Who we are ...

SCARC, Inc. is a private, non-profit, charitable (501(c )(3)) corporation that has been providing services in Sumter County for people with developmental disabilities since 1974. Its mission is to provide services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities to maximize inclusion, acceptance and independence in community settings.

Donate today SCARC, Inc. has enjoyed a tremendous level of community support. At one time in the not-too-distant past, over 50% of the annual operational funding came from public donations. The United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties is a primary contributor and its annual allocations have helped SCARC, Inc. to grow and expand.

In recent years, to meet the growing and diverse needs of people with developmental disabilities, the SCARC, Inc. has expanded its scope to provide residential services to 8 people in two, new, state-of-the art group homes, Independent Living Coaching services that assist 8 individuals to live independently in the community in their own homes, and provides a variety of personal care assistance, homemaker and companion services supporting individuals with developmental disabilities to remain in family living.

In 1999, the SCARC, Inc. Board of Directors raised over $150,000 in cash and in-kind services to construct a group home. At that time there were no group homes in Sumter County. If a person was in need of group home services, then that person had to leave the county. That was changed for four non-ambulatory people with developmental disabilities when a brand new group home built in Bushnell opened in July 2000. In 2001, the SCARC, Inc. Board of Directors, responding to the continued need for housing for people with developmental disabilities, accepted a $100,000 grant from the Sumter County Housing Department State Housing Initiatives (SHIP), a grant from the Sparkman Foundation and a grant from the Jacobsen Foundation to construct another home in Bushnell. On June 27, 2002, four men with developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges moved into their home.

Since 1977, SCARC, Inc. has operated a day training program to help people with developmental disabilities live productive lives as members of the community. Currently the day training program serves 41 people, 5 individuals are non-ambulatory. Since the program opened, the administration and day training programs have been housed in a building leased from the Sumter County School Board for $1.00 per year. The WPA built the building in the 1930s. Though a sturdy building, it is old and in need of major renovation. With the growth in recent years, the program is out of space in the building. Perhaps the greatest problem of all is that the building is not fully wheelchair accessible and this presents a major challenge to serving non-ambulatory individuals. The best possible renovations have been made to make it as accommodating as possible to the individuals in wheelchairs who currently attend the program daily. But it is not enough.

For years, a long-range goal has been to construct a new, state-of-the-art building to house the day training program and the administrative offices. The vision is to construct not only a new building, but also to transform the surrounding acreage into a fully accessible, recreational and sports facility for individuals with developmental disabilities. The first step toward that lofty goal was accomplished in November of 2001 when the SCARC, Inc. Board of Directors signed the documents to purchase 7-acres of property along east Belt Avenue (just off highway 301) in Bushnell for $110,000. The property has been annexed into the City of Bushnell with suitable zoning. In early 2005, a bequeath was received from the Cardosi Estate in sufficient amount to pay off the mortgage on the property. Nick Jones, an architect from Clermont, volunteered his time to develop the basic plans for the building and property. The building will be engineered to meet the shelter standards because there are no hurricane shelters in the Bushnell area. The proposed plans were presented to the Sumter County Legislative Delegation with the idea of finding funding sources through state and federal emergency management agencies.

Unfortunately a continued decline in state funding for operating expenses beginning November 1, 2003 has severely challenged the organization’s financial stability and has forced the Board of Directors to redirect fundraising projects from the capital campaign to supplementing operating expenses to maintain current programs. On a brighter note, the organization was awarded on April 18, 2008, a Department of Transportation Section 5310 Capital Project to replace its 4 aging conversion vans with 4 new, larger capacity 23’ buses with wheelchair lifts. The $320,000 project will be financed by 80% federal dollars, 10% state dollar and a 10% local match.