GLOBAL Raises 0,000 at their AcceptAbility Gala as Celebrities & Congress Step Out for People with Down Syndrome
GLOBAL Raises 0,000 at their AcceptAbility Gala as Celebrities & Congress Step Out for People with Down Syndrome

Global Down Syndrome Foundation Honored Reps. Hudson and Frankel at Event that Featured Grammy-Nominated Singer and Actress Jordin Sparks and an Inclusive Dance Troupe

Washington, DC, May 10, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Last night the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) held its sixth annual AcceptAbility Gala, DC’s largest fundraiser for people with Down syndrome, that raised $400,000 to support important research and medical care to improve the lives of those who happen to have Down syndrome. Representatives Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Lois Frankel (D-FL) received GLOBAL’s highest honor, the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award, and pledged their continued strong advocacy in Congress that makes an impact on the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families.

“At GLOBAL, we are working hard every day to elongate life and improve health outcomes for our loved ones with Down syndrome,” says GLOBAL Co-Founder, President, and CEO, Michelle Sie Whitten. “Last night we brought together a room full of bi-partisan support  from Congress, NIH leadership, self-advocates with Down syndrome, and corporate leaders, all celebrating the impact of GLOBAL’s work. The joy and excitement at our event and the tangible outcome of our work together is truly rewarding!”

Held at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC, the event was attended by GLOBAL awardee alum, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and her son, GLOBAL Ambassador Cole Rodgers. Representative Rodgers’ keynote speech deeply moved the audience. Her determination to pass a game-changing legacy bill, the DeOndra Dixon INCLUDE Project Act, before her poignant retirement from Congress was an important feature of the evening. The bill will help ensure funding for Down syndrome research and medical care from the NIH for years to come.  

Celebrities passionate about the cause included Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum singer/songwriter and actress Jordin Sparks; actor, author and public speaker Frank Stephens; author and public speaker David Egan; and award-winning correspondent for ABC News and anchor for ABC News LIVE Kyra Phillips and her daughter Sage Roberts.

To recognize the transformative leadership of Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the GLOBAL Rosa DeLauro Advancement Award, with a post-secondary scholarship, was provided to Damani Tichawonna from Washington, DC as was the GLOBAL Tom Cole Advancement Award to Julia Greene. Representative Rosa DeLauro was on-hand to personally present both Advancement Awards to the deserving recipients, leaving the audience inspired to do even more for people with Down syndrome and their families.

With the help of GLOBAL Ambassador Isla Eager and her family, Erin Book Mullen, and co-chairs Julie Riccio and Amy Best Weiss, the inspirational gala attracted 300 attendees and raised $400,000 for GLOBAL’s life-saving research and medical care. GLOBAL supports over 200 researchers on the Anschutz Medical Campus at the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and at the Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center, as well as  2,500 patients from 33 states and 10 countries at the Sie Center for Down Syndrome. For nearly two decades, Down syndrome was one of the least federally funded genetic conditions in the United States.

“People with Down syndrome enrich our world in unique ways,” says Representative Hudson. “GLOBAL is paving the way for people who are differently-abled so they can live their lives to their full potential with no barriers or bias or obstacles standing in their way. I am honored to support their efforts and to receive this award, and will continue advocating for policies that improve the lives of people with Down syndrome.”

“It was an honor to be with so many great advocates for Down syndrome and to receive such a generous recognition,” says Representative Frankel. “I am proud to support GLOBAL’s mission of elongating life and improving health outcomes for people with Down syndrome. Their AcceptAbility Gala was an inspiring evening that reminds all of us that we must continue to make critical investments in Down syndrome research to uphold the health and dignity of every person.”

At the end of the evening, Jordin Sparks wowed the audience not only with her beautiful voice but by connecting with fans and bringing self-advocates with Down syndrome on stage while performing an intimate, heartfelt performance of some of her biggest hits including “No Air” and “One Step at a Time,” and  solo dancer Robert Wallop and inclusive dance troupe RhythmXpress delighted attendees with dance performances set to “Bones” by Imagine Dragons, “Firework” by Katy Perry and “Fireball” by Mini Pop Kids.

Additional notables in attendance included Kim Owens from the National Down Syndrome Congress and Dria Law from the Down Syndrome Association of Southern New Jersey .

To learn more about GLOBAL, visit


About the Global Down Syndrome Foundation

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation (GLOBAL) is the largest non-profit in the U.S. working to save lives and dramatically improve health outcomes for people with Down syndrome. GLOBAL has donated more than $32 million to establish the first Down syndrome research institute supporting over 400 scientists and over 2,400 patients with Down syndrome from 33 states and 10 countries. Working closely with Congress and the National Institutes of Health, GLOBAL is the lead advocacy organization in the U.S. for Down syndrome research and medical care. GLOBAL has a membership of over 110 Down syndrome organizations worldwide and is part of a network of Affiliates – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, and the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center – all on the Anschutz Medical Campus. GLOBAL’s widely circulated medical publications include GLOBAL Medical Care Guidelines for Adults with Down SyndromePrenatal & Newborn Down Syndrome Information, and the award-winning Down Syndrome World magazine. GLOBAL also organizes the annual AcceptAbility Gala in Washington DC, and the annual Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, the largest Down syndrome fundraiser in the world.

Shawn Flaherty
Global Down Syndrome Foundation
[email protected]

Originally published at