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Oftentimes, when we think about people who benefit from philanthropic activities, we think of people who live on the other side of the world. The image we have of them in our heads paints them to be probably poor, probably foreign, and definitely not the kind of person that we’d ever encounter in our own lives. However, contrary to what we might think, some of the people who are in the most dire need of philanthropy and support are people we see every day, whether we realize it or not: the disabled.

According to 2010 Census, about 56.7 million people–that’s nearly 19% of the population, or just under one-in-five Americans–have a disability, and nearly half of all respondents reported that their disability was “severe.” These disabilities can be physical, with possible effects that can make it difficult or impossible for individuals to walk or climb stairs, or cognitive, which can impair concentration, memory, decision-making, and more. To make matters worse, disabilities increase people’s risk of obesity, smoking, and suffering from other adverse health effects.

Beyond their symptoms, these disabilities take social toll on people as well. Disabilities lead to $400 billion in healthcare expenditures each year, which can place even more undue strain on the one-in-three adults with disabilities who are unemployed and the four-in-ten adults with disabilities who have not completed high school. Nearly half of all American households earning less than $15,000 reported having a member with a disability, which illustrates how the disabled must also contend with economic insecurity in many cases. Additionally, disabilities often leave
people the targets of bullying or discrimination.

So while there are people around the world who need our support, there are people right here in the United States who need our help just as much. With one-in-five Americans affected, we all know at least one person with a disability whether we realize it or not. That means we owe it to our friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers to stand up for better resources and better treatment for people with disabilities.

Windows USA is proud to support a number of disability advocacy groups, such as Easterseals, a nonprofit that offers programs and resources to individuals and families affected by disabilities.

For more information about Windows USA’s commitment to philanthropy and disability advocacy, visit our website!