BECOMING INDEPENDENT

aka BI   |   Santa Rosa, CA   |  www.becomingindependent.org

Mission

"Elevating human abilities for the mutual benefit of our Community."

Notes from the nonprofit

Becoming Independent’s philosophy offers dignity of risk and affords men and women the opportunity to be productive, engaged community members through individualized support plans.

Ruling year info

1980

Chief Executive Officer

Luana Vaetoe

Main address

1455 Corporate Center Parkway

Santa Rosa, CA 95407 USA

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EIN

94-2641147

NTEE code info

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers (P82)

Autism (H84)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Passport to Independence

In the pioneering spirit of the families who founded Becoming Independent, we are proud to offer a specialized program created to better meet the immediate needs of our region’s rapidly expanding population of young adults with autism and autism-like characteristics. Recognition of the need to develop services for adults with autism, the largest growing developmental disability in our nation and region, is reflected by the scope of donors that provided a total of $550,000 in start-up funds. Curriculum development, facility design, acquisition of evidence-based instructional tools, and the creation of a new wing at our Santa Rosa campus was made possible thanks to the following partners: The Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation, the John Jordan Foundation, the Flat Tire Club, Celebrate Community Partnership, Dome Construction, BlackRock, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, and Community Foundation Sonoma County, Healdsburg Area.



For the development of the “Passport to Independence” curriculum, we partnered with Patricia O’Connor, founder of Transition to Life in Canada, one of two promising practices in North America that serve adults with autism. Passport to Independence provides customized and person centered training and education to adults on the autism spectrum to facilitate acquisition, retention and improvement of skills needed to be active members of the community. Individuals accepted into this program will benefit from established goals, direct teaching, hands-on activities, real life application, and homework in order to improve understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and self-care. This customized educational approach seeks to assist individuals to improve life skills, health, education, social interactions, community connectivity, and employment outcomes. We’re actively seeking individuals who are motivated to participate in this pioneering new program.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with intellectual disabilities

Community-based volunteer opportunities, recreational activities, classes and job readiness training are provided through our Life Skills program. Classes are designed to teach skills that are applicable in real-life situations such as budgeting, pedestrian safety and health & wellness. A cooking program that includes beginning, intermediate and advanced classes focuses on healthy meal options utilizing fresh produce from our on-site garden. Partner organizations for community volunteerism include Sonoma County Library, Meals on Wheels, Redwood Empire Food Bank, St Vincent De Paul and Restyle Marketplace. The Life Skills program strives to tailor each person’s day to his or her expressed preferences, interests and goals.

The focus is on building daily living skills in areas including: Socialization and communication, daily living, nutrition, self advocacy, Rights and Responsibilities, disaster preparedness.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with intellectual disabilities

BI realizes that creative expression is an integral part of the human experience. The BI Professional Art Program fulfills this commitment to exploring and developing personal creativity by providing artists with inspiration, instruction, encouragement, and opportunities for exhibitions and sales.

We focus on offering our artists the opportunity to explore multiple mediums for their creative growth. Our classes also include community trips to museums, galleries, and special events to assist in further enrichment of the arts.

Disciplines include: Focused art classes, which include – art history, photography, painting, graphic design, ceramics, animation, and much more, community access to local galleries and events, Artist in Residency opportunities, artist lecture series, art sales, participation in local and national art exhibits.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with intellectual disabilities

Inclusive Community Services (ICS) supports people in a 1:2 ratio to explore interests, passions and desires through inclusive community activities. With a focus on person centered thinking, ICS fosters individual’s choice and self-advocacy skills. Individuals may attend classes in independent living skills, job readiness, career exploration and fostering community partnerships. The goal of the program is to support adults in becoming active participants in their local communities.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with intellectual disabilities

BI provides transportation services for individuals for whom public transportation usage is not feasible due to present skill levels or limited availability in rural Sonoma County.

