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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Countryside Association for People With Disabilities Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Human Services, Job Training, Sheltered Employment

Mission: Incorporated in 1954, we currently serve approximately 700 individuals with developmental, physical and mental disabilities and their families in an area of over 600 square miles, including all of lake and northern Cook Counties in Illinois. Services provided include respite care, case management, advocacy and referral, work skills training, paid sub contract work opportunities, supported work in individual placement and group enclave settings at employer sites, socialization opportunities among others.

Results: This last year we accomplished the following: * Added a new, 14-passenger paratransit vehicle to our fleet * Addisted townships in acquiring a Federal New Freedoms Transportation grant to pilot a coordinated multi-township paratransit service so people with disabilities residing in four northwest townships can access jobs * Expanded alternative support services at both our day program centers so that older adults with disabilities have opportunities to participate in healthy day activities that minimize the impact of aging * Completed major renovation of 1,200 s/f at our Waukegan Center to better support older adults with developmental disabilities residing in that area * Transition Services for students with disabilities were developed for Waukegan High School students through a collaborative project with another area service provider, NorthPointe Resources * Transition Services were resumed for students with disabilities from school district 211 (Palatine) * More than 28 adults were placed, trained and supported in a variety of community jobs at employer sites throughout Cook and Lake Counties * Countryside received the fifth largest award (out of 50 state applicants) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to support our community job development, training, and support efforts * In-Home Respite provided services to 150 families this year, including 14 new families * Increased availability of subcontract work by more than 21% compared to 2009 so that more than 300 participants with disabilities employed at our Work and Training Centers had access to paid work opportunities * Secured more than 50% of funds necessary to plan 9,000 s/f addition and building renovation at the Palatine Work and Training Center. A capital campaign titled "Building Opportunities" was launched in 2010 * We significantly expanded our donor base by securing many first-time donors in 2010 * Developed a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn applications to better inform the public about the Countryside mission * Installed an electronic donor database to more efficiently track and analyze our progress in promoting donations and major gifts * Added the ability for contributors to support Countryside through online giving

Target demographics: Adults and children with developmental disabilities.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 650 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families

Programs: Client and Family Support Program gives children and adults with developmental disabilities needed support to remain at home with their families and opportunities to achieve thier dream to live and work at a semi-independent level.

The Respite Program is designed to support children and adults with disabilites in their home environment as an alternative to residential placement. Two Work and Training centers provide programs designed to assist clients with developmental disabilities develop to their fullest potential by achieving independent work skills, earning income, and heightening social and personal living skills.

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I would like to nominate Countryside Association. I have had the pleasure of meeting an employee of this organization and am in awe of her endless dedication on behalf of her clients. I, along with many others, receive weekly notifications from this particular employee requesting donations for her association. Furthermore, she then collects the donated items throughout the week whether it be in the morning before a work shift or late at night. She is constantly on the look out for resources to help her clients grow. Her impressive work ethic should be rewarded! Please consider Countryside Association!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Recently I attended a fund raising event and my emotions were completely taken over by the efforts of the staff and their commitment to making a difference in the community for people with disabilities. Seeing the direct impact by these committed individuals, but also working as a team to make a great impact on the people and their lives was just amazing to see. it is simply extraordinary the favorable impact they have on people with disabilities.

Seeing this firsthand was critical. It afforded me the opportunity to try and assist in a way other than just giving a cash donation. I worked with two of the Countryside Association employees to find a suitable situation for one of their clients. The process has been rewarding as I witnessed how passionate the team really is and what it means to be truly committed to your life's work.

We are very excited about our new hire that Countryside Association has found us. Countryside has "all-in" employees that redefine what it really means to give back to their community. Countryside is deserving of recognition for what they are doing for people with disabilities. They are simply an outstanding organization making a "real" difference for people with disabilities.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

One of my close friends works at Countryside. It has been challenging and refreshing to see her passion for helping folks with disabilities find employment. I know firsthand that she, and her coworkers, consistently go over-the-top in their personal commitments to helping their clients find, apply for, interview for, and hold down a job. It is hard work and it is often thankless, but having meaningful employment is so important for persons with disabilities to be integrated into what some take to be "normal" society. The hard work of the people at Countryside deserves to be recognized for its impact and importance.

