Our Mission

Avenues to Independence is dedicated to putting aside old ideas about what is possible. We work in partnership with the community to support and encourage people with disabilities to lead the lives they choose responsibly and with independence and dignity. We have a life long commitment to the people we serve.

Our Vision

Avenues to Independence is a non-profit organization that provides homes, jobs, social activities and learning opportunities to adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to help them become part of the community in every way. This is achieved by ensuring adequate funding, strong leadership and strategic alliances.

Avenues was founded in 1953 when a group of parents believed things should be different for their sons and daughters with developmental disabilities. They wanted them to be a part of the community, close to home, among family and friends. Remaining in the community wasn’t always easy, but it was what everyone wanted.

And that has made all the difference.

Today, thanks to their vision, Avenues is a non-profit organization that provides homes, jobs and community living programs to Chicago area adults with physical, intellectual, and other developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, autism, epilepsy and cerebral palsy. It is our goal to provide work and living opportunities enabling those with disabilities to be as independent as possible.

Our staff consists of nearly 100 employees, of which 80% are full time. The management staff averages 30 or more years of service, and more than 250 dedicated volunteers provide additional support each year.

Avenues’ Board of Directors, comprised of local leaders, business men and women, and advocates for people with disabilities, has demonstrated responsible fiscal management. Despite an alarming decrease in financial support from the state of Illinois, Avenues has kept a strong balance sheet, minimal debt and a balanced budget each year.

We are proud that more than 86% of all donations directly fund our vital programs!



Avenues has received accreditation and the highest commendation possible by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Avenues is also certified by the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Avenues has earned the GuideStar Exchange Seal, demonstrating our commitment to transparency.  Click the link below to read the GuideStar nonprofit report on Avenues, or visit www.guidestar.org

GuideStar report

Watch Avenues in Action

Learn more about Avenues by exploring our programs and services, events, news and issues, pics and flicks, and connect with Avenues on social media.

View More Avenues to Independence Videos