About Us

Get to Know Us


The Exceptional Foundation

A special place for those with special needs

The Exceptional Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was established in 1993 to serve individuals with special needs in the Greater Birmingham area by targeting social and recreational objectives not met by educational institutions or the community at large. Initially, a small group of individuals with special needs were organized to meet on a daily basis at a Homewood Parks and Recreation facility. 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 an addition to the existing facility in order to meet rising program enrollment numbers. In 2014, The Exceptional Foundation launched its third capital campaign to fund its Jay Harbert Youth Center, expanding our building to 32,235 square feet and allowing us to further increase our youth enrollment numbers.

The Exceptional Foundation currently serves over 700 individuals with special needs annually. We provide year round social and recreational services for individuals ranging in age from 5 to 81. 

We serve as the model organization for other Exceptional Foundations throughout the southeast. There are currently Exceptional Foundations located in Atlanta, Charlotte, East Alabama, and the Gulf Coast. These organizations are required to meet our standard operating procedures. Additionally, we act as a consultant to other groups across the country.

How did we get here?


the evolution of the

Exceptional Foundation



The Exceptional Foundation was founded and began to meet in space provided by Homewood Parks and Recreation.


Independent building established in Homewood consisting of a gym and small staff office space.


First Annual Chili Cook-Off Fundraiser


The first addition to our Homewood building allowing The Exceptional Foundation to increase enrollment numbers.


The Exceptional Foundation of the Gulf Coast established


The Exceptional Foundation of Atlanta established


First Dinnertainment Fundraiser


The Exceptional Foundation of Charlotte established


Building addition of The Jay Harbert Youth Center expanding our building to 32,235 square feet, The Exceptional Foundation of East Alabama established


The Exceptional Foundation of Auburn established


Continued expansion of youth and adult programming