Our Mission

Open Doors Organization (ODO), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois, was founded in 2000 for the purpose of creating a society in which all persons with disabilities have the same consumer opportunities as everyone else. We aspire to teach businesses how to succeed in the disability market, while simultaneously empowering the disability community.

In America today, marketing toward people with disabilities is hindered by myths and misconceptions. Through comprehensive research, training, and guidance in marketing strategies, ADA compliance and customer service, ODO gives large corporations and small business alike the tools they need to reach and serve the disability market.

ODO is committed to providing educational seminars and diversity programs that improve the quality of life for the individuals with a disability while opening doors to businesses and society. Through social action and research, ODO seeks to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

History

Over the past 20 years, Open Doors Organization has proven itself to be the little non-profit that could, making a significant impact within the transportation and hospitality industries, not just in the US but worldwide. Within two years of its founding, ODO published the first-ever nationwide market study of adult travelers with disabilities, using Harris Interactive to conduct surveys in 2002 and 2005. This groundbreaking research brought ODO to national attention as major publications such as the New York TimesChicago TribuneLos Angeles Times and the New York Times announced the startling finding that American travelers with disabilities spend $13.6 billion annually on travel. By 2015 that figure had jumped to $17.3 billion.

ODO market research focused not just on the trips being made and money being spent, but also how much potential is as yet unrealized due to the barriers still remaining in transportation and hospitality. As the new authority on the disability travel market, Open Doors Organization partnered with the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) and the National Restaurant Association. It also began to provide marketing assistance, qualitative research and customer service training to numerous corporations including restaurant and hotel chains and major air carriers.

As you will see from the numerous and varied projects and achievements described elsewhere in this website, Open Doors Organization has continued to expand its partnerships and clientele, always with an eye to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. ODO is always ready for a new challenge, whether it’s creating a series of award-winning Easy Access Guides, shooting a customer training video for British Airways or conducting training for 8,000 Amtrak employees in 25 cities nationwide.