The mission of the STARability Foundation is to enhance the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families through education, social and recreational activities; advocating for employment and housing options; and raising community awareness.
What we do
We fill a void that exists for people with disabilities who have aged out of the school system. We open up a whole calendar of fun activities for young adults with innovative and creative programs focused on continuing education, teamwork and community involvement. We are the only affiliate of the Next Chapter Book Club in Southwest Florida for people with intellectual disabilities, and our Trailblazer Academy gives participants a unique opportunity to learn vocational skills to become a part of the workforce. STARability’s photography workshop guides members to create images that go on display at Art Fest Naples and the Naples Art Association gallery. Other programs include baseball, basketball, bowling, cooking classes and art workshops.
Our Major Focus Areas
- Advocating for the rights and needs of citizens with developmental disabilities.
- Increasing community awareness of the unique worth of disabled persons.
- Providing educational, social and recreational opportunities for clients.
- Serving as a support group for families of persons with 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 non-profit 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 their 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 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 & 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.