Community Options Celebrates 34 Years of Improving Lives for People with Disabilities
February 09 2023 | Press Release.pdf | centraljersey.com online article | thesunpapers.com online article
PRINCETON, NJ – The leading national nonprofit organization is celebrating its 34th anniversary on February 9th.
Founded in 1989 by Robert Stack, Community Options’ mission is to develop housing and employment supports for persons with disabilities. Armed with the consistent philosophy that all people need to experience freedom, dignity and self-determination, the organization’s budget has grown to exceed $330 million. With this funding Community Options operates, 650 community homes and supports over 5,000 people with disabilities and their families across 11 states.
“New Jersey is proud to be the state where Community Options began serving people with disabilities 34 years ago, improving the lives of thousands of New Jerseyans. As Governor, Community Options was instrumental to our administration’s work to help ensure that community-based services are available for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Chris Christie, who served as Governor of New Jersey from 2010-2018.
Community Options focuses on community-based care for people with the most complex and significant disabilities, medical and behavioral health challenges. The person-centered services have vastly improved the quality of life for thousands of people with disabilities who were once relegated to large-congregate settings.
“When I founded this nonprofit, I hoped we would find the humanity to operate and the generosity to fund services for Americans who are most vulnerable,” said Robert Stack, Community Options’ President and CEO.
With operations in states from Utah to New York, several dignitaries commented on this anniversary. US Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina wrote, “This is an exciting milestone! As you look back, take satisfaction in all that you have accomplished, reflect on those you have had the good fortune of working alongside and comfort in knowledge that you have made your community a better place.”
In Maryland, Community Options worked with the state to establish a unique program that serves children with complex behavioral challenges and disabilities. The program has allowed children who were moved to out of state facilities to return home.
“Congratulations to Community Options for its 34 years of service to our nation and our local communities,” said Governor Wes Moore. “Here in Maryland, we are making service a priority, and I want to thank Community Options and their staff in Frederick, Montgomery County and the Greater Baltimore region for leading the way.”
“I have watched Community Options lead one of the most significant social movements in American history,” said Dorothy Goodwin, Chair of Community Options’ Board of Directors. “In my 20 years of experience in the field, no other organization has made more of an impact on the deinstitutionalization of people with disabilities.”
Many of the individuals who exited institutional settings have gone back to school or obtained jobs that they love.
“Employment for people with disabilities is close to my heart. I joined Community Options Enterprises (COE) board at the request of my close friend, Robert Stack, but I stay because I see firsthand how employment gives meaning to the lives of the people the organization supports, and of course COE always pays full minimum wage or better for all work,” explains Phil Lian, Chairman of Community Options Enterprises.
“That any non-profit organization should experience such significant growth over three decades is a rare anomaly, but one with which I am thrilled to be involved,” said Jim Buckley, Community Options’ Treasurer, and a Senior Vice President at Citi. “Community Options has made an impact that is directly proportionate to its growth.”
With thousands of people still on waitlists for home and community-based services, the organization hopes to continue to grow and will always try to rally more people around its mission.
About Community Options, Inc.:
For over 30 years, Community Options has developed housing and employment supports for people with disabilities – serving thousands of people from over 50 offices across 11 states. Community Options provides advocacy assistance to empower people with disabilities because all people – regardless of ability level – should live and work in the community with dignity, choice and self-determination. For more information please visit our website: www.comop.org and to follow along with the #AllItTakes campaign, search #AllItTakes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.