About the Center for Disability Rights, Inc.

The Center for Disability Rights, Inc. (CDR) is a not-for-profit, community-based advocacy and service organization for people with all types of disabilities. Incorporated as an all volunteer organization in 1990, CDR began providing services and grew throughout the 1990s.  CDR became an independent organization on September 1, 1998.  

Since 1998, CDR has been recognized as an Independent Living Center by the National Council on Independent Living, making CDR part of a national network of Independent Living Centers that provide non-residential and non-medical services. CDR uses a peer model where people with disabilities show other people with disabilities how to live independently and advocate for themselves.  The Center for Disability Rights, Inc. continues to be a unique fusion of advocacy and supportive services.

Since becoming independent, CDR has grown from a small storefront office and total agency budget of just over $200,000 to a strong and influential organization with a 22,000 square foot office in Rochester, New York, with satellite offices in Geneva and Corning, New York, and a policy office in Albany, New York’s capital.  CDR’s projected 2010 budget is approximately $29,000,000.

The secret of CDR’s success is no secret.  CDR’s services and advocacy are controlled by people with disabilities.  CDR’s Board of Directors and management staff are primarily people who themselves have disabilities.  CDR is in the best position to respond to the needs of people with disabilities because CDR is composed of people with disabilities, as well as those without.

Originally organized as an all volunteer advocacy organization, CDR and its members were at the forefront of advocacy efforts to get lifts on buses.  When that goal was achieved, CDR moved on to advocated for improved and expanded community-based services and accessible, affordable, integrated housing options for people with disabilities.

During this process, CDR decided to become a service provider in order to demonstrate what many other organizations and governmental bodies said was impossible, consumer directed services are the best means of providing services.  Who is more motivated to ensure that the services provided are top notch than the person receiving those services?!  

CDR, with its focus on consumer control and mission of integration, independence and civil rights, continues to win advocacy victories on behalf of the disability community as it continues to grow in size and strength as a service provider.  There is not, and there will not be, any dull moments in the future of the Center for Disability Rights, Inc.

Please see the related links for more information regarding CDR’s history, advocacy, services, the CDR Board and key staff members. You can also email the President of the CDR Board and view our newsletter