Challenge Enterprises of North Florida has for the past 32 years assisted individuals with disabilities and their families. From birth through adulthood, this 501(c)3 nonprofit organization is committed to its mission of assisting individuals with disabilities wherever they may be, and to its philosophy of a Social Entrepreneurial approach to support individuals seeking guidance. This approach has made it possible for the agency to self-generate 81% of its funding through service contracts with federal, state and city government, and private industry. Challenge Enterprises of North Florida serves Clay, Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Putnam and Baker County residents of Florida, and 2002 added the Brunswick, Georgia area. In 2004, 731 children and adults were served in a variety of programs and employment opportunities.
The Clay County Chamber of Commerce named Challenge Enterprises of North Florida 2004 Industry of the Year for Business Services. Challenged Enterprises of North Florida was recognized for substantial growth during the past five years, increasing the annual wages by 170%, the number of employees by 150%, and the annual revenue by over 140%. Challenge Enterprises of North Florida’s innovative training program was recognized for providing task analysis to fit individuals with job requirements which enables the individuals with severe disabilities to become more self-sufficient, productive locations through the area: NAS Jacksonville commissary, Mayport Naval Shipyard Commissary, NAS Jax NAVAIR, Federal Courthouse (Jax) IRS Mailroom (Jax), FLECT in Brunswick, GA, Iluka Resources (Australian mining company), Village Mall, and soon the new Charles E. Bennett Building (Jax).
Challenge Enterprises of North Florida and its 115 partners provide assistance from birth through adulthood; 13 governmental agencies, 16 production partners, 22 social /fraternal religious organizations, 13 educational institutions, 41 commercial/business/ professionals, 4 foundations, and 6 construction professionals. All these partnerships help children say their first words, take their first steps, and read their first book at their preschool center. Families receive caring support from trained staff, therapists, and counselors. Adults begin the rest of their lives in supportive settings where they learn to accept new responsibilities, earn their first paycheck, proudly wear a work uniform, clock in and out, experience their first community job, and even purchase a house. They participate in religious and social organizations and become valued members of their community.