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NDI Strategic Plan

NDI Five-Year Strategic Plan: 2015 - 2019

In 2005, a small group of parents, family members, and individuals with disabilities joined with leading thinkers and practitioners in the disability and asset building communities to launch National Disability Institute (NDI). Rather than focusing on access to traditional services similar to other disability organizations, this new entity was the first to address issues impacting the economic future for individual with disabilities and their families.

Through public education, pioneering projects and demonstrations, public policy research and development, and customized training and technical assistance activities, NDI has become a recognized leader nationwide. NDI continues to change thinking and behavior at an individual and systems level so that individuals across the spectrum of disabilities can work, save, and advance their financial capability and economic stability. NDI is focused on social impact with emphasis on the difficult task of establishing defined measures including measurement at both an individual and systems level.

Today, NDI continues to be the only national nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to designing pathways to economic stability and mobility for people with disabilities. NDI is most recognized for harnessing the power of collaboration with government, financial institutions, the business community, community nonprofits, and institutions of higher education to advance new opportunities for work, income production, savings, and asset building for people with disabilities.


Goal One: Promote Financial Capability and Informed Financial Decision Making

Build new and refine existing financial capability models to expand lifelong education, training, counseling and coaching opportunities across the spectrum of disability. As needed, models will be customized for individuals with disabilities and their families to increase understanding that improves financial stability or advances economic self-sufficiency.


Set the standard for comprehensive, state-of-the-art, user friendly, relevant, and responsive financial education, counseling, coaching, and peer support programs that effectively impact financial decision making and engages people with disabilities, their families, and providers to achieve better economic stability.


ACTIVITY 1: Customize existing financial capability tools and services using state-of-the-art technology to effectively engage persons with disabilities, their families, and social and human service delivery systems. Ensure any technology solutions can be used by persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

BENCHMARK: Provide a minimum of two new or improved tools/services annually including, but not limited to, persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

ACTIVITY 2: Develop and/or expand next generation training methods and tools to reach the target audience in ways responsive to learners with different abilities.

BENCHMARK: Provide a minimum of 12 training events annually. Publish the Real Economic Impact newsletter monthly and increase the e-learning library by at least one course annually.

ACTIVITY 3: Pilot and refine financial education curriculum, individual counseling, and peer support programs delivered in formats and media customized to meet the needs of youth and adults with disabilities and their families.

BENCHMARK: Document financial capability outcomes which result in a 5% improvement annually in the financial outcomes of individuals with disabilities, their families, and stakeholders based on the NDI-developed financial capability indicators.

ACTIVITY 4: Expand the use of NDI-developed work incentives curriculum that delineates the relationship between financial capability strategies and use of public benefits to improve personal pathways to economic stability and independence.

BENCHMARK: Expand utilization of curriculum in four states and measure its impact over five years.

ACTIVITY 5: Identify and/or develop a methodology to better measure the impact of NDI programs and training and technical assistance on at least one of the following: service provision, policy, and/or the financial status of people with disabilities, their families and other stakeholders.

BENCHMARK: Adoption of outcome measures and measurement methods by at least one agency and system at a national, state, and community level over five years.

ACTIVITY 6: Identify and/or develop a customized training program that enhances financial capability for one or more of the following target audiences: veterans, youth in transition, people who are deaf, and/or people with psychiatric disabilities.

BENCHMARK: Implement a customized training program to at least two of these targeted audiences over the next five years. Expand replication of the Financial Success Collaborative by two new colleges annually.

Goal Two: Build the Capacity of Public and Private Systems

Strengthen public and private entities at a systems level to work collaboratively to adopt cross-system financial stability strategies that promote economic independence for people with disabilities and their families.


Connect, convene and facilitate cross-sector partnerships that leverage the power of collaboration to build their capacity to advance economic stability and security for people with disabilities.


ACTIVITY 1: Test and document cross-sector collaborations to accelerate knowledge translation and scale development to improve the employment status and financial stability of people with disabilities.

BENCHMARK: Develop, disseminate and document at least two scalable and replicable cross-sector collaborations that build capacity to advance employment and/or economic advancement for people with disabilities annually. Increase membership in the Real Economic Impact Network by 100% in the next five years.

ACTIVITY 2: Expand and enhance the availability and virtualization of online and in-person free tax preparation assistance and expand education and the use of favorable tax credits and refunds such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

BENCHMARK: Grow NDI relationship with IRS to increase the number of free tax returns for individuals with disabilities by 10% annually.

ACTIVITY 3: Integrate financial capability strategies into workforce development services in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Social Security Administration.

BENCHMARK: Implement a minimum of three promising practices in American Job Centers that improve financial capability and employment status for individuals with disabilities. Develop annual measures that reflect impact at both a system and individual level.

ACTIVITY 4: Strengthen cross-sector partnerships by convening and facilitating leadership forums at a local, state and national levels with public/private sector stakeholders to build capacity to support financial capability, resulting in greater economic security for youth and adults with disabilities, including, but not limited to, implementation of key economic advancement strategies such as the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.

BENCHMARK: Convene NDI-led leadership forums that will grow annually by two and produce documented subsequent identified financial capability impacts (e.g., capacity building, people/groups engaged and assisted with financial capability services, etc.) at a local, state, and national level. Conduct a leadership forum on the ABLE Act after the bill is signed into law.

ACTIVITY 5: Serve as advisor to key stakeholders to create a set of criteria that define and can be used to advance fully accessible “disability and age-friendly” financial services and the delivery of customized training and technical assistance to improve the availability of affordable and accessible financial tools and services.

