A Promise to Parents for the Future of their Adult Children with Special Needs

The original PRIDE clients continue to learn, grow and enjoy the camaraderie of their friends every day!

See our PRIDE client profiles:

  • Robby Brooks, Chatham school graduate
  • Dani Paino, Ho-Ho-Kus school graduate
  • Cori Foreit, Chatham school graduate
  • Benny Sims, Chatham school graduate
  • Billy Murphy, Chatham school graduate
  • Sylvia Toll, Chatham school graduate


September 2008PRIDE opens to give a small group of ECLC graduates pre-vocational training, independent living skills and more. Program quickly reaches capacity with 31 clients!
2009Plans are underway to expand the PRIDE Center and start a part-time PRIDE Evening Program (P.E.P.).
October 2010PRIDE expands into additional rooms! A Pig Roast hosted by Richard and Katherine Gatward raises $80,000 to support the purchase of two vans for clients to venture into the community.
April 2011New Jersey’s First Lady Mary Pat Christie visits PRIDE and meets with clients and parents to highlight the innovative work being done by organizations throughout the state to serve people with disabilities.
September 2011Destructive Hurricane Irene hits and floodwaters rise to the front door of the PRIDE Center, but, miraculously, do not flow into the building.
October 2011The Bergen PRIDE Center opens at a temporary location in a synagogue. Between the two locations, PRIDE now enrolls 80 clients!
May 2012A permanent home opens in Paramus for Bergen PRIDE! The new location is in a secure, standalone building. It is a short drive to the Ho-Ho-Kus school and nearby retail outlets, offering job and volunteering possibilities for clients.
November 2012PRIDE is serving more than 100 clients with special needs.
April 2013The new Bergen PRIDE Center in Paramus is officially inaugurated. A ribbon-cutting ceremony features New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and other officials.
July 2013ECLC hosts Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) for a press conference calling for federal funding to support young adults with special needs after they graduate from high school.
September 2013To meet the continued demand for placement in PRIDE, ECLC kicks off a major capital campaign to raise $450,000 for the expansion and renovation of the Morris PRIDE Center.
January 2014The generous Toby Cooperman, who was a Learning Disability Teacher Consultant (LDTC) at the Chatham school, and her husband, financier Leon, give a huge $125,000 matching grant toward the capital campaign.
April 2014In a few months, the capital campaign is over! ECLC successfully raises $450,000 to expand and renovate the Morris PRIDE Center. Major donors include: the Coopermans, Carol and Steve Lampf, Richard and Katherine Gatward, Judy and Billy Greenblatt, Howard and Debby Kaminsy and Richard and Robin Pzena.
October 2014Thanks to the generosity of donors, the new PRIDE Morris Center for adult clients with special needs is open for business. The facility is transformed into a bright and cheerful center with activity rooms, a teaching kitchen and a model apartment, plus more space for the pre-vocational training center. A grand opening celebration draws elected officials, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, State Senator and former Gov. Richard Codey, Morris County Freeholder Deputy Director David Scapicchio, Morris County Freeholder Kathryn DeFillippo and Florham Park Mayor Mark Taylor.
December 2014The Board of Trustees launches the Renee and Bruce Litinger and Family PRIDE Endowment. The goal is to raise $5 million to ensure the future of PRIDE, and protect against declining government funding.
August 2015Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) returns to the Bergen PRIDE Center to announce that the Autism CARES Act of 2014 is the law of the land! This bill reauthorizes federal funding for autism and expands provisions of the previous law, with a total of $1.3 billion in dedicated funds over the next five years.
October 2015Leon and Toby Cooperman step up again! The couple generously pledge to give a $250,000 challenge grant to support the PRIDE Endowment campaign.
October 2016Grants start rolling in! Investors Bank Foundation gives a $5,000 grant to purchase desktop computers and laptops for the Morris PRIDE Center.
November 2016The Hyde & Watson Foundation gives a $4,375 grant for computers to the Morris PRIDE Center.
January 2017The PRIDE Endowment Campaign hits $1 million!
June 2017The Summit Area Public Foundation donates $4,400 for shredders at the Morris PRIDE Center.
August 2017The Bergen PRIDE Center receives a $5,000 grant from Columbia Bank for shredders.
TodayNearly 170 adults with special needs are served by PRIDE. The program is bringing tremendous joy and enrichment to these adults every day and peace of mind to their parents!