Friendship Community Care Inc.

City: Russellville
Category: Nonprofit Organization of the Year
Year: 2008

From its start-up in 1972 working with 12 children in Russellville, Friendship Community Care has evolved into a statewide organization providing humanitarian care to some 2,500 developmentally disabled and elderly people each week.

Cindy Mahan, chief executive officer, has led the organization, which now employs 850 workers, since its inception. It operates 34 facilities in 29 counties.

Throughout its growth, the mission of Friendship Community Care hasn't changed — meeting community needs. "No one goes through life unchallenged," Mahan said. "Wherever the need is, we will go."

Responding to needs across the state has led the nonprofit to become involved in inpatient and outpatient therapies, transportation for the elderly, early intervention for toddlers and delivering meals to seniors.

"People with disabilities can do many types of jobs," Mahan said. "Our basic philosophy is to embrace life even with disabilities. All are encouraged to reach their utmost potential."

One of the organization's long-range goals is providing more housing opportunities for the elderly that allow them to remain in control of their own lives but have on-site support if necessary.

In the past year, Friendship Community Care has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities International for its Child & Youth Services, Adult Services, Community Housing and Organizational Employment
Services programs.

Along with its seven pediatric sites, the nonprofit has opened a school designed specifically for children with autism spectrum disorder. It also opened Pottery Worx at Bryant as a retail shop to give those with developmental disabilities an opportunity to be involved in a retail setting. In addition, Pottery Worx provides a revenue stream for the organization, which could be facing cutbacks in Medicaid funding and increased costs for providing services.

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