Unique Dining Experience At New York Stock Exchange Serves Up Disability Awareness

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), sponsored by Voya Financial® (Voya), is advocating for equal rights for all individuals with Down syndrome through C21, a unique dining experience held at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, June 4. The C21 event was first launched in Washington, D.C., in 2017 by NDSS and the Saatchi & Saatchi NY advertising firm. Named for the extra twenty-first chromosome characteristic of Down syndrome, C21 demonstrates to the world that individuals with Down syndrome are ready, willing and able to work.

“C21 is a remarkable event in which individuals with Down syndrome are given an opportunity to demonstrate to business and community leaders, employers and the world that they are deserving of being valued by employers,” NDSS President and CEO Sara Weir said. “As the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, it is our mission to work toward a world in which all individuals with Down syndrome have the same rights as every other American — including the right to a quality career, not just a job.”

At the first C21 event, NDSS announced its End Law Syndrome campaign, an initiative to raise awareness of a series of antiquated laws that hinder individuals with Down syndrome from pursuing their career aspirations and living independently.

“At Voya, we believe all Americans deserve a secure financial future — especially those with special needs and disabilities, who sometimes struggle to be welcomed into the workforce,” said Heather Lavallee, president of Tax-Exempt Markets for Voya’s Retirement business. “We’re thrilled to be able to partner with NDSS for the C21 event. Its mission closely aligns with Voya’s broader focus to help all Americans move closer to the future they envision — and meaningful, valued employment is an important step to achieving that future.”

From Left to Right: New York Stock Exchange Global Head of Listings and Services, Chris Taylor, National Down Syndrome Society President and CEO, Sara Hart Weir, Self Advocate, Emma Mandel, and Voya Financial Chairman and CEO, Rodney O. Martin, Jr., together at the C21 event in New York City on Monday, June 4. (Photo Credit: Wendy Zook)

During the remainder of this year, NDSS and Voya will continue to help raise awareness of current employment legislation through C21, specifically on the passage of the bipartisan H.R.1377, Transitioning to Integrated, Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act. This legislation seeks to responsibly phase-out an 80-year-old provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which, even in 2018, continues to allow certain employers to pay wages lower than the federal minimum wage to workers who have disabilities.

To learn more about NDSS and C21, visit www.ndss.org.

Voya is committed to supporting all Americans with holistic financial wellness and retirement planning solutions. This includes support for the special needs and caregiver community, where Voya offers a depth of resources focused on holistic education and planning through its Voya Cares® program. To learn more, visit Voya.com/voyacares.

About NDSS
The National Down Syndrome Society is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS provides state-of-the-art, comprehensive programming to all individuals with Down syndrome and their families with four main areas of programming, which include the National Advocacy & Policy Center, the National Inclusive Health & Sports Program featuring our National Buddy Walk® Program, Community Outreach and Resources and Public Awareness. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities. For more information visit www.ndss.org.

About Voya Financial ®
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings — to get ready to retire better. Serving the financial needs of approximately 14.7 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $8.6 billion in revenue in 2017. The company had $541 billion in total assets under management and administration as of March 31, 2018. With a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time — Voya’s vision is to be America’s Retirement Company®. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has been recognized as one of the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute, one of the 2018 World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine and one of the Top Green Companies in the U.S. by Newsweek magazine. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.


Voya Financial
Laura Maulucci, 860-580-1278
Cell: 508-353-6913
[email protected]
Jones PR
Joshua Harlow, 405-850-4471
[email protected]