Public, Society Benefit

National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc.

  • New York, NY

Mission Statement

The mission of NCLD is to improve the lives of the 1 in 5 children and adults nationwide with learning and attention issues—by empowering parents and young adults, transforming schools and advocating for equal rights and opportunities. We're working to create a society in which every individual possesses the academic, social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school, at work and in life.

Main Programs

  1. General
  2. Empowering Parents
  3. Transforming Schools
  4. Creating Policy and Advocacy Impact
  5. Supporting Young Adults in Self-Advocacy
Service Areas




ruling year


Executive Director


Mr. James H. Wendorf



Learning Disabilities, Early Literacy, Learning, Reading, Attention Deficit Disorders

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Also Known As






Physical Address

32 Laight Street 2nd Floor

New York, 10013


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (B01)

Disabled Persons' Rights (R23)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?


Self-reported by organization

NCLD envisions a society in which every individual possesses the academic, social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school, at work and in life.


Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1


Our 2012 Strategic Plan laid out a broad mission for NCLD to address the needs of the more than 1 in 5 children, adolescents and adults impacted by learning and attention issues in school, at home, in the community and in the workplace. While NCLD had always met the needs of the learning disabilities community, we recognized the chance and the need to serve a much larger community. Individuals with a formally identified learning disability represent 5% of the population. Those with unidentified learning and attention issues represent another 15%. By expanding our reach, we can be more responsive to a rapidly changing educational landscape and improve the lives of millions more individuals, changing the trajectory of their lives and their families, schools and communities.

Our four strategic priorities are 1) empowering parents, 2) transforming schools, 3) creating policy and advocacy impact, and 4) supporting young adults in their self-advocacy. Each priority aims to ensure success for individuals with learning and attention issues. They work together to connect parents and others with resources, guidance and support; deliver evidence-based tools, resources and professional development to educators to improve student outcomes; develop policies and engage advocates to strengthen educational rights and opportunities; and better understand the aspirations and needs of young adults.


People/Families with of People with Disabilities

Population(s) Served





Program 2

Empowering Parents

Leveraging Technology to Empower Parents

We continued our focus on providing high quality information and resources to parents of children with learning and attentions issues. We partnered with 14 other non-profits to launch, a resource for parents of children with learning and attention issues. NCLD was chosen to manage and operate understood on behalf of the founding partners.

We launched with nearly 1,800 pieces of content - articles, videos, infographics, five state-of-the-art tools, a safe community for parents to talk to each other, daily access to top experts, and a major national ad campaign. In the first eight months since the launch of understood we engaged more than 4.5 million users on the site.

We launched a National Campaign in partnership with the Ad Council and our other founding partners to raise awareness about learning and attention issues and attract parents to understood. We began coordinated monthly campaigns with the other founding partners and we scaled our reach on Facebook, twitter, and pinterest - reaching parents wherever they may be.


Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified




Program 3

Transforming Schools

Serving as Trusted Advisors to Transform Schools

Our focus has been on helping school districts to implement Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) frameworks, which have been demonstrated to be the most effective way to ensure that all students can succeed.

Based on the outcomes from the 2013 roundtable on SLD identification, the school transformation team created a free online SLD identification toolkit and launched it on in 2014. Over 5,000 people have accessed the content in the toolkit.

Schools That Work: we began a two-year Schools That Work project with Barnstable (MA) Public School District to implement MTSS in a comprehensive, systematic manner throughout the district. The program includes a full year of targeted professional development, strategic planning and mentoring focused on fully implementing MTSS pre k-12 in both academics and behavior in 2014 and an additional year, with an increased focus on school-based leadership and professional development in leadership in the following year. In addition, a second district was selected in 2014 for starting the project in 2015, the new district is the Mashpee Public Schools. They were selected out of a competitive field of other applicants from Cape Cod and the Islands.



Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified




Program 4

Creating Policy and Advocacy Impact

Over the last year, we continued our work to ensure that federal policies include and serve students with learning and attention issues and to engage parents as more effective spokespeople on policy issues by communicating with them more frequently and with more targeted messaging. In 2015, NCLD:

Legislation and Regulations:
• Engaged business, civil rights, education reform, and disability coalition partners like education trust, US Chamber of Commerce, and National Council for La Raza to act as key advisors to congress on the core principles of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
• Secured language in the reauthorization bills for the workforce investment act (s. 1356 and h.r. 803) that was passed into law in July of 2014. The law will ensure that young adults who have been in special education have better services after high school and as they transition to the workforce.
• Led a successful campaign to secure $2.5 million over 5 years to create and fund a national technical assistance center, an online resource center that will provide information to students with disabilities and their families to assist with the transition to higher education and serve as a clearinghouse for information at universities and community colleges.
• Supported a stronger Education Sciences and Reform Act (ESRA) to restore important investment in education research.
• Hosted a briefing in the U.S. Senate on raising the bar for students with disabilities: How Accountability and High Expectations Result in Positive Outcomes. Panelists discussed the importance of high expectations from their unique perspectives and sent a unified message that parents, teachers, and students must be supported in both policy and practice to ensure students with disabilities can reach their full potential.

• Collaborated with the Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) to develop recommendations for states third grade reading laws and shared recommendations in a "best practices" document for policymakers, an infographic for parents on, and a presentation for practitioners at LDA's Annual Conference in Chicago.
• Received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study and make recommendations on how systems of personalized learning best serve and incorporate students with disabilities.

Grassroots advocacy:
• Briefed parent advocates around the nation to ensure they were fully informed on ESEA reauthorization and could speak directly with staff of members of congress on issues they care about.
• Mobilized a record-breaking 3,000 parents in 72 hours to take action through NCLD's action center and voice their support for an amendment to ESEA that would address the needs of students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.
• Helped thousands of parents to contact their members of congress directly through our action alerts.


Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy

Population(s) Served

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified




Program 5

Supporting Young Adults in Self-Advocacy

In FY 2015, we completed the second phase of a ground-breaking research study on the self-reported perceptions and experiences of young adults with learning and attention issues as they transition from high school to post-secondary settings.

Past research efforts have captured information about academic achievement, demographics and life outcomes for young adults, but none have studied first-hand information shared by young adults nor analyzed what experiences and social-emotional factors drive them toward successful outcomes after high school.

We conducted 1-on-1 in-depth interviews with 30 young adults in Colorado and New Jersey and used their insights to identify key areas of strength and struggle for further exploration. We then created an in-depth online survey and engaged 1,221 young adults (and a group of parents) in the Fall of 2014. The results of the study were shared with key stakeholders in the special and general education communities, and a communications and outreach plan was created, including web posting, webinars, and conference presentations.


Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Young Adults (20-25 years)




Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    NCLD believes that better academic, social and emotional outcomes for individuals with learning and attention issues are directly linked to decisions and actions taken by parents, educators, school leaders, policy makers and the young adults themselves.

    NCLD will improve the lives of people with learning and attention issues by:
    1)empowering parents to support and advocate for their own and other children
    2) supporting young adults in their self-advocacy
    3) transforming schools through implementation of proven best practices
    4) strengthening policy through advocacy at the federal, state and local levels.

  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    We employ various strategies to achieve our goals and they are customized to best meet the needs of our audiences:

    Our parent empowerment work is based on 1) building and engaging a large national network of parents, 2) conducting campaigns to support and motivate parents to take action for their own and other children, 3) and working with parents at grassroots level in selected states to become effective agents for change.

    Our school transformation strategies focus on state, district and school-level education leaders. We 1) create and deliver professional development services and resources related to states' college-and-career-ready standards, 2) develop and deliver decision-making tools so that school leaders can implement proven best practices, 3) and lead knowledge-building events to promote adoption and implementation of best practices

    We advocate for stronger, more equitable public policy through 1) educating policymakers, agencies, White House and others on education, transition, training, employment and other critical issues for students with learning difficulties and disabilities, 2 ) leading knowledge-building initiatives to drive the policy debate, to build consensus around best practices, and to improve legislation, 3) creating campaigns and conducting Annual Advocacy Days to mobilize parents and advocates, and 4) targeting selected states and districts that are important in the national education discussions and debates.