2 Emily60

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked for Countryside Assn. for over a year now. I serve the community as an Employment Specialist (sometimes known as a job coach). I came into this field with no directly related experience but with a fiery passion to make a difference. I have been so amazed by the work this organization does for its clients but also for their families and for the community to raise awareness and to create opportunities for them to give back and get involved. Our employment department has made a difference in the lives of many adults, some in their later years and some fresh out of high school. Each client has been given the direction and attention they deserve and require to be successful in the world of professionalism.
I am honored to be nominating my organization for this award, and I know there will be many other positive reviews to come your way. We are truly making a difference in great strides within the Chicagoland region. I am very blessed to be a part of it.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

One of my good friends works for this organization and the care which she and other members of this organization show toward their clients is mind boggling. This organization does a great job of empowering people with disabilities.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I know how much time the employees put into their work; sometimes they use their own funds to help support their clients, and they usually stay late and/or work on the weekends to help their clients get jobs. I believe in the work they're doing for people with disabilities; its empowering and important.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been working with nonprofits for over five years, particularly in childcare and family services. Our current facility is known for our doing our utmost to facilitate individuals with disabilities' involvement in the community that we stand for and always work towards building. But the fact is, we still stink at it. Employees are improperly trained, and employers are lacking the proper experience and communicative skills to invest in the involvement of people with disabilities, from summer camp programs to the coffee-maker volunteers in the mornings. The world of professional work places needs organizations like the Countryside Association to facilitate communication between the otherwise walled off members of our communities and the rest, and perhaps more importantly, to help teach both potential employees with disabilities as well as their employers how to maximize on their professional relationships as much as or even more so than any and all other professional relationships they come to know and expect in their places of work. Steps taken in this world towards change and thus progress are steps that are taught, upheld, and absolutely begun in places like the Countryside Association for People with Disabilities Inc.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

This past October I attended a fundraiser in Waukegan for Countryside Association and witnessed first-hand the valuable work that this non-profit is doing for our community. I was impressed to see the employees' personal interactions with their clients and families. I came away with a new respect and admiration for the disabled in our community. I now have a desire to see this organization grow to provide more opportunities for our disabled in the workplace. I was inspired by the joy I saw in the clients' faces when empowered with the ability to become contributing members in the workforce.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I hear such great things about this non-profit organization. I can tell that the people who work and volunteer there really cherish the people they work with and are willing to go the extra mile to help. The staff provide such fun opportunities for the young adults to get together, support one another, and be encouragement for each other, and this is so beneficial. I highly recommend Countryside.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Countryside is an organization that provides employment, employment training, social events and life skills to adults ages 22-99+. Their primary goal is to provide the appropriate support and services that each individual client needs. You can tell when you walk into the facility that the staff and clients are all happy to be there as you hear lots of talking and happy faces. The clients are busy throughout the day learning skills and socializing with their coworkers and staff.

1 Erika10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

It is a great organization that advocates for young adults with disabilities in the Lake County area. The staff are invested in their clients and strive to help aid in vocational settings and daily living tasks for the clients.

Carrie45

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A genuine, caring staff with personal commitments to helping those with disabilities.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Countryside organization is a fantastic organization with employees with true integrity for helping their clientele.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

One of my good friends works there and so I have gotten connected to Countryside through her. I was able to attend one of their events and thought it was great and I plan to participate in their walk/run fundraiser later this spring. I have a little bit of experience in working with people for disabilities and this organization seems to do it well. They put their clients first and work hard to provide tools and support in so many ways.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Countryside Association gives individuals with disabilities valuable tools and support to succeed. They offer classroom rehabilitation programs, piece work on side for clients not quite ready to work in the community, and community employment placement services. Countryside seeks to provide support for each unique client based on his or her needs and abilities. Not only does Countryside provide valuable job training skills, but also enjoyable client social events such as banquet dinners, holiday parties, volunteer opportunities in the community, etc. Countryside constantly gives back and deserves to be rewarded!

Sue T.

Client Served

Rating: 4

Our daughter attends Countryside, and it is her world. She loves the work she does and takes great pride in her paychecks. She loves the staff, and has many friends.
She enjoys being a part of the social scene there, but really loves the dances the most.
The staff has always been caring and attentive and I feel that my daughter is in a fabulous environment that fulfills her life.
Thank you Countryside!

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a member of an organization that does fund-raising for Countryside. I am always impressed with how they do so much for so many with so little...as the state continues to cut back on funds. I am always proud of the help we can give them. Just wish it could be more. This video goes into detail on just how much they help people with disabilities, all the way into their senior years. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBwIMbH46vs

Board Member

Rating: 5

Countryside is a great place for persons with developmental disabilities to learn job skills, make friends and be involved with the community. i have been involved with Countryside over 35 years as a volunteer and board member. Some of the clients were young children when I first came to Countryside and now they have grown into happy working adults.

Review from Guidestar

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

A great organization helping adults with disabilities find and obtain quality employment. It is obvious by their actions that those involved in this organization truly care about the clients being serviced. I am proud to be a small part of this group using our community newspapers to amplify their voices and to help service their needs. Whether you provide the gift of time or money you can be sure it is going to a great local cause.

Review from Guidestar