How Did It Begin?
Anthony Kennedy Shriver founded the organization in 1989. Shriver’s mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, is sister to John, Robert and Ted Kennedy. She is also the founder of the Special Olympics. His father, Sargent Shriver Jr, is a founding director of the Peace Corps. His sister is journalist, Maria Shriver. His brother, Timothy, is the current chairman of the Special Olympics. He and Anthony have joined to form the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge even for IDD athletes.
Beginning with his college classmates, Shriver formed one-on-one connections with IDD students, aspiring to offer them a wider range of experience while exposing mainstream society to a group it didn't understand. Shriver believes that once you have spent time with a disabled person, learned his name and found shared interests, you will never be afraid to do so again. You will see they are simply people with challenges, just like the rest of us.
He envisions a world where people with IDD are so integrated into schools, communities and workplaces that his organization is unnecessary.
Best Buddies has expanded from colleges into middle and high schools. It now touches 800,000 individuals in all 50 states and in 50 countries. Of the $168 million in support the organization uses to operate, only 19% goes to administrative expenses.