Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Best Buddies® becomes America’s first national, unified, social and recreational program for people with intellectual disabilities.
1989 – 1993
- The Best Buddies Fine Art Collection is developed, featuring masterpieces by Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg.
- Best Buddies hosts the first unified Leadership Conference, training both college student leaders and people with intellectual disabilities, by providing intensive training in public speaking, management, team building, problem solving and leadership skills.
- Best Buddies launches Best Buddies Citizens with the goal of pairing adults with intellectual disabilities with their non-disabled working peers.
1994 – 1998
- Best Buddies launches Best Buddies Jobs, a supported employment program, targeting high-paying, white-collar jobs for people with intellectual disabilities in Florida, California and Massachusetts.
- Best Buddies establishes Best Buddies High Schools, with the goal of pairing special education students in one-to-one friendships with high school volunteers.
- Best Buddies Middle Schools pilot program is launched, reaching out to an even younger age group with the hope that inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities will have a lasting effect on societal norms for the next generation.
1999 – 2006
- e-Buddies® is launched as a cutting-edge online friendship program.
- Maria Shriver writes a landmark book about friendships with people with intellectual disabilities titled, What’s Wrong With Timmy? Proceeds benefit Best Buddies.
- Best Buddies launches the most successful fundraising event in its history, the nationally televised inaugural Volvo Hearst Castle Challenge, chaired by California First Lady Maria Shriver, a 100-mile bike ride along the Pacific Coast Highway.
- Volvo signs deal through 2007 as Title Sponsor of the Volvo Hyannis Port Challenge and Volvo Hearst Castle Challenge and becomes “Official Vehicle of Best Buddies.”
- For the first time, Best Buddies has programs in all 50 of the United States and on six continents.
2007 – 2010
- In 2007, Best Buddies International and German luxury car manufacturer Audi launch five-year, international partnership. In 2011, the deal is extended for another 3 years
- Best Buddies celebrates 20 years of friendships and jobs in 2009.
- In honor of its 20th anniversary, Best Buddies updates it mission statement to: “To establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).”
- For the first time, Best Buddies has programs in 50 countries around the world.
- Best Buddies Ambassadors becomes Best Buddies’ seventh formal program.
- Best Buddies Jobs expands to Washington D.C.