The Arc of the United States, the oldest and largest nonprofit serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities has named Katherine (Katy) Neas as its new CEO. Katy brings more than 35 years of experience in disability policy and public and nonprofit leadership to the role. Her tenure with the Arc of the US will begin in January 2024.
She joins The Arc from the U.S. Department of Education, where she served as deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Prior to that role, she was executive vice president of public affairs for the American Physical Therapy Association and for Easter Seals. She is widely regarded for her bipartisan and collaborative work, earning her roles including past chair of the Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities. Earlier in her career, she served as legislative assistant to Senator Tom Harkin and the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy, where she worked on landmark legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
She holds a B.A. from Georgetown University.
“We are very excited to welcome Katy Neas as the next CEO of the Arc,” said Laura Kennedy, Board President for the Arc of the US. “Her more than 35 years of working as a highly respected advocate for people with disabilities will continue to move the Arc forward with its important work. She is well known as an ally and thought leader by government officials and legislators, nonprofit providers, self-advocates, parents, and executive staff across the country. She is the right person for our organization as we continue to work hard to help every person with intellectual and developmental disabilities be heard and have the opportunities to thrive.”
Neas will be responsible for leading the nearly 75-year-old organization and its Washington, DC-based national office for 578 chapters across the United States. She steps into the role at a pivotal moment for disability rights, as issues like the caregiving crises, ongoing exclusion from schools and workplaces, and threat of losing hard-won civil rights have made the Arc’s mission more crucial than ever. Katy will build upon The Arc’s legacy and thought leadership among disability and civil rights groups while advancing its mission to ensure people with IDD can lead full, meaningful, and self-directed lives.