AbleLight Empowerment Blog: We’re celebrating our new name

It’s a new year and we have a new name! In alignment with our new name, this blog is now the AbleLight Empowerment Blog.

We officially become AbleLight on Friday and will celebrate on Jan. 11 with Better. Brighter. Together. our virtual concert event.

  • Michael W. Smith, Grammy and Dove award-winning Christian musician, will bring the music to our celebration.
  • David Ragan, former NASCAR driver, and his brother Adam Ragan, disability advocate, will host and share their story.
  • Merrill, A Bank of America Company, is our presenting sponsor.

Help us celebrate our new name and the people we serve, those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Join our Better. Brighter. Together. live-streaming concert event on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. ET | 7 p.m. CT | 6 p.m. MT | 5 p.m. PT. RSVP now for updates and reminders here.  

5 fast facts about musician Michael W. Smith to help us get acquainted

  1. Michael is an award-winning musician. He has earned three Grammys, an American Music Award and a whopping 45 Dove Awards.
  2. Throughout his musical career, which took off in 1981, Michael has sold 15 million albums and counting.
  3. He believes in the power of music saying, “Forever, until the world ends, music is the most powerful language there is. It can transform your life on every level, not just the spiritual. It can help people reconnect with why they’re here.”
  4. Michael is a self-proclaimed sci-fi geek who appreciates the heavens as well as “Star Wars” and “Lost in Space.” His album, “A Million Lights” was written and recorded in the same musical key as the sound that comes from the stars. (Yes, scientists have recorded the sound of stars.)
  5. Philanthropy is important. Smith has raised funds to battle AIDS in Africa alongside longtime friend Bono. He started Rocketown, a safe haven for young people in Tennessee to meet and find hope. And he has helped more than 70,000 children through Compassion International.

Top 5 need-to-know facts about hosts, Adam and David Ragan

  1. Adam and David Ragan are brothers. Adam is the older brother, and he was born with Down syndrome. They’re sons of former NASCAR (stock car racing) driver Ken Ragan.
  2. David competed in the NASCAR Cup series, the pinnacle of stock car racing. His first win in the series came at the 2011 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, arguably the most well-known track in stock car racing.
  3. Adam competed in Special Olympics. He participated in state-level bowling and basketball events and has earned more than 20 trophies and ribbons.
  4. Adam attends NASCAR races, sometimes in support of David and other times as a disability-advocate. He is a favorite in the garage and in July 2021 he was Grand Marshall for a NASCAR Xfinity race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  5. David has always attended Adam’s Special Olympics events, supporting Adam and making sure he got to be the center of attention sometimes.

Celebrate our new name and get to know Michael W. Smith and David and Adam Ragan when you join us on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. ET | 7 p.m. CT | 6 p.m. MT | 5 p.m. PT.

RSVP now for reminders and updates at