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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Independence First, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Civil Rights, Disabilities, Disabled Persons Rights, Human Services

Mission: IndependenceFirst is a non-profit agency directed by, and for the benefit of, persons with disabilities. We primarily serve the four county metro Milwaukee area.  Our vision is for full inclusion of people with disabilities in every aspect of our community.  With over 20 programs to benefit independent living and access for people with disabilities, we serve thousands each year.  We’re the community’s FIRST resource when they have questions about disability and access, answering nearly 6,000 information and referral calls each year.  We serve people with all kinds of disability, in all age groups.  Over 51% of our staff, managers and Board have disabilities themselves.

Target demographics: People with disabilities of all kinds, in all age groups.  Family members or other service providers who are interested in independent living for people with disabilities.  Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties primarily, but some statewide programs.

Geographic areas served: Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha Counties primarily, some statewide programs

Programs: Advocacy - individual and Systemic, Assistive Technology Consultation, Independent Living Skills training for youth and adults, Benefits & Employment Counseling, Job Club, Peer Support, Information & Referral, Accessibility Consultation, Counseling & Services for Victims of Abuse who have disabilities, Personal Assistance Services, Attendant Referral, Wheelchair Sports & Adaptive Recreation for Youth and Adults, Youth Leadership Training and Skill Building, and MUCH MORE!

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wendy & Tracy ROCK!!! The building and accommodations are beautiful and hidden within the walls is a great sense of humor!


Client Served

Rating: 5

I have seen this agency grow over the years. I've seen the people they've helped, myself and my family being some of them. Over the years they have helped me see people with disabilities very differently. They helped me understand my son could do anything, all he had to do was try! Today my son is 26 years old and VERY independent, very active, and very much wants to be treated as an equal to everyone else. It is thru the programs and services he received from IndependenceFirst that helped me become the MAN he is today. The staff at IndependenceFirst couldn't be better, they are caring, dedicated individuals. I thank IndependenceFirst for a job well done!


Client Served

Rating: 5

We needed a specialized wheelchair for my Mother-in-law and IndependenceFirst was able to accommodate us. The staff was professional, knowledgeable, and caring.