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AbilityFirst Capital Campaign

For the Lawrence L. Frank Center and Long Beach Center

The needs and desires of individuals with developmental disabilities are growing and changing rapidly. AbilityFirst is ready for the challenge.

AbilityFirst aspires for our participants to have the fullest access possible to the community and, for many, that journey begins at an AbilityFirst center. The AbilityFirst Lawrence L. Frank and Long Beach Centers provide critical site-based instruction to enhance our important integration activities that occur in the community. AbilityFirst helps our participants achieve their personal best in the following areas: basic life skills, communication, socialization and healthy living.

Founded in 1926 as the Crippled Children’s Society of Southern California, AbilityFirst pioneered some of the very first community services for children with disabilities. As societal changes occur, so do our programs to better support people with developmental disabilities. Today, all programs focus on the unique needs and desires of each individual through a person centered approach.

The AbilityFirst Lawrence L. Frank Center in Pasadena and the Long Beach Center were opened more than 50 years ago. A lot has changed since then and now our buildings must change to meet the needs today.


From 2016 to 2017 the number of children and adults with developmental disabilities needing services within the Pasadena and Long Beach communities, increased by 1,000 people, or approximately 9%. And, 66% of these same people are between the ages of 6 and 51 years old—the target age for AbilityFirst programs. With this Capital Campaign, we are ready to meet this need.


PossAbility: In this newly launched program, adults are fully supported in the community. Each individual works with a support team to identify community-based activities that build on his or her skills and aspirations.

ExploreAbility: This program in Pasadena is patterned after our successful model in Long Beach. Our goal is to help adults explore and identify what is important to them, to develop the skills necessary to achieve their goals and to be involved in their communities through volunteering and other community activities.

After-School Program: Both centers offer the only After-School (and school break) program in their local community specifically designed for those aged 6 to 22 with moderate to severe developmental disabilities. Approximately 40 children, teens and young adults attend each program daily, with a combined total enrollment of 120+ at both locations.

College to Career: Our other new program in Pasadena (with plans to expand in Long Beach) is College to Career, offered in partnership with Pasadena City College. This community-based, multi-year program is for students who want to go to college and gain the skills, education and training they need to achieve their academic and career goals.

Supported Employment: This program provides our participants the appropriate, ongoing support that is necessary for success in a competitive work environment. We currently serve 54 people in Long Beach and 296 in Pasadena and the need is much greater.


Through planned renovations and programmatic changes, the Lawrence L. Frank Center will become our Pasadena “flagship” location and the Long Beach Center will become our South Bay “flagship” location for our expanding programs and services. Left unchanged, the facilities will continue to hinder our ability to modernize and enhance our programs. Specifically, we have identified several urgently needed improvements for our centers.

  1. Create a “teaching kitchen”—a hub where participants will gain valuable cooking and safety skills when navigating the kitchen. The teaching kitchen will combine basic culinary instruction and nutrition education with personal choice; participants can learn which foods they enjoy, what they should eat more of, or less of, and why. They will learn hands-on cooking techniques necessary to prepare delicious, easy to make, nutritious recipes with new technology and state-of-the-art appliances geared towards a safe teaching and learning environment.
  2. Add more office space for College to Career —by having educational coaches and educational navigators help students transition to college on-site making it easily accessible to participants and their families as the important transition from high school to adult life occurs, we can better support our participants in giving them the fullest access to their community possible.
  3. Enhance outdoor program area to include multi-use and gathering areas, accessible paths, raised planting beds and an area for a community garden.
  4. Install energy efficient updates such as LED lighting.

Please click here to download the Capital Campaign Packet with additional details including individual renovation plans for each center, naming opportunities and ways to give or contact
AbilityFirst CDO Lauren Rayner at  or 626-243-4844.

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