Board Member - Self Advocate


Admin & Event Coordinator


our leadership team

Jen Brydges


Melissa Shutwell

Board Member


our staff




Max Wilson

Board Member


There are always opportunities to get involved! Whether it is at our annual Golf Outing or Awareness Walk or with one of our programs. We are always looking for people who want to make a difference!

Email info@madss.org for information about specific opportunities or ways in which you'd like to become our partner.

mission & vision

The mission of the Madison Area Down Syndrome Society, Inc. is to provide support to individuals with Down syndrome and their families while advancing awareness, respect and opportunity.

We value: RESPECT for the inherent value of every individual; the JOY of community; OPPORTUNITY for all to achieve their dreams; the ABILITY of everyone to have a positive impact; and, the INTEGRITY of our relationships.

Joe Brydges



MADSS and DSAW Partnership

MADSS existed in a very informal way for over ten years before incorporating as a non-profit in 2003. In the beginning, MADSS consisted, of families with young children who have Down syndrome that came together for support, to share information, and to socialize. Recruitment of new families happened by word of mouth and the group was loosely knit. In 2002, the first Madison Area Buddy Walk was organized and was an unexpected success. Inspired by the clear desire of the community to find ways to support and rally around people with Down syndrome, visionary members decided to increase the capacity of the group to serve families and individuals. 

A Board of Directors was formed, and they went on to write the articles of incorporation and petition for 501(c) 3 status in early 2003. MADSS started a newsletter and began offering more organized social outings.

In 2003, Rhonda Conway, the mother of a child with Down syndrome, organized a golf outing in Wisconsin Dells donated the proceeds to MADSS, from which the annual MADSS Golf Outing was born and continued to grow under the guidance of Rhonda & Tim Wing, also a parent of a child with Down syndrome. The outing moved to the Madison area in 2006 and continues to grow each year. 

In 2004, MADSS began hosting Parent Empowerment Meetings aimed at providing opportunities for parents to get together and discuss issues important to them. The meetings cover topics of interest and offered a babysitting stipend to enable both parents to attend. 

In 2005, MADSS created a New Parent Packet and began speaking to medical providers about how to best support parents throughout the prenatal and birth experience. It is the goal of MADSS that every family who gives birth to an infant with Down syndrome in our area be given the best care possible, and has access to information and support in a timely manner. Hospitals are asked to provide New Parent Packets immediately so that new parents can have access to MADSS services as soon as they are ready. Parent-to-parent visits are offered if the family feels comfortable and ready. MADSS has also provided presentations to groups, including providers, educators, students and conference attendees. 

As MADSS programs and fundraising efforts have expanded, so has the Board itself. Each new Board member brings unique skill, experience, and passion to their service of MADSS. The Board meets regularly and holds an annual retreat to cultivate the mission and vision of the upcoming calendar year.  In 2006, the Nominating committee, committed to seeking out and cultivating a continual influx of new MADSS leadership, was created.  Each spring, the Nominating committee recruits and recommends new Board members who will continue the growth and development of MADSS into the future. 

MADSS and the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin (DSAW) initiated a formal partnership earlier this year in which DSAW provides program and administrative support for MADSS. This means that DSAW oversees the MADSS staff and other day-to-day operations of the organization, freeing up our board of directors to focus on big-picture decisions and strategic planning.

The Board of Directors is comprised of business professionals, community leaders, people who have a relationship with someone who has Down syndrome and a self advocate. The Board provides leadership, decision-making, fundraising support and specific expertise related to their personal and professional bylaws. If you would like to learn more about the Board or becoming involved with a committee, contact us at info@madss.org.