About Strenghtening the Connection

Spectrum360 is facing a familiar challenge: the need to expand the scope of our services to meet the needs of the increasing population of adults with autism and related disabilities.  Our Capital Campaign, Strengthening the Connection, will fund an enlarged Independence360 facility. We need generous investors who understand and promote the value of all individuals in our society to help programs like ours foster competency and potential. Our current facility is full and without this expansion, graduates of our educational program and other adults in the community will languish at home without any programs or services. Currently, there are no state or federal funds available to secure and renovate a facility, or acquire needed equipment, materials, and vans. 

Creating an adult program became a moral imperative. We found that many of our graduates, as well as other adults on the spectrum, remained isolated and regressing at home, due to the dearth of appropriate programs and the lack of public funding to develop programs. 

To address this need, in 2012, we opened The Center for Independence, now known as Independence360. In 2016, due to our growing adult population, we acquired a separate facility in Whippany, approved by the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities, to initiate a day habilitation program to help our adults develop life, social and prevocational skills. To provide employment placement and support, Independence360 also gained approval from the NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. WIthin the past three years, the need for services has steadily increased.

While children with autism eventually age out of educational services, adults never age out of the need for continued services. As a result, there is now a greater demand for Independence360 services than our present location can accommodate. It is extremely difficult to turn away adults who have no place else to go.  

As a result, we must raise $738,000 to make the expansion of our current facility a reality. This addition will allow us to ease the current overcrowding at Independence360, accept more clients, and increase and expand the services we offer. We cannot succeed in making this growth a reality without significant support from our Spectrum360 family and the community at large. Enlarging our location will help meet this growing need. Additional space will allow us to add increased vocational training opportunities, expand cafeteria space, provide up-to-date technology, and transportation support. It also will increase space in work rooms and social areas to accommodate more adults.

The right program for adults on the autism spectrum helps them do more than just avoid the disconnect. It helps them flourish, become productive adults, successfully join the larger community, and develop a sense of self-worth.  It creates vocational, social, and recreational opportunities by building community awareness of what adults on the autism spectrum can contribute. It prepares these adults by developing their social skills, facilitating their vocational opportunities, supporting their personal development in the community setting, and creating a network that sustains itself.

In the next 5 years, we project that over 100 adults from our educational programs alone will need continued services at Independence360. And this projection does not include other adults with autism in the general community. A new enlarged Independence360 will help meet this growing need.

Partner with us to make Strengthening the Connection a reality and open our doors to adults with autism who critically need the program and who would otherwise have little opportunity to reach their full potential as members of the community.

Budget for Expansion

Leasehold Improvements $400,000
Technology (wiring, computers, phone system) $75,000
Security $8,000
Furniture $55,000
Vehicles (2 Vans) $60,000
Legal Services $30,000
Architect $15,000
Engineer/Planner $5,000
Township Fees $10,000
Marketing $10,000
Development $10,000
Contingency $60,000
Total $738,000