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Mario Aranda

Welcome to the Mario J. Aranda Memorial Fund

Mario J. Aranda was the father of one of our beloved staff members, Jacob. He passed away from Coronavirus in August of 2020. It is because of Mario, that Jacob discovered People with Disabilities Succeeding (PDS). Mario was a friendly patron at the gym where our client Kevin worked. Mario was kind and supportive to Kevin and his job coach, John, and Mario told Jacob about PDS. 


Mario Aranda was a fighter and an activist. He cared so much for others, and for serving the greater good. He wasn't afraid to challenge the status quo to make sure people had a voice, had their dignity. We are so grateful to Mario for passing down his legacy of generosity and kindness to his wonderful son Jacob, who is an important and influential member of the administrative team at People with Disabilities Succeeding. 


Mario with his son Jacob who works at PDS

Here are some excerpts about Mario J. Aranda:

"His next professional opportunity was to open political and institutional systems for the large Hispanic population of Chicago to help ease their integration into a better life. Since 1979 he has been the director of a private civil rights agency whose mission it is to see that the Hispanic life is seen as one of value. This requires him to examine systems and policy-makers—that is, city governments and corporations. Where he finds discriminatory practices, unfair wages, or little value put on Hispanic life, he confronts and negotiates.

His early training at being an outsider, at being comfortable as part of a minority, has prepared him to fulfill his opportunity. A frequent talk-show guest, he serves on councils as diverse as the national board of the Children’s Television Workshop, the Illinois Council on Employment and Training, and the Chicago Civic Coalition of the Chicago Bar Association. He sits in council with the mayor of Chicago, the president of the United States, and the president of Mexico. Recently the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as Chicago papers, covered his comments regarding philanthropic organizations and their lack of responsiveness to Hispanics."

A quote from Mario:

“I cannot stand by and witness a sister standing at her factory job with blistered hands, working sixteen hours a day because she must support five children, and quietly walk away when I find that she is being paid less than the man working next to her. We must not blind ourselves to the reality of such conditions. These mothers hold to the dream that they can teach their children honor and sobriety and that with hard work there will be progress.”

A tribute to Mario by his youngest son Joe: Tribute

An obituary that was published in the San Francisco Chronicle from Sep. 21 to Sep. 22, 2020: Obituary

An obituary that was published in the New York Times on Oct. 9, 2020: Obituary

A song that Mario's son Jacob wrote in honor of his father:

If you would like to make a donation to the Mario J. Aranda Fund, PDS will use your contribution to further Mario’s legacy of promoting compassion, diversity and inclusion. 

Any amount you donate in Mario Aranda’s name will ensure that all adults with developmental disabilities lead active lives as productive, accepted members of our community. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic PDS is serving our program participants over WhatsApp, FaceTime, computers, and phones, sharing funny photos and videos, laughing and having a great time. Our staff members have "pivoted" to become Zoom teachers and are entertaining, reassuring, and comforting our clients while they are housebound. This is a link to a beautiful concert Jacob did for Mario's birthday. You can watch it here: Concert

We know that Mario would have approved of keeping our participants and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your contribution will be used to cover the cost of tablets, cell phones, art supplies and goodies like delivered meals, puppets and costumes to keep morale up and to make getting on Zoom more fun as well as personal protective equipment as needed.

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Donate to the Mario J Aranda Memorial Fund here:

PDS is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization organized for charitable purposes and all donations are tax-deductible. For tax purposes, our non-profit identification number is 81-1768753. We will send you a receipt for your records.

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