The Exceptional Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was established in 1993 to serve mentally and physically challenged individuals in the Greater Birmingham, Alabama area by targeting social and recreational objectives not met by educational institutions or the community at large. Initially, a small group of mentally challenged individuals were organized to meet on a daily basis at Homewood Park and Recreation. A capital campaign in 1999 allowed The Exceptional Foundation to build its own 12,000 square foot recreational and administrative facility adjacent to the previous location at Homewood Park. An essential second capital campaign was launched in 2006 to fund a 12,000 square foot addition to the existing facility in order to meet rising program enrollment numbers.
The Exceptional Foundation provides year-round services to individuals with special needs who have reached the age of 21 and no longer receive services from school systems. Programs are also offered to the school-age exceptional population through after-school activities and a summer camp. Daily programs include field trip outings, competitive sports teams and various social events. The overall daily goals of The Exceptional Foundation are to enhance the lives of its participants through a variety of activities and to provide a community for the mentally challenged population and their families. The Exceptional Foundation currently serves over 400 individuals in Greater Birmingham through its various programs throughout the year.
In 2009, The Exceptional Foundation was contacted by a group in Memphis, Tennessee seeking assistance in modeling the programs offered in Birmingham for the exceptional population in their community. After establishing a second location in Memphis, interest immediately sparked in other cities such as Fairhope, Alabama and Indianapolis, Indiana, among others. Due to overwhelming interest from other communities and The Exceptional Foundation’s desire to expand its services across the country, The National Exceptional Foundation, with it’s own 501(c)(3) status, was established in 2011 to assist with the development of additional locations. Our hope is that all mentally and physically challenged individuals will one day have the opportunity to attend an Exceptional Foundation in their own community.