Human Services

Friendship Community

Impacting the World with Capabilities

aka Friendship Ministries

Lititz, PA


Friendship Community is a Christian ministry cultivating capabilities of Individuals with Intellectual Disability and Autism in south central Pennsylvania since 1972. Our Vision is "Impacting the World with Capabilities". Friendship Community provides residential settings and support services for Individuals, who with their families, desire a Christian program. Friendship Community offers a variety of services - including day programs, self-advocacy, job and vocational skills training, community integration and much more. Meaningful activities are planned to provide stimulation for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of each person.

Ruling Year



Gwen Schuit

Main Address

1149 E Oregon Rd

Lititz, PA 17543 USA


intellectual disability, intellectual disabilities, autism, developmental disabilities, human services, provider autism, non-profit, advocacy, ministry, artists with disabilities, lancaster, pennsylvania, lebanon, christian





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Visual Arts Organizations (A40)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Workforce crisis, aging in place and the high needs of care and support are the three major issues the Intellectual Disability/Autism (ID/A) industry and Friendship Community (FC) are facing. FC provides accessible homes, home care and day programs. The Professional Support Team assists with activities of daily living and fosters independence and abilities. State regulations and excessive documentation create unnecessary burdens and distractions for staff. Funding has limited wage increases over the last 10 years, which has caused extreme turnover in Direct Support Professionals; therefore, we actively advocate for higher wages, since we are Medicaid dependent. Through organized rallies, educational meetings, active partnerships with Chambers of Commerce and businesses, County and State Associations and fellow Providers, FC strives to address the lack of resources, community integrated opportunities and relationships to support this ID/A population appropriately.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Residential Services

Home Based Services

Friendship Heart Gallery

Lifesharing Services

Meaningful Day Academy

Spiritual Nurture

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of clients served

Population(s) served

People with intellectual disabilities

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context notes

Total number of Individuals with Intellectual Disability and Autism served in Residential Services, Meaningful Day Academy, Friendship Heart Gallery & Studio, Home Based Services, and Lifesharing

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

FC aims to accomplish a stable workforce, fiscal strength to endure the volatile funding environment and competence to provide necessary life care services to those with ID/A. FC identifies annual goals according to strategic planning related to the current environmental scan. Currently, the goals are: 1. Nurture a R.I.S.E. Culture (Values - Relationships, Integrity, Spirituality, and Excellence) 2. Diversify Income Streams 3. Strengthen Financial Performance 4. Establish Proactive Strategies for Future Expansion/Growth

FC promotes a culture of Respect, Communication, Collaboration & Competence. We strive to incorporate these 4 pillars in all communication & operations throughout FC and when representing FC in the greater community. Professional Development Plans, which incorporate these pillars, are utilized for every Team Member in order to promote professional & personal growth. Learning Enhancement (training), Mentoring, Coaching, various Team Building efforts, Fiscal Audits, Donor Transparency, etc...promote FC's strategies for best practices & positive outcomes for Team Members & ID/A Participants alike. Legislative advocacy & education is ongoing. Integration & education with community partners enhances awareness & engagement. The organization strives to be an innovative leader positioning FC for sustainability & growth into the future. An example is the Friendship Heart Gallery, located in the Lancaster Art District, which has grown from 6 to 77 Artists, within the last 10 years.

The experienced & committed Executive & Leadership Teams, in conjunction with the Board, strive to perpetuate the established strategies throughout FC. Through careful selection of Team Leaders & Members, who are communicative, committed & flexible, training focuses on their development towards purposeful competence. FC is continually seeking creative ways to recruit and retain incredible Team Members. The Team networks with appropriate community resources in order to accomplish this goal. FC has committed capital in focused areas in order to accomplish the established goals, such as, adding key positions in Operations, HR & Finance departments, as well as through Quality Council, Safety, Risk & Finance Committees, Corporate Compliance, Contentment Surveys and Exit Interviews & the ongoing monitoring of schedules & workload. Legislative advocacy & education is an imperative accomplished through State and Local Associations, FC & other grassroots advocacy efforts.

FC has established organization-wide indicators that are monitored on a weekly, monthly, quarterly & annual basis. These results are discussed with the Team & the Board. Targets are set & compared to actual results regularly in case readjustments or other action plans are necessary. One of the strategic indicators is turnover statistics, which are tracked to determine necessary adjustments in recruitment/retention efforts. Additionally, feedback is provided through various means of communication to augment the process indicator. All fiscal indicators are monitored frequently in order to make wise adjustments for organizational stability; cash-on-hand, Line-of-credit balance, reserves, census, balance sheet to name a few. FC monitors legislative bills regarding ID/A issues. Budgetary adjustments and votes indicate are the effectiveness of advocacy efforts.

The liquidation of assets (3 personal care homes & The Old Mill Apartments) that caused financial stress to the organization occurred since 2014. The ongoing process of culture change and transformational thinking began in 2014. Collaboration, respect & communication, within the realm of all Leadership & Management Teams, is evident. Ongoing efforts to promote these goals, among the DSPs and Administrative staff are practiced daily. A restructuring of the Operations Team enabled promotions, which increased development of leaders with grassroots knowledge & experiential input, greater accountability & promoted career ladder movement within the organization. FC implemented an empowerment practice to promote greater efficiencies, while reducing costs. FC implemented Team Member retention strategies, which include flexible scheduling, a small loan program, a robust benefit package with options and a matching retirement investment option, to name a few.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

Chamber of Commerce 2016



Friendship Community

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

nothing listed, unknown

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity