to be able to share what you have with others WOW!
If you have ever been down and out and so sick that you could not even move without a helping hand - then you kinda know what I am talking about.
I believe this is what the Invisible Disability Association is all about.
Being able to help those who are not able to help themselves.
What an honor to be a helping hand. You can smile within itself.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been working with the disabled for nearly 13 years and any program that supports those I am all in. I currently am a certified work incentive coordinator and working with an employment network via the ticket to work program. I love this program!!! I see success being more than just an income, so much more.

1 Paula V.3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Very dedicated and diverse group of persons committed to improving the lives of persons with Invisible Disabilities through advocacy, awareness and resources. Paula Vieillet- My Employment Options

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to the 2018 annual gala as a guest of client that is very involved in volunteering for the organization. I had never heard of IDA, or really given any thought to invisible disabilities. I had an incredibly eye-opening evening as a learned of various invisible disabilities and what those that live with them go through on a day-to-day basis. I learned that family and friends that I care deeply about have some of these invisible disabilities and I'd never truly thought about the struggles that come with them. Fast forward to 2019 I was honored when Wayne Connell (founder, president, CEO) asked me to serve as one of the Young Professional Co-Chairs for the 2019 annual gala. I gladly accepted and helped garner attention for the event. I was so excited to have my family and friends attend in hopes that would feel the same impact I had the year prior. Undoubtedly they did and it was a wonderful event yet again. IDA does so much for so many people that live with invisible disabilities and it is truly inspiring how they bring people together from all over the world to bring attention to their cause and create communities of support.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm proud to support and donate to Invisible Disabilities Associations. I know my donations are going to great programs like the National ID Program that will help all people with invisible disabilities. IDA is great at bringing together many different disease groups to work together as allies and learn from each other.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I loved how IDA reached out to all with invisible disabilities and published any submissions of anyone who wanted to participate in Invisible Disabilities Week. It's so rare for the disabled community to get such a bright spotlight, open to all.

1 burly1057

Donor

Rating: 5

What can I say about this great nonprofit Invisible Disabilities Association and the awesome work they're doing for those who have Invisible Disabilities across this country? They just completed their annual Gala on 18 October 2019 and what an awesome event with live testimonials from their honored awardees and guests. They raise a lot of money for their cause and they need your giving heart and donations to continue their great mission of encouragement, education, and connecting people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Please envision with them, a world where people living with illness, pain and disability will be Invisible No More®. I support and endorse this nonprofit as one of the great organizations in America making a difference. COL (Ret) Mikel Burroughs, Invisible Disabilities Heroes Award Winner for 2019.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization brings awareness for patients who do not have any obvious outward signs of disability. Well managed by people with the best intentions in their heart.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Invisible Disabilities Association really cares about the individuals they advocate for and work hard at making a tangible difference.

2 Jodi P.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am honored and thrilled to be a part of the invisible disabilities association team. I myself have lived with and invisible disability for 18 years & quite frankly, awareness is lacking for this community. A large percentage of T.B.I. sufferers live on disability. The cost to get therapy and get some recovery is not covered by western insurance,
Many invisible disabilities do not have a standardized treatment program therefore therapies. etc. are not covered under western medicine insurance. The therapies, treatments must be paid cash out of pocket. Cost for recovery is hundreds of thousands of dollars, up-ward of a million dollars. The invisible disability association is bringing awareness and education to the community. It is my hope as a member of the IDA committee to bring so much awareness to the millions of people living with invisible disabilities that we can get the therapies, treatments & recovery work needed for people living with IDA'S..... acknowledged , accepted and covered by western medicine insurance. the invisible disabilities association is a much needed organization that deserves to be main stage in our country , helping the millions of americans who live with I.D.A.S have a voice.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Wayne shared the great message of "Invisible No More!" with us. IDA is raising awareness of the insidious impact of disabilities which can't be seen. Thank you for your continuing good work IDA, you are making a real difference!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Amazing work, facing an uphill battle to change hearts and minds.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I find the Invisible Disabilities Association to a be credible and friendly source for help for encouraging people living with Invisible Disabilities. The hearts of the founders and people involved with IDA are amazing! They connected me to resources and people that can help and support me navigating the pain and struggles of daily living with an invisible disability. Thanks for all you do IDA. And for BELIEVING me!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

IDA has been a great resource, and gives me opportunities to work with my kid. They let me know that I’m being heard. I’d recommend them whenever I get the chance.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

LOVE this organization. Was so touched by all of the efforts that went into their 2018 gala. They talked about how
Alaska has taken their logo to designate those with invisible disabilities on their state drivers licenses. We need this everywhere! Thanks to Wayne, Sherri, and all of their ambassadors for this organization.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great organization run by truly compassionate people. No matter your illness or condition, IDA will ensure you find a home within this community.

