Barbara Olson Center of Hope (Rockford, IL)


  • Name:Carm Herman

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Barbara Olson Center of Hope
  • Address:3206 N. Central Avenue
    Rockford, IL 61101
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:815-964-9275
  • Main fax:815-964-9388

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Help individuals with developmental disabilities reach personal goals, through individualized skill development, vocational opportunities, and community services.

  • Overview:
  • The Barbara Olson Center of Hope provides daily developmental training services for teens through young adults and all the way through life for people with developmental disabilities. To be eligible for participation and services at our center, a person must have a diagnosis of mental retardation. Most of our participants have additional disabilities. These are most often disabilities which they were born with, though some may be due to accidents which occurred before they attained 21 years of age. These most vulnerable citizens did not cause their disability, yet they are often ignored, overlooked and even shunned because they may not look or act "like a normal person". Thankfully, laws enacted in the 1970's require that school districts include and try to educate these children. But in Illinois, for example, the day they turn 22 years old, they "graduate" and usually have nowhere to go. They start to lose the skills they learned in school: education, socialization, daily-living skills, and the companionship of their age group. Staying at home they may sit in front of a TV all day, and their parent(s) may have to decrease hours or quit work to be with them. The Center of Hope provides for many of these needs with structured care, activities, classes and outings, possible paid work in a sheltered environment and very importantly: peer interactions. Participants have a renewed feeling of self-worth and independence by attending the Center. Each participant has an individualized set of goals determined by the participant & family which are monitored and recorded throughout their entire period here. The Center is not a depressing facility. On the contrary, most guests who tour our site are surprised by how happy the participants and staff here are. I have often said that there are not many places of employment that can inspire you on any given day to be the best you can be. The participants at the Center not only inspire us, they move us to do everything in our power to make their dreams come true. They teach us to look at their abilities and not focus on what can't be done, but rather to find the right supports needed for each individual person to reach his or her goals, his or her dreams. Yes, people with disabilities have dreams, just like you and me. The Center of Hope has helped develop a local network of other providers of disability services which is working collaboratively to find other current best practices for teens and adults with disabilities.

  • History:
  • The Barbara Olson Center of Hope is a Not for Profit 501(c)3 corporation. The Rockford Parents Group originally started the School of Hope in 1948 to provide education for children who were not considered able to learn due to disabilities such as mental retardation. Laws in the 1970's requiring public schools to provide an education for ALL children, including special needs children, allowed the School to alter its services to providing developmental and vocational training for people age 16 and above with developmental and other disabilities, resulting in their ability to function as closely as possible to the general population, at home, at work and at leisure. Renamed the Barbara Olson Center of Hope in the 1980's to better identify this change towards vocational opportunities and employment for teens and adults, it also honored Mrs. Olson who spearheaded the organization and was the first president. The Center of Hope is one of only a few Developmental Training Programs in Northern Illinois which offers a variety of services to people with severe disabilities. The Center's services have evolved to include an Occupational Therapy Clinic for adults with developmental disabilities; a free Disabilities Lending Library for the community to borrow books and specialized equipment to try before they purchase from vendors; a Volunteer Center whose participants travel to various other non-profit organizations to help out (such as Meals on Wheels deliveries, repackaging food for distribution at the Boone County and Rockford Food Pantries, etc.) The Center of Hope has a Sensory program which offers participants with autistic and sensory tendencies a structured environment with specialized sensory therapy and training. The structured and comprehensive Vocational Development Program includes activities in the multi-sensory room, Range of Motion, a positioning equipment room enabling individuals to get out of wheel-chairs for part of the day, and cooking, hygiene and classroom instruction to name a few. We also have several in-house businesses which were created to help increase revenue to sustain the Center. A grant from the IL Dept of Commerce & Economic Opportunities enabled the Center to buy equipment for Super Shredders, our off-site confidential document destruction and recycling service. This business provides revenue for the Center, paid work for participants, identity security for many local businesses, and reduces landfill waste (i.e. in 2007 , 142.7 TONS! of paper were shredded, then recycled by our business). Hope Industries is another business at the Center: providing labor solutions such as packaging, assembly, inspecting, counting and sorting to name a few. Moments Remembered is a service that handcrafts specialty dried floral arrangements, wreaths and shadow boxes for memorable occasions with your flowers from a special occasion. One of the newest businesses began as a participant -driven project. GourMutts are handmade, flavored dog treats. Participants are involved in the entire process of shopping for ingredients, measuring, mixing, baking and packaging these dog treats. Several local animal hospitals/clinics and other businesses sell these treats at their locations. The Center of Hope was the 2008 recipient of the Rockford Register Star's (city newspaper) annual Excelsior Award for outstanding contributions in the community. In 2009, at the completion of the 3-year accrediting survey, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) gave the Center the following Exemplary Awarding: “The organization has developed a creative, evidence-based effective program for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The equipment used, the techniques employed and the highly qualified staff members serve to make this an exemplary program of the highest level and perhaps, a model for the industry. The program reaches out to the community, to assist in eliminating attitudinal barriers and creating positive awareness of the life of men and women with autism.” In 2012, the Center received the annual Crusader Clinic's Spirit of Caring Award for an organization's outstanding efforts to care for others in the community. The Center currently serves approximately 200 participants.

  • Year established:1948
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:14
  • Advisory board size:
  • Staff size:71


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:None
  • Tax ID:36-2212474

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:362212474
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:
  • Organization Address:3206 N CENTRAL AVE
  • Organization City:ROCKFORD
  • Organization State:IL
  • Organization Zip:61101-1756
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1, 2
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization, Educational Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:June, 1958
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:11
  • Foundation Code Desc.:School 170(b)(1)(A)(ii)
  • Activity Code(s):059, 927, 160
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):Other school related activities, Fundraising, Aid to the handicapped (see also 031)
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:June, 2017
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:June
  • NTEE Code:P82Z
  • Asset Amount:$6,247,654
  • Asset Code:7 ($5,000,000 - $9,999,999)
  • Income Amount:$3,413,856
  • Income Code:6 ($1,000,000 - $4,999,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$2,501,857
  • Last Updated:3/23/2018 4:10:30 am

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.