Who We Are

Our Background

Project Independence was established 47 years ago to help get people with developmental disabilities out of institutions to live independently. Today, we continue to advocate for the rights of this special needs population while providing services that help them to become and remain independent. Our core programs for adults with developmental disabilities include Independent Living, Supported Independent Living, Supported Employment, Community Day Program, and Work Incentive Planning Assistance (WIPA).

Who We Help

At Project Independence we have worked for over 45 years to serve hundreds of people throughout Orange County build lives of true independence even when challenged with developmental disabilities. With the help of our wonderful community partners and employers we work from an “Inclusive Model.” Through our programs, our community grows stronger by including all who hope for a happy and independent life. A life of achievement, accomplishment and inclusion.

We work with adults with developmental disabilities aged 22 and above that have been referred to us from the Regional Center of Orange County. Currently our clients range from 27 to 72.  Find out more about developmental and intellectual disabilities.

walkathon event benefitting adults with developmental disabilities
supported employment for people with developmental disabilities

Our Mission

Project Independence’s mission is to promote civil rights for people with developmental disabilities through services which expand independence and choice.

We Believe

  • People with disabilities have a right to fully participate in the community and that participation both enlightens and strengthens the community.
  • It is important to listen to the hopes and dreams of the people we serve, focusing on the individual, and presenting those services in a dignified and respectful manner.
  • That by listening to the hopes and dreams of people we serve, we can help them realize those dreams and lead fulfilling lives.
  • Having a job, friends, and home of your own are all intrinsic to a healthy, happy life.

Cultural Competency and Diversity

Project Independence embraces the opportunities of multi-culturalism and inclusion in all aspects of business operations. This includes not only the direct provision of services to our consumers and their families, but also to our employees and stakeholders. View our full Cultural Competency and Diversity Plan.

How We Got Started

In 2007, two established nonprofit organizations – Vantage and Project Independence – joined forces to better serve the needs of Orange County adults with developmental disabilities. While our merged history is still being written, each organization had a rich, 30-year history prior to the merger:

Vantage Foundation was incorporated in 1977 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Its mission was to provide quality day support for meaningful community integration and employment for people with the most significant developmental disabilities; through person-centered planning, well-trained staff, and growth opportunities for all. Vantage had a strong commitment to individuals with the most complex disabilities.

Project Independence was established in 1977 by dedicated families of adults with developmental disabilities who envisioned more for their loved ones than lives of segregation, prejudice, and institutionalization. Their goal? To allow adults with developmental disabilities to exercise freedom and personal choice in their own lives. The Independent Living program was the first of its kind in Orange County.

  • The Merger

    Vantage and Project Independence merge

  • Together For Good

    Newly merged entities buy their first building, ensuring we are Together for Good

  • Orange County Spotlight

    Our Community Day Services department wins the Orange County Spotlight Award for exemplary program.

  • Walk for Independence

    First Annual Walk for Independence

  • 1st Donor Reception

    1st Donor Reception held at the OC Mart Mix to celebrate donors and volunteers

  • Rebranding

    Project Independence rolls out its new website and logo as we prepare to celebrate our 40 Year Anniversary

  • 15 Years with City of Irvine

    Project Independence has been providing employees from our Supported Employment Program for the City of Irvine mail department for 15 years!