Submitted by: Linda Chandler, CEO
1. What is your mission and vision?
Linden Resources, Inc., founded in 1959 by parents of adult children with disabilities, is a northern Virginia non-profit organization and social entrepreneur whose mission is to increase employment for veterans and people with disabilities. Our vision is that all people with disabilities have meaningful opportunities for employment. Our values are dignity, service excellence, an atmosphere of continuous learning, determination, collaboration, and stewardship of resources.
2. How does your organization achieve its goal?
Our mission of placing or employing people with disabilities has been exceeded each of the past 3 years by increasing those employed over 35% from the previous year. We excel at placing clients in companies throughout the Greater Washington Metropolitan region. Our success includes support services to the company and its newly hired employee that increase the success of the employment. In addition, Linden offers employment by being an entrepreneur, operating 16 AbilityOne Federal contracts and four commercial businesses (secure document destruction, document conversion, printing services, and warehouse and fulfillment).
3. How have your programs directly impacted the regional community?
Despite a difficult economy, we have placed or employed more than 450 veterans and people with disabilities annually for the past several years. Most of these individuals reside in Northern Virginia, particularly Fairfax County. The number of persons served will double when we launch a new program this July, Fathers Forward, an initiative that is designed to employ low-income or unemployed fathers while strengthening positive parenting skills. In 2007, as a response to the increasing number of disabled veterans returning from active duty in the Middle East, Linden tailored its traditional placement services to form Vets Ready2Work, which helps veterans find and retain community jobs. The issue in our area has an even more heightened urgency because Virginia is one of only three states with an expected increase in its population of working-age veterans in the next few years, thousands of whom have service-connected disabilities. The impact of Linden’s veterans program has been significant because it is one of the few that focuses primarily on on-going support to the employer and employee so it is a long term “win” for all.
4. What inspires or drives your team to stay committed to your vision?
We believe employment is the key to self-esteem and self-sufficiency. We believe that every individual deserves the opportunity to find meaningful work. We know that employed veterans and people with disabilities always exceed the expectations of their employers. We experience these achievements each day and we are awed.
5. What advice would you give to other nonprofits trying to make an impact in their community?
Impact begins with the mission. Make your mission central to every plan, action and outcome. Ask your stakeholders to do the same! Celebrate the impact.
Website URL: www.linden.org