Our Core Values
More About Us
In 2018, the organization rolled out its new name to reflect a focus on what people with disabilities can do, not what they can’t do. They grew and evolved to become the STARability Foundation, which now has a professional staff and more than 150 volunteers who work to give STARability participants a quality of life they seek and deserve. Enrollment has increased by more than 100% since 2014, demonstrating the great need for our programming. STARability now serves nearly 300 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Southwest Florida, providing opportunities for them to live their best lives. STARability opens up a whole calendar of engaging activities with innovative and creative programs that focus on continuing education, teamwork and community involvement.
Our Major Focus Areas
- Advocating for the rights and needs of citizens with developmental disabilities
- Increasing community awareness of the unique worth of individuals with developmental disabilities
- Providing educational, social and recreational opportunities for participants
- Serving as a support group for families of persons with developmental disabilities
- Supporting efforts for employment opportunities, lifelong learning and quality affordable housing options for persons with developmental disabilities
History of the Foundation
1983 – The Foundation was incorporated as the Foundation for the Developmentally Handicapped, a nonprofit organization, in 1983. The Foundation became the fundraising arm to further the mission of TECH of Collier County.
1986 – 2001 – The Foundation undertook two separate building projects to purchase land, build and repay the mortgage for a 12,000-square-foot property on Golden Gate Parkway in Naples that houses the ABLE Academy.
1990 – The organization changed its name to the TECH Foundation to broaden its support for adults, housing issues and public advocacy.
1994 – 1997 – The TECH Foundation awarded almost $350,000 in support to TECH of Collier County for Day Treatment, Strive and operational support.
1997 – TECH and Sunrise Communities merged. The TECH Foundation took over the financial management of the Friends of TECH and their social and recreational programs. The TECH Foundation also renegotiated the return and became guardian of the Becker Fund on behalf of the Friends.
1999 – The TECH Foundation changed its name to the Foundation for the Developmentally Disabled (FDD) to better reflect its countywide position as a voice for all people with developmental disabilities.
2006 – The Friends of the Developmentally Disabled and the Foundation for the Developmentally Disabled merged under the Foundation’s name to provide a united effort focused on providing the maximum support possible to persons with developmental disabilities.
2009 – The Foundation’s Board of Directors voted to expand the footprint of the organization to include Lee County, in addition to Collier County. The organization also hired an executive director to provide operational leadership and guidance.
2016 – To meet the need in the community for a structured community-based program for individuals 18 and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities, FDD started Trailblazer Academy. In this community-based program, participants are active and engaged with local employers, nonprofit organizations and recreational centers.
2018 – we rolled out our new name, STARability Foundation, to reflect our focus on what people with disabilities can do, not what they can’t do.
2019 – STARability earned a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. By adding information about our goals, strategies, capabilities and vision, we are highlighting the difference we help to make in the world. Check out our updated GuideStar Profile.