About Us

Spokane County is home to approximately 7,000 people who have an intellectual or developmental disability.  A developmental disability is a life-long condition that affects a person's ability to reason, communicate or function independently.  Autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome are the most commonly known forms of developmental disability, although there are hundreds of different diagnoses.  From birth through life, people with developmental disabilities face unique and substantial challenges every day.    

The Arc of Spokane believes that having a disability should not prevent someone from enjoying a rich and meaningful life.  A volunteer-based, nonprofit agency, The Arc of Spokane works to ensure that people with developmental disabilities in our community, and the people who care for them, enjoy the highest quality of life possible.  How?  By speaking out on their behalf and by providing programs that help our constituents live, work and socialize in our community.  We offer: 

  A strong voice for our constituents about the social and civic matters that affect them
•  Training to help parents communicate effectively with their elected leaders (Spokane County Parent Coalition). 


•  Information about resources available in the community for families
•  A support network for parents and siblings 

  Crisis intervention services 

•  Social, educational and recreational opportunities for adults

•  Help buying a home

•  Sexual abuse prevention education

•  Help finding a job 
•  Help developing marketable job skills

•  Bill payment services

  Social and recreational opportunities for seniors

  Community-based living for adults with developmental disabilities

Our Mission
We promote independence and choice and enhance the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and their families. 

Our Constituents
The incidence of developmental disability does not distinguish between races or social classes.  Today, about one in every 67 children born in the United States has a developmental disability.  Every person with a developmental disability has a unique range of needs and abilities that change as he or she grows and develops.  Like everyone, people with developmental disabilities also have unique talents that can enrich the lives of others.   

Our History
Until only a few decades ago people with developmental disabilities had little opportunity for personal, social or economic growth.  But in the 1950s caring citizens across the country banded together in an effort to change that.  They created an organization with the purpose of reversing the social conventions that marginalized those with differing abilities.  That organization eventually became The Arc.  Over the years committed volunteers in Spokane, throughout Washington State and across the nation have worked to build a better world for people with developmental disabilities.  Our achievements are remarkable and include: 

  • Helping make public education available to children with developmental disabilities
  • Helping thousands of adults with developmental disabilites succeed in the workplace 
  • Helping establish community living as an alternative to lifelong institutionalization 

Today, The Arc of Spokane works positively with civic leaders at the local, state and national level to encourage good-sense public policy for people with developmental disabilities.        

Our Organization
The Arc of Spokane is part of a federation of 730 independently governed agencies known as The Arc of the United States.  As a nationwide advocacy organization, The Arc offers a strong, united voice for our constituents in Washington, D.C. 

Locally, The Arc of Spokane is one of the largest social service agencies serving people with developmental disabilities in our community.  Our 12 major programs serve 3,000 people each year, and we are the only agency in Spokane with the mission of advocating for this uniquely vulnerable population.  With a $7 million annual budget, 200 members and more than 250 employees, The Arc of Spokane is the largest chapter of The Arc in the state and well-equipped to lead this effort in Eastern Washington. 

Click here for a brief history of how people with developmental disabilities have been treated and regarded through history (created by the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilties):  Parallels in Time 

Board Members for 2016/2017:

  • Angela Johnstone, President
  • Peggy Blowers, Vice President
  • Kassi Kain, Secretary
  • Amy Lindh
  • Ann Stone
  • Betty Shanks
  • Carol Weems
  • Dave Sonntag
  • Elizabeth Kelley
  • Jeannette Wilson
  • John Erhbar
  • Kathy Pasby
  • Michael Finkle
  • Molly Toohey
  • Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich
  • Perry Paden
  • Resa Hayes
  • Sorretie Jaro
  • Tom Shanks
  • Will Olson
















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