4 Brittani S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience as a volunteer far exceeded my expectations. Invisible Disabilities Association truly goes above and beyond providing families and individuals time, tools and support for what it means to live with an invisible disability. This organization was built on understanding, love and bringing as many smiles to people as possible. IDA is truly all about understanding- something the world needs much more of! I can't recommend it highly enough- we all need to smile and understand more- especially those among us who are truly struggling living with an invisible disability. IDA truly deserves so much more than 5 stars, they are truly a gift! I love being apart of this organization and appreciate all they do to bring awareness to people living with an invisible disability.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been totally impressed with the Invisible Disabilities Association. It is a great organization that focuses on segment of the population often overlooked. It is so much easier to raise awareness when a person looks sick or is clearly unable to handle life tasks.
When these symptoms are invisible, it is so much harder. This group is professional, focused and dedicated to helping those people. I have had the opportunity to meet with Wayne Connell and was moved by his dedication and commitment.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

IDA helped me find resources and a community, it has helped my daughter cope with her Invisible disability!

3 LoneStarState

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to work on a project with Invisible Disabilities. The founders and the board of directors are some of the most caring, well-meaning people I have ever met. In the process of working with them, I learned much about the lives of people with invisible disabilities.

Daily life can be extremely challenging for people dealing with chronic pain and illnesses that are not seen by others. Educating the public about invisible disabilities was a daunting challenge from the start, but founders Wayne and Sherri Connell were not intimidated by the immensity of the task. They boldly continue to rise up against adversity on behalf of their membership and this critical mission.

I have great respect for IDA, its leadership team, mission, and goals. Bravo and best wishes for your continued success.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Invisible Disabilities Association is doing incredible work helping to bring attention to the millions of people in the U.S. and around the world that have physical, mental or neurological conditions that limit either their movements, senses, or activities but their condition is invisible to the onlooker. Unfortunately the very fact that this condition is invisible leads to misunderstandings, false perceptions and judgments. I experienced this first-hand when my mother became ill with severe stomach pain and doctors kept misdiagnosing and treating her for a heart condition. She nearly died with a super bug before they realized what it was. Now she suffers with many other conditions as a result even though she appears healthy to others. Invisible Disabilities has really helped me understand how to be more supportive as a caretaker and also has made me feel less alone.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

I am really disappointed that the Invisible Disabilities Association has chosen to retain their incorrectly granted trademark for "Invisible Disabilities" rather than instead pursuing a trademark for "Invisible Disabilities Association". The phrase "invisible disabilities" has been around for many decades, is embedded in the ADA, and is an important identity marker for many of us. There are three trademark symbols on the cover photo of this page alone! this is absurd. I am an academic working in disability studies and "invisible disabilities" are part of my identity, not a phrase for corporations to profit from or limit the usage of. This is a gross misuse of trademark law and very sad to see from an association whose supposed purpose is to benefit us.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with this organization for over 6 years and watched it grow and reach thousands of people with chronic pain and illness or have issues that you cannot see but are reminded daily of their disability. This organization provides a great resource for both the care giver and the person dealing with their issues - it offers support and resources to improve your life.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been associated with Invisible Disabilities Association for many years. I have mostly attended the yearly Gala and was a volunteer for 2 years to help with the Gala event.
This organization has helped encourage and inform countless hurting people about how to
care for friends and family members who have an invisible disability. The leaders of this organization are very caring people who are motivated by love and doing things with the highest quality.

Each year I am amazed at the energy and tireless devotion invested by the leaders of this organization and how tenacious they are at overcoming obstacles and problems associated with running a people focused organization. Every year there are quite a number of caring volunteers and committed businesses that I noticed put in a big effort because they love people and believe in what this organization does and stands for.