BI provides daily transportation between individuals’ homes and programs/work settings in fifteen-passenger vans or lift-equipped, wheelchair accessible vans and buses. BI also utilizes a number of trucks, passenger vans and sedans. In between the morning and afternoon routes, the vehicles are made available to Becoming Independent services for transporting individuals to work locations, community activities and out-of-town travel.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with intellectual disabilities

Independent Living Services are provided with the goal of empowering people to exercise as much personal choice and responsibility as possible through the acquisition and retention of independent living skills. Services are provided in the community in a one-on-one setting and are based on an assessment of the individual’s current skills across domains including finances, self-advocacy, housing, etc. in conjunction with one’s personal preferences. Individuals may select training and education in a variety of areas including: Financial management, health and safety, community resources, mobility, personal and social skills.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with intellectual disabilities

These services are grounded in the principles of supported living assuring that they are flexible and person centered. Support is customized to meet the individual’s level of need and can range from weekly meetings, classes and activities to 24/7 support in the home of one’s choosing. Services include: Support groups, recreational and social opportunities, personal care assistance, 24 hour emergency response, instruction and training in all aspects of community living.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with intellectual disabilities

Becoming Independent Supported Employment Services provide individuals with employment preparation, job development, placement, and job coaching in a competitive position in the community. Services include instruction in critical work skills that are needed in competitive employment including: Job seeking skills, work competencies; including communication and interpersonal skills, on the job skill training, destination/travel training, assistance with other support agencies i.e.; Regional Center and Department of Rehabilitation, support in keeping a job, communication with parents, care-providers, and employers.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with intellectual disabilities

Tailored Day Services (TDS) provides one-on-one support to individuals who want to explore their vocational interests and increase their job readiness skills.

Some of the opportunities supported include: Internships, job exploration, micro-enterprise development, education.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with intellectual disabilities

Vocational Services provide paid work on-site and in businesses to individuals interested in a variety of employment opportunities, and who may be working toward competitive and/or full-time employment.

Jobs include: Packaging and assembly, labeling, boxing, sorting, litter abatement, janitorial, mass mailings, shredding, restaurant set-up and prep, and more!

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with intellectual disabilities

Where we work

Accreditations

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) - Employment and Community Services - 3 Year Accreditation 2012

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) - Employment and Community Services - 3 Year Accreditation 2009

Awards

Prestigious Annual Award of Sonoma County 2009

Jefferson Awards

'Nonprofit of the Year' 2011

North Bay Biz Magazine

Certified Green Business 2011

Sonoma Green Business Program

Best Place to Work 2013

North Bay Business Journal

Best Place to Work 2011

North Bay Business Journal

Best Place to Work 2010

North Bay Business Journal

Best Place to Work 2009

North Bay Business Journal

Award of Excellence 2011

e-co-exist

Service Provider of the Year 2010

Mayors' Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities

Healthy Business Leader Award 2010

Northern California Center for Well Being

Certificate of Appreciation for may years of service in keeping the parks and city square clean. 2009

City of Healdsburg

Affiliations & memberships

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member 2014

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member 2013

Chamber of Commerce 2014

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Each of our programs at BI aims to actualize our core beliefs through Person-Centered Thinking, which views the entire person, not just the portion of the person that has identified needs, and engages the individual fully in identifying and achieving their life goals.

Financials

BECOMING INDEPENDENT
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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BECOMING INDEPENDENT

Board of directors
as of 3/25/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

David House

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office

Term: 2021 -


Board co-chair

Joerg Olson

Olson & Olson Insurance Services

Term: 2021 -

Owen Cate

Safeway

Carol Larson

Kaiser Permanente

Sharon Maiolini

Risk Management Services

Bryan Wright

Wright Contracting

Donna Cates

Telecommunications Designs

Bonnie Burrell

GHD Consulting Engineers

Nicholas Dieter

MOC Insurance

Carrie Mauritson

Mauritson Family Winery

Ann Wallace

Jackson Family Wines

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes