History

Lifehouse was incorporated in Marin County in 1954 by a group of parents who wanted an educational program for their children with developmental disabilities. At that time there were no special education programs and children with special needs were at a loss for receiving educational services that met their unique requirements. With the help of visionary leaders at Dominican University and collaboration with Marin County Office of Education, the parents created a preschool, and later a kindergarten that eventually grew into an excellent special education program managed by the Marin County Office of Education. As long-time Lifehouse clients began to reach adulthood, our programs evolved to serve the needs of adults with developmental disabilities. Some of our clients have been with us since pre-school!

Read more about one of Lifehouse’s founders, Dr. Daniel Collins, who also played a pivotal role in advancing civil rights and establishing the Lanterman’s Act.

Historical Timeline

1954

  • Lifehouse (MARC) is founded.

  • 1956

  • Lifehouse opens its first special education program in Marin.

  • 1968

  • Employment program gains independence from Lifehouse to become Marin Community Workshop, now known as NBI North Bay Industries.

  • 1969

  • Big R, an out-of-home respite program, opens.

  • 1970

  • Lifehouse (MARC) is founded.

  • 1972

  • Lifehouse hires its first Executive Director through grant.

  • 1973

  • Joint venture of Lifehouse and ARC-SF starts Thrift Town household pick-up program.

  • 1975

  • First group home for severely physically and developmentally disabled adults opens.

  • 1981

  • Community Living Program is initiated.

  • First independent living home opens in San Anselmo.

  • Twelve residents move to Del Ganado Apartment Complex built especially for individuals with developmental disabilities.

  • 1990

  • First Great Chefs of Marin fundraiser is held.

  • 1992

  • Hamilton and Nova houses open, partially funded through HUD.

  • Lifehouse starts Marin Coalition to promote more affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities.

  • 1993

  • Community-wide needs survey is conducted.

  • 1994

  • Model Supported Living Program opens at Lark Circle in Novato.

  • 1999

  • Community living services started in Sonoma County.

  • 2002

  • Lifehouse starts Housing Coalition to promote more affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities.

  • 2003

  • New Supported Living Program opens for Seniors.

  • 2004

  • Supported Living Program opens in Hamilton Fields in Novato.

  • Organization name changes from MARC to Lifehouse.

  • 2006

  • Board of Directors and management complete Strategic Plan.

  • New focus on autism and teens

  • New on-site supported Living Program with affordable housing opens at Hamilton Fields.

  • 2007

  • Lifehouse organizes Marin Autism Collaborative.

  • Lifehouse and the Marin Coalition develop Teen Recreation Integration Program (TRIP).

  • Opened a second Lifehouse office at 6050 Commerce Boulevard in Rohnert Park.

  • 2009

  • New automated payroll and accounting system is implemented.

  • 2010

  • Great Chefs of Marin has been renamed Great Chefs & Wineries, to recognize the exemplary wineries involved in the event.

  • 20th Anniversary of Great Chefs and Wineries fundraiser.

  • Expanded the Supported Living Program to accommodate individuals requiring medical support.

  • 2011

  • Board of Directors and management complete Strategic Plan.

  • Restructured Montecillo Program to meet the changing needs of the people we support.

  • Satisfaction survey of people we serve, families, and community agencies completed.

  • 2012

  • Restructured Corte Madera Program to meet the increasing needs for Autism Spectrum services.

  • Began serving individuals with autism at Sweetwater Spectrum.

  • Relocated main office to 899 Northgate Drive, San Rafael, to accommodate agency growth.

  • Collaboration with Marin Community Foundation focused on development.

  • 2013

  • Renamed Fairfax House to Comito House in honor of Miriam Comito.

  • 2014

  • Lifehouse celebrates 60 years of service to our community!