In 1937, Edith and Wendell Foster’s infant daughter, Louise, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities. Because of Louise, the Fosters committed their lives and opened their home to support children with developmental disabilities.
Drafted in World War II, Wendell Foster served as a cook in a military hospital. He used the opportunity to learn from the medical staff who were engaged in the rehabilitation of physically disabled soldiers. Following the war, Mr. Foster approached his fellow veterans in Daviess County to help fund a home and school for children with disabilities.
At that time,programs such as special education were not available. In response to this lack of services, the Fosters provided a residential option to the children of seven local families. They also offered their home as a meeting place for families while their children received physical and occupational therapy in the Foster’s backyard and day services in their dining room. In 1947, a volunteer board of directors incorporated the agency, adopted a charter and by-laws, and officially founded the organization now known as Wendell Foster, named in honor of its founder.
Wendell Foster is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation currently governed by a 22-member board of directors. Now in its seventy-first year of operation, Wendell Foster has evolved into a community based organization providing services on-site, in people’s homes, in some of the area school systems, and in community settings. Our guiding mission is to provide individualized supports and services, empowering people with disabilities to realize their dreams and potential.