Project Independence Honored Three Times in as Many Months

Project Independence has been recognized three times in as many months for exemplary services for people with developmental disabilities. Honors include RCOC Spotlight Award for Exemplary Service and The California Wellness Foundation Sabbatical
Oct. 25, 2009 - PRLog -- Costa Mesa, CA-Orange County’s Project Independence has been recognized three times in as many months for exemplary services for people with developmental disabilities.
The latest is this week when The California Wellness Foundation awarded Project Independence and Executive Director Debra Marsteller their leadership award. The Sabbatical Program was created to support nonprofit leaders and seeks to improve the long-term effectiveness of health-focused nonprofits by providing their executives with the rest they need to continue to direct their organizations’ missions. Each of the eight organizations receives $30,000 to cover its leader’s salary during the sabbatical, plus an additional $5,000 to cover expenses related to the professional development of managers and staff who will assume extra responsibilities during their leader’s absence. Each of the 2009 sabbatical honorees has served in the nonprofit sector for at least eight years, and most have worked in their current roles as lead executives of health-focused organizations for many years without a significant break.
Debra, ED since 1985, was thrilled to be considered and expressed gratitude to the Board and senior management team.  “I would never consider four months away without the great people I work with being able and willing to carry on while I’m gone.”  Learning Spanish and reading are the two priorities for Ms. Marsteller.  She has the year ahead to take the 4 continuous months, her only responsibility being to rejuvenate and come back refreshed.  “I plan to move to Mexico and take immersion Spanish classes, fulfilling a life long dream to live in another country.
Since 2005, when Vantage Foundation and Project Independence merged, it has been non stop.  Looming budget crisis, moving offices, melding cultures and continuing exemplary services has been trying at times but always interesting.  “We all are so fortunate to have the privilege of working for Project Independence. I love my work and the people I work with.  The agency will be stronger for this process.  TCWF data indicate organizations thrive during leadership sabbaticals.”
The other two awards were CalOptima Special Recognition for Outstanding Health Supports for Underserved Communities  and the Regional Center of Orange County Spotlight Award for support services provider that demonstrates excellence in support to people with
developmental disabilities through the development and/or provision of support services,  that are responsive to the individual’s choice, dignity and quality of life.

Project Independence has been an Orange County fixture for 32 years, providing Independent Living, Day and Behavior Supports and Supported Employment for people with developmental disabilities.  For more information visit

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Project Independence and Vantage Foundation,
both established in 1977 as 501(c)3 nonprofits,
joined forces in 2007. Today, Project
Independence offers comprehensive services
in Orange County, to over 750 people with
developmental disabilities.
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Tags:Awards, Developmental Disabilities, Autism, Costa Mesa, Day Programs, Employment, Social Security, Work, Residential
Industry:Non-profit, Family
Location:Costa Mesa - California - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Oct 25, 2009
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