Congrats to our 2017 CNN Hero of the Year

Congratulations to Amy Wright, who has been named the 2017 CNN Hero of the Year. Hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa, the 11th annual “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” aired live Sunday night from New York City. The award is determined by online voters who selected Wright from among the top 10 CNN Heroes finalists.

As a mother of two children with Down Syndrome, Amy Wright was dismayed when she learned that a large percentage of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) do not have jobs.

"When you become a parent of a child with special needs, you are instantly thrust into becoming an advocate," Wright explained. "Trying to make people see the beauty in their lives that we see."

Today, at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee – located in Wilmington, North Carolina – Wright’s nonprofit, ABLE to WORK USA, employs 40 people with IDD, enabling them to earn a paycheck, gain a sense of pride, build relationships with the community and show that they are capable members of today’s growing workforce.

“People with disabilities have been in the shadows for too long, but no more,” said Wright while she accepted her award.

Wright will receive $100,000 to further aid ABLE to WORK USA. Each of the Top 10 CNN Heroes will also receive $10,000 in recognition of their work. Donations made to each of their designated nonprofit organizations are also being matched up to $50,000.

Read more about our 2017 CNN Hero of the Year, Amy Wright, on