Mission: Extraordinary Ventures was first established in 2007 by a group of local parents who had children with autism facing graduation from High School with few job or social prospects. This private non-profit group established a unique entrepreneurial approach to creating businesses that worked with the abilities of the employees in order to provide jobs and social connections.
Results: Extraordinary Ventures has responded to adversity in that we are employing individuals that the community has labeled unemployable. In our first four years we slowly grew to offer 300 hours of paid employment per month. Through collaboration with people in the community, development of support structures and continuous innovation they have been able to more than double that amount of employment in the past six months.
Although EV offers many services to the community, they believe their real contribution lies in the breaking down of stigmas that exists regarding the value of these individuals. They are working to change mindsets to view adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities as assets not liabilities to Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s economy.
Target demographics: Adults with Autism (ASD) and other Developmental Disabilities
Geographic areas served: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Programs: Their ventures include EV Gifts, EV Laundry, Bus Cleaning for Chapel Hill Transit, Gravesite Guardians, and the Event Center located at 200 S. Elliott Road in Chapel Hill. In 2012, the EV model caught fire and they have experienced across-the-board growth in each of these businesses enabling them to double their paid employment, create 22 new jobs and increase revenue by 36%.
Extraordinary Ventures has such a great mission, "to employ those with diabilities." Many of their employees receive their first ever paycheck from EV and you can see how proud they are of themselves. Also, many of their members have fairly rigid schedules in group homes and Friday Night Live at EV gives them all a chance to play games and enjoy themselves.
Extraordinary Ventures is the best non-profit I have ever been involved with. It is an organization that rents out space for business meetings, receptions, yoga, just about anything. We employ teenagers and adults who have developmental disabilities and give them a chance to feel like they are an important part of the community and they get paid too. I, myself have mental illness and I have been voluteering for EV since June of 2009. It has been and continues to be a wonderful place to work and to help me feel like I am making a positive difference in the world. Everyone involved with EV has great things to say about it. It continues to grow and create wonderful experiences for an exceptional community.