Wendell Foster has played an integral role in the tri-state area since its inception in 1947. The nonprofit serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and celebrated its 75th anniversary this past Saturday.
Wendell and Edith Foster founded the organization to serve their daughter Louise who had cerebral palsy. Current CEO Doug Hoyt said the Fosters laid an unbelievable foundation and set a precedent of service and inclusivity.
“Those two people came together and said, ‘what can we do to better serve people with disabilities,’” Hoyt said. “They went door-to-door and found six other families with children with disabilities and began offering services at 815 Triplett, where we still operate today.”
The organization has evolved and expanded drastically over the years, providing physical, occupational, and speech therapy to over 1,000 individuals each year. They also offer a residential campus that more than 100 clients call home and provide transportation services with a fleet of more than 22 vehicles.
The programs don’t stop there, as the nonprofit also boasts a day-training facility and an in-school education program. Both programs aim to teach clients work-related and functional skills.
“In 2021, we provided over 65,000 services to individuals with disabilities,” Hoyt said. “What we do reaches different family members in various ways; that makes us unique. We’re constantly helping our clients to overcome obstacles and achieve their ‘yes’ moments.”
“Yes” moments serve as an ongoing theme for the organization as they are constantly searching and striving for monumental milestones. Hoyt said “Yes” moments differ for individuals and that Wendell Foster has been helping people achieve their “Yes” moments for 75 years.
“Everyone has those ‘aha’ moments – it could be any number of things,” he said. “For some, it’s learning to speak or walk, or maybe it’s learning how to tell your mom, ‘I love you.’”
Like many other employers, Wendell Foster is hiring for 40 vacancies that vary in responsibilities. Hoyt said they are the 10th-largest employer in Daviess County and that their reach extends beyond the individuals they serve, with 370 people earning a paycheck to provide for their families.
The organization celebrated on Saturday with its largest annual fundraiser: an auction and dinner. Hoyt attributes the nonprofit’s longstanding success to their commitment to the Foster’s mission.
“We’ve kept our focus and dedication and not strayed away from our original purpose,” he said. “We’ve maintained our focus on empowering people with disabilities. It’s that simple. Were we not successful in keeping our on that mission, any success we’ve experienced would be short-lived.”
For more information about Wendell Foster, visit their website here.
“We want more people to engage with us,” Hoyt said. “Come and take a tour and let us show you what we do. You will soon develop the same passion that we have.”
The Chamber Member of the Week program is a membership benefit of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce. Founded in 1913, the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce has worked for over a century to provide valuable benefits and services to member businesses and individuals.
Today, with a membership base of nearly 1,000, the Chamber is a guiding force in community and business development initiatives, serving as the center of business advocacy for the Greater Owensboro region.
To learn more about becoming the Chamber Member of the Week or inquire about Chamber membership, contact Shelly Nichols, Chamber Vice President, at 270-926-1860 or [email protected]