In October 1972, the Charter Members who formed what would become Challenge Enterprises wanted to establish a nonprofit agency to serve adults with various abilities. Looking back over the decades, the original Charter Members still report how amazed and pleased they are with the variety of personal success and how generously the community has supported the mission. At 90 years of age founding charter member, Ruth Young Johnson commented, “I’m just amazed all the time. The men and women do so many things and love their jobs and friends.”
Challenge Enterprises of North Florida, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization that provides different levels of adult training, residential services, employment, and career opportunities for individuals with different abilities. Funding for these programs comes from various sources including but not limited to the State Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Clay County, corporate and community partnerships, foundations, grants, and generous donors from around the United States.
The agency’s support programs are available to guide individuals with intellectual, physical, mental, and developmental disabilities, while staff assists families in navigating Florida’s eligibility for services.
50 years ago, it all started with a bit of bowling and ceramics. Today, over 250 individuals have found the power of employment and greater independence through the person-centered programs of Challenge Enterprises.
Hurricane Ian interrupted plans to host the Golden Anniversary celebration in October of 2022, but a little rain never gets in the way of an agency with a mission. The Golden Anniversary party was rescheduled for January 21, 2023, and hosted at Main Event Jacksonville. Over 400 guests enjoyed bowling, virtual reality, video games, laser tag, billiards, shuffleboard, yard games, photo ops, and BBQ. To add a little extra sparkle to the party, a few special guests joined in on the fun including Miss Florida 2022 Lindsay Bettis, Miss Florida’s Outstanding Teen 2022 Aashna Shah, Ms. Wheelchair Florida USA Teona Haugabook, and News for Jax River City Live Host Rance Adams. Every employee was given a special gift from the agency in appreciation of their service and dedication to the mission.
“What a fantastic journey, creating opportunities for friendships, learning new skills, getting that first job, purchasing a home, and celebrating those who have retired with us along the way. WOW! What a privilege to have paved the pathway on their life’s journey. Challenge Enterprises has significantly impacted lives that enrich the entire community, “states CEO Nancy C. Keating.