Community Access Ultd., supporting the disabled


Community Access Unlimited was founded in 1979 by Sidney Blanchard, who, working out of the back of his Volkswagen Beetle, had been awarded a $90,000 grant to move 20 people with developmental disabilities in Union County out of institutions and integrate them into the community. Today, CAU boasts a $67 million annual operating budget and 1,100 staff serving more than 6,000 people with a variety of disabilities throughout the state of New Jersey.


CAU’s mission is to provide community access through effective, systematic and comprehensive support services for people with disabilities and their families, giving them the opportunity to live independently and to lead normal and productive lives as citizens integrated into the general community. Services also include the provision of decent housing, preferably income-integrated and affordable to low- and moderate-income people.


  • Continued expansion of programs.
  • Continuing strengthening of our community ties.
  • Expansion of employee base.


We strive for our members to:

  • Achieve economic self-sufficiency while being as productive as is commensurate with their abilities.
  • Achieve independent living within the community according to their abilities, resources and needs.
  • Achieve a functional level of money management.
  • Achieve a satisfying social life.
  • Achieve a healthy lifestyle.
  • Achieve personal growth.
  • Achieve equal rights and self-determination.

We believe in:

  • Community integration.
  • Holistic interactions as valued human beings.
  • Equal treatment as citizens.
  • Equal value as members of a social activities movement.
  • Choice and self-determination.
  • Real lives in real homes.


  • Ongoing transition to fee for services.
  • Revenue-producing partnerships to support other nonprofits that have not put into place the information technology and programs to be successful on their own in this new fee-for-services environment.
  • Expansion of our youth transitional living program.
  • Expansion of our Academy for Education (more classes serving more individuals).
  • Expansion of our collaboration with community arts organizations.
  • Expansion off our employment program and outreach to youth with disabilities.
  • Increased online visibility.


We raise money through traditional fundraising (grants, events, individual gifts, corporate contributions), investment income, investment property and fees for services provided. The state is currently undergoing a transition for contract-based prospective payment to fee-for-services reimbursement payments — and we are ready. We also focus on community and business partnerships to leverage income with community resources.


All types. From families of people with disabilities to government to banks to employers to educational entities to health care providers. We support people in achieving real lives in real communities. That takes everyone in the community’s participation.


What differentiates CAU from other nonprofits is that we maintain a nonprofit passion with a business mentality — our business plan more closely resembles that of a for-profit enterprise than a typical nonprofit.

Where: Elizabeth
Serving: The state of New Jersey
Key members: Sidney Blanchard, executive director; Bernadette Griswold, associate executive director; Millie Aurigemma, accounting director; Robyn Wright, managing human resources director

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For more information, email, write to 80 W. Grand St., Elizabeth, NJ 07202, or call 908-354-3040. The website is