Welcome to Project RISE

Reflecting Inclusive Sanctuaries Everywhere

Community Support for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Reflecting Inclusive Sanctuaries for Everyone (RISE) is a project designed to explore how communities can better support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The two-year project was funded by the Louisville Institute and awarded to the School of Education at Francis Marion University.

The Plan

In 2022, we will survey religious congregations across the United States to understand how they currently support children, youth, and adults with IDD.

Our team is currently working on developing the survey and sending it out into the community. Once we collect results, we will analyze and share the results here.

The Purpose

Religious congregations can be important to people with disabilities and their families. In rural or remote communities, congregations may be among the few resources available. Religious congregations can offer opportunities for children and youth with disabilities to practice skills, and for adults with disabilities to find lifelong belonging and community.

Yet, people with disabilities may encounter misunderstandings about their disability or church participation from church members. As Bill Gaventa (2006) put it, when you ask people with disabilities to share about religious experiences, “Some will talk about how important their faith or congregation has been to them; others will tell you how painful and wounding their experience was”1.

Our goal in this project is to capture the ways congregations are supporting people with IDD so we can share this information with congregations, educators, and communities.

Project Results

Check back to view results when they are available!


Looking for quick training on supporting people with disabilities? Click here to access Religious Organization Leaders Learning Inclusive Guidelines (ROLLING), which is a free six-lesson training you can use with your congregation to learn helpful strategies in supporting people with disabilities. Religious congregation leaders who completed this training were more knowledgeable and felt more confident in supporting people with disabilities. You can also sign up and use the following join code: PK3XAC.

Contact Us

Dr. Jared H. Stewart-Ginsburg

Assistant Professor of Education
Project Director/Principal Investigator for Project RISE
Co-Coordinator For Teaching Fellows

Office:CEMC 237
Phone: 843-661-1468

1. [Carter 2021; Gaventa, 2006; Liu et al., 2014; Stewart-Ginsburg et al., 2020]