If you struggle with an invisible disability or a family member who does - you are not alone. I highly recommend that you take an open and honest look at the people that run this organization and you will find that they are very honest and loving people who do not have any secret agendas or selfish motivations. They simply want to bless others.

They have certainly blessed my life and opened up my heart to care for others better.

Sincerely,

Randy Stanton

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for the IDA for nearly ten years now and have seen the dramatic impact they make on the community. This is such an underserved audience, and IDA is living its core values daily, fighting to give a voice to people who otherwise may not have one, or be misunderstood.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

This organization is a true non-profit and re-invests any dollars back into the organization's aggressive awareness mission. All volunteer board of directors, comprised of senior executive professionals aligned with the Founder's vision.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with IDA since 2012. I have seen firsthand the positive impact that IDA has on those touched by invisible illness and disability. I am one of them. IDA seeks to bring understanding and awareness about invisible illness to family members, friends, caregivers, and anyone touched by ID. EVERYONE has a story-- we all know at least one person who is dealing with an illness or disability that does not show on the outside. I continue to get inspiration from the thousands of people who have found encouragement, understanding and other support not only from IDA, but from our support communities and from one another. We have worked hard to raise awareness, through our online communities, recognition events, and the growing ID community who participate in the annual Invisible Disabilities Week in October. I hope that through our programs, and through the generosity of those who give their time, tell their stories, and contribute to IDA, we can continue to encourage, educate and connect people worldwide. I am proud to be affiliated with this organization.

Previous Stories
2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm honored and excited to be a part of this organization, and helping IDA to expand its mission of necouraging, educating and connecting those touched by invisible illness or disability.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization puts its constituents first in everything they do.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been living with a rare eye disease since the age of 5, going into the hospital monthly to get steroid shots in my eyes. At the age of 12, I lost sight in both of my eyes. Three months later I gained partial sight back in my right eye. In my early 30's I was diagnosed with Lupus and dealt with chronic pain. In this journey I found myself slipping in and out of the "Invisible shame" I tagged myself with. One day I was blessed to meet the founders of Invisible Disabilities Association, Wayne & Sherri Connell. They touched my life in a profound way by showing me unconditional love and introduced me to to this amazing Org.

2

Client Served

Rating: 1

Please think twice before donating to this organization. You are not directly helping the people most in need of help, you are helping the association to sell their wares to only those who can afford it and grow their company. Disgusting! Only interesting in selling their wares. They create materials that would help strengthen relationships between those with invisible disabilities and the people around them. But if you are actually disabled by your invisible disability and can't afford their helpful materials it's tough luck to you. They only want to sell, and not really help those who could benefit most from what they claim they are trying to help with. Very ugly IDA, very ugly.
They refused to help in any way with a coupon or code for books or pamphlets (for which their site store is set up for) and then wrote this... "We are a small organization with a big heart and a big reach! At this time we have no coupons and our website is at the lowest discounted rate from Amazon. We are volunteer based and therefore our small team of volunteers are working extremely hard to bring awareness, education and support to millions around the world, in addition to their jobs, families and/or disabilities.

Because we want people to have a place to share their websites, blogs and articles, we have our Facebook Page open for people to post on our Visitor Page and we have over 169,000 readers! This is also a great way to Share your story with others in our Invisible Disabilities Association Community on Inspire! We have over 4,000 members of our community and Inspire has over 750,000. Please read Inspire's Community Guidelines before posting."

Big heart?! Nope. So in other words... we can't give you any help in communicating better with your loved ones, but write for us so we can grow and sell our stuff to other people. Just ugly.

UPDATE: Received two notes from IDA today. Seems they are now reaching out to offer a few of their communication assisting materials as a gift. A very nice gesture. I will update again upon receipt. I still feel that they would best serve their intended purpose if they would have a decent percentage of donations go to supplying materials (the pamphlets and books) to the people who most need them (and can't afford them due to actually being on disability). I hope that in the future they will find a way to accomplish this.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This has helped me so much by helping me understand not only what I go through but also my friends and family! Thank you so very much!!!