The Exceptional Foundation of Charlotte (TEFC) first began as an affiliate of the National Exceptional Foundation. When the national organization disbanded, the original Exceptional Foundation (located in Birmingham) changed the structure of how other locations are associated with their Exceptional Foundation.
At that time, TEFC Board of Directors asked the question among themselves: ‘What are the pros and cons in staying a part of Birmingham?’ Over the course of the spring and summer, the Board of Directors discussed that very important question. Not only does the Exceptional Foundation in Birmingham provide an incredible service for people with disabilities, they made time to help us get started. They have been a great resource to us. Although both organizations serve individuals with disabilities, the makeup of our community is unique to us. In the end, our board decided it was more important to align with the needs and wants of our community here in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the September 2019 board meeting, TEFC directors voted to focus on our Charlotte community and undergo a rebrand.
What does this mean for our organization as we know it? From a larger perspective, not much is changing. We will continue to serve the disability community. We will continue focusing on socialization and recreation. Our purpose remains the same: to create opportunities for people with disabilities to improve the quality of life through recreation and meaningful social engagement with our community.
With all of this in mind, the board has given careful thought to what we should call ourselves moving forward. We knew we wanted to incorporate the word ‘clubhouse’ into the new name because that is how our members refer to us. We also knew that the name needed something more because we are more than just a clubhouse. We help individuals with disabilities transition from high school to what comes next. We help teens and adults with disabilities step into our community to socialize with others. That is when it clicked and that is why we are the Next Step Clubhouse!