Community Options celebrates 35 years of transformative impact in lives of people with disabilities

Community Options, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals with disabilities, proudly marked its 35th anniversary on Friday. Founded in 1989 by Robert Stack, the organization manages 650 homes and supports 6,000 people with disabilities across residential, employment and community-based day services around the country.

“Since its inception, Community Options has been devoted to serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, thus cultivating a reputation for providing exceptional person-centered services that are unique to individuals’ needs,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “As governor, I commend Community Options and applaud all those associated for their endless contributions to the well-being and success of individuals with disabilities who are living and thriving throughout New Jersey and beyond. Best wishes to all for continued success and a memorable anniversary.”

In the late ’80s, Stack recognized the pressing need for alternative options for parents of children facing serious disabilities. Witnessing the challenges and limitations within state-run institutions, Stack took matters into his own hands. Leaving his position in state government, he rallied the support of friends, families, advocates and government officials to embark on a mission to create a better future for individuals with disabilities.

Stack took a bold step, pledging his own resources, including a second mortgage on his house and personal savings, to establish Community Options. Armed with a check of $362, along with meticulously drafted bylaws and corporate documents, Stack incorporated Community Options as a nonprofit, officially creating the organization that would change the lives of thousands of people with disabilities and families.

Reflecting on the journey of the past 35 years, Stack remarked: “What started as a small initiative fueled by a desire to make a difference has grown into a nationwide movement. We have come a long way, but our commitment to empowering persons with disabilities remains as strong as ever.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) shared his appreciation for Community Options, stating, “Their work has positively impacted countless New Jerseyans through their advocacy, and I am deeply grateful for their efforts in helping individuals with disabilities live stronger, healthier, and happier lives.”

Community Options has expanded its reach and currently provides support to 6,000 individuals across 12 states. The organization’s dedication to promoting independence, dignity and choice has made a lasting impact on the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

In 2023, Community Options entered its 12th state, New Hampshire, to help people with disabilities transition from out-of-state institutions back into community homes near their families.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu shared a warm welcome: “I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to your organization for achieving thirty-five years of service to people with disabilities across the country. I was pleased to see Community Options open its first New Hampshire office in Nashua.”

As Community Options commemorates its 35th anniversary, the organization reaffirms its commitment to creating inclusive communities where everyone, regardless of ability, can thrive and lead fulfilling lives.