Our History

Best Buddies was created in 1989, when Founder Anthony Kennedy Shriver observed the lack of opportunity for people with IDD to socialize with their peers without IDD. He recognized the power of one-to-one friendship to develop their self-esteem, improve their outlook on life, and their integration in society. A college student himself, Shriver knew that his peers had the energy and commitment to positively transform their communities. His inspiration to bring both groups together created the Best Buddies concept.

Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization. Best Buddies enhances persons with IDD lives and helps them secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong meaningful relationships.

How it grows

Best Buddies accomplishes its mission through seven unique programs: Best Buddies Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, Jobs, e-Buddies ® and BUILD (Buddies United in Leadership Development). Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States and operate accredited international programs in 54 countries throughout the continents. With all these programs over 800,000 persons are impacted every year.


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