    We are currently enhancing our program to support young adults in their self-advocacy by 1) establishing a knowledge base about the unique strengths, challenges, and preferences of young adults (16-25) with learning and attention issues, and 2)by developing strategies and activities/resources that will help young adults to be confident and effective self-advocates
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Both our long history of expertise in learning and attention issues and our unique role as a national nonprofit organization make us uniquely capable of responding quickly and efficiently to the challenges of the rapidly changing political and educational environment. Our strategies are built on nearly 40 years of working with parents, raising public awareness and protecting the rights of individuals with learning and attention issues. Our dedicated Board of Directors consists of parents of children with learning and attention issues and we have a dedicated, knowledgeable staff of more than 25 team members, with expertise in learning and attention issues, online communications and engagement, school reform, public policy and advocacy, and partnership and community building. An invitation-only Professional Advisory Board comprised of leading experts in LD-specific disorders (reading, math, written expression, executive functioning/information processing), disorders of attention and behavior (e.g., ADHD), school reform, speech/language disorders, assistive technologies and universal design for learning, post-secondary transition and the workplace, teacher preparation, school administration and leadership, public policy and advocacy, parent advocacy and support and medicine (pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry) supports our strategic and program planning.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    We use various milestones and benchmarks—tailored specifically to each of our four strategic program areas to measure our progress.

    Empowering Parents: We measure our success year to year by the growth of unique visitors to, a comprehensive free online resource to support parents of kids with learning and attention issues and empower them to help their children thrive in school and in life. Created by 15 nonprofit parents and managed and operated by NCLD, Understood provides parents with a safe online community of fellow parents, daily free help from experts in the field and toolkits for their child's unique circumstances. By the end of fiscal year 2015, Understood had served more than 4.5 million unique users in just eight months. Understood also won the prestigious 2015 Webby Award for Best Parenting/Family Site.

    Transforming Schools: For our most intensive programs—strategic consulting and mentoring—we will engage independent evaluators to measure the extent of which the school leaders have put place school transformation practices that have been demonstrated to lead to improved student outcomes: 1) committing 100% to data-based decision-making, 2) establishing a minimum number of core practices on the district-level that are non-negotiable, 3) committing to using curriculum, assessments and interventions that have external validation Implementing all curricula and intervention with fidelity, 4) implementing a replacement core instruction for students who continue to achieve below the 30th percentile, and 5) building a coherent and sustainable Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS).

    Strengthening Public Policy and Advocacy: Stronger public policy is possible only when there is a sufficient grassroots advocate base to make sure that decision makers hear and understand our position on critical policy issues. We will measure the number of grassroots policy advocates involved in our work as well as the level of influence we have in critical legislation.

    Supporting young Adults in Their Self-Advocacy: Our programs and progress measures will be developed based on the emerging research that we are currently initiating.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    We are currently in the process of finalizing a new strategic plan to strengthen and maximize our impact and support more of the 60 million individuals nationwide with learning and attention issues.
Service Areas




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Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc.



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Executive Director

Mr. James H. Wendorf


James Wendorf is Executive Director of NCLD, which is committed to improving the lives of the 1 in 5 individuals nationwide with learning and attention issues. He leads NCLD's strategic initiatives to empower parents and enable young adults, transform schools and advocate for equal rights and opportunities.

For over 30 years, Jim has worked to build national and international partnerships supporting children's learning and literacy. Prior to joining NCLD in 1999, he served as vice president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental, Inc., the nation's largest nonprofit children's literacy organization, based in Washington, D.C.

Jim serves on the board of Eagle Hill School (Greenwich, CT) and the advisory boards of the National Center on Educational Outcomes and the Education Policy and Leadership Center (Southern Methodist University). He also served as vice chair of the Congressionally authorized Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities.

Jim earned a B.A. from Yale College, and graduate degrees in English Language and Literature from the University of Cambridge and Cornell University.

STATEMENT FROM THE Executive Director

"Virtually every family in our country is touched by learning and attention issues: whether it's a child, a sibling, a spouse, a parent or oneself. It's important that we not only care about young people who face these challenges, but that we also understand them, especially their unique strengths and talents. It's our job to build on those foundational strengths. Anything less would be cheating our children—and our country—of their future.

James H. Wendorf
Executive Director"



Mr. Frederic M. Poses

CEO, ASCEND Performance Materials LLC

Term: Oct 2004 -


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