Advancing new ideas
and innovative solutions
for adults with autism
and/or intellectual/developmental disabilities (A/I/DD).

The First Place Global Leadership Institute’s five centers are aligned in the pursuit of research, public policy and independence-enabling ideas, while also providing multidisciplinary training for field experts, educators and medical professionals. 

The Centers

1
Education, Training & Employment

Maricopa County IDA Center

Working to get people working.

By strengthening skills and forging collaborations with employers, the Maricopa County IDA Center is committed to generating 1,000 Arizona jobs for individuals with autism and/or intellectual/developmental disabilities (A/I/DD) by 2030.
2
Community Development

Make Waves Center

A lifetime of health begins at home—every day.

Make Waves Center fosters community inclusion by fueling supportive housing options through replicable design, development strategies and programmatic models.
3
Applied Research

Colonel Harland Sanders Center

With information comes transformation.

Colonel Harland Sanders Center is advancing translational research to inform creative, adult-focused programs, best practices and support-scaled solutions.
4
Expression

Mulzet Center

Transforming the atypical into the unforgettable.

Mulzet Center is combining strategy and creativity to inspire and impact local, national and global audiences—while opening doors to all forms of expression for those we serve.
5
Public Policy

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Center

Pulling for people, pushing for change.

By championing systems change and increased funding, The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Center is working to improve housing, healthcare and accessibility to supportive services for individuals with A/I/DD.

2024 First Place Global Symposium

October 16–18

Register Now for EarlyBird Pricing! 

Join us for the 13th First Place Global Symposium as we explore dimensions that define our community. We’ll share challenges, approaches for mutual understanding—and ideas for navigating and creating the places and spaces where we want to live, work, play and thrive. 

Lifelong Networks for Communities of Support

Lifelong Networks for Communities of Support (LNCS, pronounced “links”) brings together families, support professionals, scientists, researchers and advocates to achieve action-oriented outcomes for individuals living with autism and other neurodiversities. Throughout the year, First Place hosts informative LNCS sessions as we pave the way to more independent and joyful living for individuals and peace of mind for their families.

Innovative Curricula & Toolkits

First Place is advancing new opportunities for learning with curricula and toolkits to help develop day-to-day living skills, build healthcare literacy, promote safety and guide individuals on a path to greater independence.

Housing Market Studies & Consulting

First Place is driving future planning, funding and innovation with market studies that analyze the needs and preferences of the populations we serve. A Place in the World® and housing market analyses in Phoenix and various cities across the U.S. address the shortage of housing options and supportive services for adults with A/I/DD.

Vote the Spectrum™

Vote the Spectrum (VTS) is a multifaceted initiative to inform and engage the neurodivergent voting population. VTS’s 2024 goal is to register 10,000 individuals with A/I/DD and those who support them to vote.

First Place launches initiative to get more people with disabilities registered to vote

12/26/23 – KJZZ
In 2020, voting participation among people with disabilities lagged nearly 6 points behind the rate for non-disabled people, according to research from Rutgers University. That’s why an Arizona non-profit is launching a new initiative to get people with disabilities registered for 2024.

Waymo Brings Phoenix Community Organizations Together

06/06/23 – Waymo
Recently in Phoenix, Waymo, an autonomous driving technology company that operates a ride-hailing service called Waymo One, brought Phoenix nonprofit leaders to discuss these connections.

PBJ’s 2023 Nonprofit Business Summit

05/09/23 – Phoenix Business Journal
The Phoenix Business Journal's annual event that puts the business of nonprofits into focus features a high-profile group of nonprofit executives who will take part in two panel discussions focused on how to engage board members and fundraising strategies.