BENCHMARK: Collaborate with at least one other national organization and with one or more financial institutions over five years to develop fully accessible disability and age-friendly financial service standards and field-test a set of criteria with voluntary adoption by at least one financial institution.

ACTIVITY 6: Identify and/or develop measures and methods of measurement to document the impact of systems change within cross-system financial stability strategies for individuals with disabilities and their families.

BENCHMARK: Document improved systems level outcomes through metrics during and/or following the adoption of financial capability policies and practices by at least five public and private entities over five years.

Goal Three: Influence Public Policy Change

Provide leadership for public policy to advance economic stability and financial independence for people with disabilities.


Develop, analyze, and influence disability-specific and generic public policy to expand access to and ensure equity within the economic mainstream for individuals with disabilities and their families.


ACTIVITY 1: Establish and disseminate an annual federal legislative platform that supports work, money and credit management, debt reduction, saving, and asset building opportunities, and consumer protection for people with disabilities.

BENCHMARK: Measure impact of NDI legislative and public policy agenda annually in at least one targeted area regarding policy development and implementation. Impact areas include but are not limited to:

  • Improve tax provisions and/or access and use of favorable tax provisions.
  • Increase integration of financial capability development into the social and human service delivery systems and programs.
  • Change asset and resource limits to remain eligible for public benefits.
  • Reduce complexity and improve use of Social Security Work Incentives.

ACTIVITY 2: Advocate for and educate policy makers to:

  • Pass the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act to promote savings and to respond to the challenges of extra costs of living with a disability.
  • Embed disability considerations within Federal and state funded financial capability and asset building policies (i.e. individual development accounts, financial education programs, tax credits, financial coaching and counseling, education savings plans, individual retirement accounts).
  • Expand the eligible age and single-filer benefit amount for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Raise asset limits used as a test for continued eligibility for public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
  • Eliminate the counting of tax refunds, individual development accounts, and retirement and education accounts from consideration in determining assets that negatively impact access to public benefits
  • Improve access and use of Social Security Work Incentives.
  • Improve access to appropriate and affordable financial tools and services for individuals with disabilities and improve protections against predatory practices.

BENCHMARK: Publish and disseminate NDI’s The Washington Insider at least eight times a year to the Real Economic Impact network members. Increase circulation by 20% annually to educate community leaders and policy makers on critical economic empowerment developments, opportunities, and challenges impacting persons with disabilities and their families.

ACTIVITY 3: Develop financial capability as an essential service integrated into publically funded human and social service delivery systems (i.e. Workforce Investment Act, Medicaid, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Rehabilitation Act, Affordable Care Act) and promote the braiding of public funding streams to support individual employment and economic stability outcomes.

BENCHMARK: Continue to serve as expert advisor and facilitator with legislative and executive branches of federal and state government with at least three federal and/or state agencies, committees, or working groups annually on protection and promotion of financial stability and capability for people with disabilities with the effective braiding of public funding at an individual level.

ACTIVITY 4: Protect and promote financial stability and capability as changes are considered to the Tax Code and publically funded benefits (i.e. Medicaid, SSI, SNAP, TANF).

BENCHMARK: Continue to serve as an expert advisor to the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination and facilitates a Policy Think Tank biannually to foster understanding of financial capability and related policy development.

Goal Four: Grow and Diversify the NDI Business Model

Grow, manage and diversify the needed human, financial and technical resources to support the next generation of innovation to continue to lead and pioneer new pathways to economic security and self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.


Expand public and private sector investment at a national, state, and local level to maintain and build upon NDI’s status as the premier resource for the advancement of a better economic future for people with disabilities.


ACTIVITY 1: Leverage public and private sector partnerships to pursue revenue opportunities through product development and profit generating activities to diversify funding portfolio.

BENCHMARK: Use an innovation lab model to investigate, analyze and adopt one new promising strategy or behavioral change model per year that meets NDI’s mission and identifies collaborators, funders, investors, and needed financial and human resources.

ACTIVITY 2: Increase investments from foundations, corporations, and individuals to continue to build out operational/technological platform to support NDI goals and objectives.

BENCHMARK: Test and develop three new profit generating service/product activities over five years to diversify NDI’s funding portfolio.

ACTIVITY 3: Ensure an entrepreneurially nimble organizational structure and system that maximizes the talents of staff and volunteers and collaborative relationships at a national, regional and local level.

BENCHMARK: Ensure100% participation of NDI employees in annual professional development opportunities. Ensure participation of 100% of NDI Board members in at least one program, development, communications and/or operational growth activity annually and document results.

ACTIVITY 4: Continue to build out a technology and operation platform that will support strategies that expand our reach and engagement of target audiences and delivers on our mission.

BENCHMARK: Increase NDI’s annual budget by 50% over five years with diversified funding sources from public and private sectors to ensure that priority investments are implemented in technology, human resources and operations to keep pace with needs.

ACTIVITY 5: Build upon our cross-platform communication strategy to continue to increase our visibility and understanding of our vision, mission, services and outcomes with diverse target audiences in the public and private sector.

BENCHMARK: Implement a cross-platform communication strategy for NDI that:

  • Continue to enhance the NDI brand and messaging to keep pace with our goals, accomplishments, and external environmental changes.
  • Secures a minimum of four national earned media placements per year that position NDI thought leaders as experts on financial capability and empowerment for individuals with disabilities;
  • Produces new and/or updated marketing and public education materials annually about NDI impact at an individual and systems level; and
  • Increases followers and friends on NDI social media platform by 100% over five years.