Reviewed by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation

$5,737 raised by 25 donors

82% complete

$7,000 Goal

DDSO is one of the most respected non-profit organizations in the Sacramento and San Joaquin regions, providing a diverse range of services for adults with developmental disabilities. Established in 1975 during a time when society's common response to those with developmental disabilities was one of disregard, Mary Short, wife of California Senator Alan Short, started a program that was the first of its kind in the nation. The Alan Short Center (ASC) utilized visual and performing arts as a tool for teaching people with developmental disabilities. DDSO has since grown to operate 5-day programs located at three different sites. 

In addition, the organization operates a bookstore in the California State Capitol and has a repertory company and is involved in other special projects. DDSO was incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation with the support and conviction of parents of children with disabilities who expected more from their children and society. 

Their innovative philosophy embraced the concept that, with adequate support, individuals could move beyond their handicaps to make appropriate lifestyle choices; develop communication, living, and working skills; and explore avenues of artistic expression. They believed that, through full participation in life, and positive interactions with the community at-large, individuals with disabilities could realize their personal potential meeting their own expectations and those of loved ones. 

Today, there is wide recognition that adults, regardless of disabilities, have diverse ideas about where they want to go, how they want to spend their time, and with whom they want to interact. Many of DDSO's participants are, or hope to be gainfully employed doing meaningful work, live in a home where they can make their own life choices, contribute to society through volunteering, and impact the world through visual and performing arts. DDSO's programs strive daily to help individuals achieve their dreams.


DDSO exists to enrich the quality of life for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities by fostering individual growth, creativity, and community involvement through innovative strategies and artistic expression.


The State mandated rate structure for services continues to be inadequate: Even though the cost of providing services increases, our rates for service do not keep up with increased taxes, utilities, etc. There is so much more we can do in, and for, the community if we can retain staff with better training, more resources, and more community engagement. Most of our vehicles are quite old and require frequent repairs. This greatly limits how often we can be out in the community.

Providing a safe and secure environment for the people we serve is primary concern. We aren't able to use all of our studio and training space due to infrastructure issues: need to replace heating and air conditioning units, new roofs, replace some plumbing and wiring.

Would like more cultural diversity represented on our Board. We need strong Ambassadors to share the value of our services and engage the community in investing in our services.

Most of our computers and printers have been donated, which restricts us from updating software, limits our storage ability for documents, not to mention the speed in which the computers function. With more and more access to community events, jobs, etc., it would greatly enhance staff communication and documentation to be able to contact resources, and complete required documentation more efficiently, if we could provide work cellphones and tablets.

All of the participants in our programs benefit from extra interaction, and several individuals greatly need more personal attention when involved in activities. Dedicated volunteers would be a valuable asset to the people we serve.

Organization Data


Organization name


other names


Tax id (EIN)


Mission Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Operating Budget

$1,000,001-$5 million

Organization Need

Funding: Program, Funding: Unrestricted, Board Members, Technology, Volunteers

Demographics Served

Individuals with disabilities, Low-income individuals/families, General population

BIPOC Leadership

Executive Director/CEO

Counties Served



5051 47th Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95824

Service areas

Sacramento, CA, US

Stockton, CA, US



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