Project Independence

Costa Mesa, CA   |  www.proindependence.org

Mission

Project Independence promotes civil rights for people with developmental disabilities through services which expand independence and choice. Since 1977, Project Independence has provided adults with developmental disabilities throughout Orange County the choice of living, working and recreating with their nondisabled peers. We have been setting the standard for exemplary support, as a nationally recognized organization. We provide integrated work opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities, autism and related disorders and our community living supports were the first in the state. Project Independence promotes access to a ‘valued life’ for all people in our community by sharing resources, collaborating with peers and promoting healthy communities in general, not just clients. Access to these basic civil rights is possible because of the promise of California’s landmark legislation The Lanterman Act. Our Staff, Board and volunteers are passionate about what we do and how we do it. As advocates, first and foremost, we are here to work for the people in our programs, providing assistance only when necessary, encouraging self-sufficiency and personal growth.

Notes from the nonprofit

Additional docs: Financial Statements Years Ending June 30, 2017 and 2018 Independent Auditor's Report

Ruling year info

1979

Principal Officer

Debra Marsteller

Main address

3505 Cadillac #O-103

Costa Mesa, CA 92626 USA

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Formerly known as

Vantage Foundation

EIN

95-3147421

NTEE code info

Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers (P82)

Disabled Persons' Rights (R23)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community Day Services

Our Day Program provides employment, volunteer opportunities and community integration to people who have significant developmental disabilities. Services include placement at appropriate jobs with 100% support, opportunities to volunteer with other nonprofit agencies, and enrollment in community college or adult education classes. We also provide our Harmony Program, which serves seniors (50 years and older) with developmental disabilities. Individuals may participate between one to five days per week depending on their needs. Activities take place in community senior centers and include social, health, fitness and memory focused routines to maximize individual capabilities.

Population(s) Served

OurPositive Behavior Support Program serves adults with developmental disabilities who are 22 years of age or older and who require a 1:3, 1:2, or 1:1 staff ratio. The program is designed to serve adults who exhibit behaviors which prevent them from successfully functioning within the community, vocational, or recreational settings without close supervision. Upon acceptance to the program, each individual goes through a 30 day assessment period utilizingFunctional Analysis of Behavior Assessment, Learning Modality Assessment, and a Quality of Life Assessment. After collecting and analyzing the data, a Positive Behavior Support plan is developed to break existing patterns of behavior and to teach new behaviors so that he or she can realize their potential within the community.

Population(s) Served

Our Independent Living program helps clients live on their own in apartments and other properties throughout Orange County. With help from staff, clients learn how to budget, plan meals, grocery shop, cook, handle housekeeping tasks and do laundry. Project Independence staff helps ensure that our clients’ needs are met while encouraging and fostering independence and choice.  Supported Living Services are available, as needed, on a limited basis for people who require more intensive support.

Population(s) Served

Since the inception of Supported Employment in 1986, society has made tremendous progress toward the realization that people with disabilities have a wide array of abilities which bring value to employers and to the community. While it was once unheard of to expect that a person with a developmental disability had the skills necessary to compete in the work force, today people are realizing their potential to work in jobs as varied as the overall job market.
 
The Project Independence Supported Employment program is based on the idea that, in creating a successful job match, a person with a developmental disability can do the job he or she was hired to do. Our job is to provide whatever the person needs to be successful, from extra training, establishing priorities and creating task schedules, to educating employees at the job site and building natural supports.

Population(s) Served

What Is WIPA?Work Incentive Planning and Assistance is a grant awarded by The Social Security Administration to local organizations to provide work incentive planning services for beneficiaries in cash payment status for Supplemental Security Income (SSI),Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or Social Security Childhood Disability Benefits (SSCDB), previously called Disabled Adult Child (SSDAC).Who Is Eligible to Receive Services?Anyone who is currently receiving cash payments under one or more of thefollowing programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Social Security Childhood Disability Benefits (SSCDB) – also known as Social Security Disabled Adult Child (SSDAC) AND is either: Working, Looking for work, or Thinking about looking for work.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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Accreditations

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) - Employment and Community Services - 3 Year Accreditation 2011

Awards

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our lead goal is to provide support for adults with developmental disabilities through our Day Programs, Supported/Independent Living and Supported Employment Programs. Through this support, lives of independence and inclusion are built as our community realizes the reciprocal benefit to including our clients in their community. Only together does our community grow stronger.

Our Programs:
Day Program: Provide daily programs to stimulate friendship and confidence while partaking in the community.
Supported/Independent Living: Provide services to bolster individual learning curves for an independent life while offering hands-on training and assistance.
Supported Employment: Partnering with the community's businesses and organizations to employ our adults giving them a sense of accomplishment, confidence, and inclusion while creating a personal income stream.

Through these programs, Project Independence has and will continue to build a stronger community by strategically including these adults in our community.

Our 130+ staff tends to measure their time at Project Independence in decades. Led by a CEO who has over 40 years of background, experience and education in the field, Project Independence continues to be the organizational model that the State leans on to formulate legislative changes and improvements. In fact, in its 40+ years Project Independence has operated with the "Inclusive Model" of providing these services within the community rather than the sheltered workshop method. The State recently made the decision to emulate this model throughout the State.

We have touched thousands of lives over our four decades of service. We have directly touched the lives of our clients but also their families and friends as they witness the blossoming of a life of independence, often unburdening a family of the tremendous responsibility of being the lead caretaker, coach, teacher, etc. We have also listened to story after story of businesses that have benefited greatly by hiring the unbridled enthusiasm and accountability of our clients. And, very importantly, we have watched the mystery taken out of the eyes of our community as we include our clients throughout the community as 'abled' community members ready to contribute rather than as a mysterious liability.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Through client surveys we recently re-established an extra-curricular program for our adults with developmental disabilities that had been canceled due to the State labeling it 'non-essential.' We, on the other hand, considered this program essential to build a complete and inclusive life of independence for our clients. We secured outside funding for Access 2 Adventure.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

Project Independence
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Project Independence

Board of directors
as of 03/17/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Dan Pittman

Pittman and Associates

Term: 2018 - 2019


Board co-chair

Dan Pittman

Judy Cole

SSA

Del Hart

Accountant

E. Kurt Yeager

Attorney

Harry Stahl

Attorney

Dan Pittman

PR firm

Bobby Spitzberg

Community Volunteer

Diane Pritchett

South Coast Metro

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/16/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/16/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.