PI Walk 2020 Sponsor
A Special Thank you

Project Independence helps people with developmental
disabilities find jobs, develop friendships, and live independently.


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Core Programs

Find our more about our Independent Living, Supported Employment, and Day Programs


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Eric’s Story

Eric worked for California Assemblyman Alan Monsoor’s office as an office clerk from 5/13 to 9/13.  While working for Assemblyman Monsoor, Eric provided valuable data entry skills by working quickly to keep up with the high demand of the job. When a data clerk position opened at Project Independence in September, 2015, we knew Eric would be the right person for the job.  Eric uploads scanned documents for both the IL and SE departments and does a great job! 

Marcell’s Story

Marcell has proudly worked for IKEA for over 20 yrs. As a wonderful testimonial to him, he has moved through many of IKEA’s departments bringing his talents and strong work ethic to every position. Marcell’s supervisors all agree that Marcell represents everything they look for when hiring an employee; conscientious, a strong work ethic and pride in a job well done.  Marcell does take great pride in helping his employer maintain a “strong bottom line” and continually looks for ways where he can improve, aid and support the mission of the store itself. Both Project Independence and IKEA realize that we are lucky to have Marcell on our respective teams.

Project Independence online fundraiser helps build supportive community one step at a time

The nonprofit Project Independence of Costa Mesa has transformed its 11th annual Walk for Independence into a virtual fundraising event and is inviting participants to walk from Sunday through Sept. 12 and enjoy a live online celebration on the final day. Accessible at proindependence.org, the event will feature short inspirational videos, interactive workout sessions, special guests, easy ways to give online, a virtual auction and more. Walkers can share their own progress made throughout the week with photos and/or videos that will be posted and played during the event. Prizes will be awarded for most steps walked, most money raised, most days walked, best shout-out to Project Independence and best costume. Winners will be announced during the online event. For the past 40 years, Project Independence has provided a lifeline to Orange County adults with developmental disabilities, who are now at even greatest risk because of the pandemic. The essential workers who comprise the Project Independence staff continue to serve clients despite challenges brought on by COVID-19. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised by Project Independence goes directly to support vital programs for people with developmental disabilities. For more information, visit proindependence.org.

Orange County Shows Support For Project Independence And Neighbors With Disabilities, Raising $81,334 In Only 24 Hours

Launched by the Orange County Community Foundation, Project Independence Partnered With Six Other Nonprofits to Host Third Annual Empowering Possibilities Giving Day   COSTA MESA, Calif. (July 20, 2020) — On July 16, Project Independence and six fellow organizations partnered with the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) to host the third annual Empowering Possibilities, a Giving Day for Orange County neighbors with disabilities. This 24-hour online effort raised $81,334 in critical funds from 294 donors.   “We are so pleased to team again this year with our fellow nonprofits serving those who need us most as at Project Independence we are honored to serve adults with developmental disabilities,” said Debra Marsteller, CEO, Project Independence. “Our Empowering Possibilities team represents the valuable community services to so many individuals and families throughout Orange County who need a helping hand. As a result, our entire community grows stronger. We thank you for your compassionate support during this campaign. We could not do what we do without you!”   In addition to Project Independence, the other organizations that participated in the 2020 Empowering Possibilities Giving Day included Blind Children’s Learning Center of OC, Down Syndrome Association of OC, Family Support Network, Hope Center for the Arts, Special Olympics Southern California and Vocational Visions.   These nonprofits have been forced to cancel all in-person fundraising events and meetings since March due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. According to the latest information from the State of California, official health partners and local authorities, most closures will remain in effect indefinitely. The funds raised during the Empowering Possibilities Giving Day will prove vital as these nonprofits pivot in their response and continue to serve their clients in innovative ways.   “During these challenging times, we see how critical our local organizations are in serving Orange County’s most vulnerable residents,” said Shelley Hoss, President and CEO, OCCF. “We are inspired by the outpouring of generosity from our community to support nonprofits providing essential resources and care for those with disabilities.”   This Empowering Possibilities Giving Day is the latest of a series that, to date, has raised more than $10 million for Orange County nonprofits. OCCF first challenged Orange County residents to “give where their heart lives” during the inaugural i♥oc Giving Day in 2015, raising more than $1.8 million for 347 participating nonprofits in just 30 hours. In 2018, OCCF restructured i♥oc as an expanded opportunity for nonprofits to connect with one another in support of their shared missions.   Additional collaborative Giving Days will be announced in the coming months. For more information, please visit oc-cf.org/iheartoc.   About Orange County Community Foundation Founded in 1989, the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) works with donors, strengthens the local nonprofit sector and works to find solutions to community needs. Since its inception, OCCF has awarded more than $700 million in grants and scholarships and ranks in the top one percent in grantmaking activity among more than 780 U.S. community foundations. For more information, visit oc-cf.org or call 949-553-4202. Be a part of our conversation on Facebook  Twitter and Instagram. View OCCF’s 2019 annual report here.    

Nonprofit delivers holiday cheer

Project Independence, a nonprofit in Costa Mesa, wrapped and delivered thousands of everyday items to adults with developmental disabilities over the holidays. Along with hundreds of dollars in cash and gift cards, the organization’s volunteers brought games and myriad household products to its clients. Many of the items were donated by users of the website nextdoor.com, according to a statement from the nonprofit, while Vandana and Vineet Unadkat, the owners of the Simple Greek restaurant in Fullerton, prepared and donated 100 meals to the cause.                             Project Independence staffer Meka Green, right, and her daughter, Kimora, prepare deliveries to clients for the holidays. (LEFT) “Both Vandana and I are very thankful for the opportunity that we are getting to give back to our community through this partnership with Project Independence,” Vineet Unadket said. In addition to the holiday deliveries, Project Independence hosted an online party via Zoom in December. More than 50 people participated and took their chances with raffles for backpacks donated by Jean Kim and Amazon and Target gift cards donated by the Shubin family. For more information or to donate to Project Independence, visit proindependence.org

Walk for Independence Sponsor Thank You Featured in LA Times

Serving people with developmental disabilities takes more than a walk in the park. But it’s a great start! Thank you to the generous sponsors of our 10th Walk for Independence that celebrates independent living for people with developmental disabilities throughout Orange County. With your support, we are building a community one step at a time.


We serve over 700 people with developmental disabilities in Southern California as they experience life and discover their potential for independence, as every person should have the opportunity to do – regardless of disability.

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OC Marathon

May 3, 2020

Join us again this year at the Orange County Marathon. We will be cheering on all the runners including our teams from Project Independence at the award-winning Water Station Mile 23. Come join us for the fun!

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Walk for Independence

September 12, 2020

SAVE THE DATE! Walk for Independence 2020 will take place on Saturday, September 12, 2020 at Tewinkle in Costa Mesa, CA.Do not miss this wonderful event where the Project Independence family gathers with family, friends and community partners to celebrate a year of achievement through independent living, work and day programs and confidence building through fun with the Access 2 Adventure Program. Coffee and muffins at the ready as well as your free marathon t shirt.

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