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Who We Are

History and Mission

A parent and child meeting with an educator.

Parents and other concerned individuals came together in the early 1950s to advocate for change. 

At the time, there was little knowledge of how people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD)  could learn and succeed. The development and personal growth of individuals with I/DD--or the support of families--was virtually nonexistent in communities. 

Parents of The Arc wanted their children to live happy lives in their community, with the same opportunities for education, socialization, employment, and interdependence as everyone else. Founded in that spirit, The Arc San Francisco serves 800 adults in three counties across the Bay Area.

Our Mission

To partner with adults with developmental disabilities as they design their futures and transform our communities through lifelong learning and self-determination.

Our Vision

We envision an equitable and just world in which all individuals with developmental disabilities thrive.


Justice: Our programs, services, partnerships, and workplace culture are guided by a disability justice framework.  

Belonging: All individuals and their lived experiences are valued and celebrated as assets to our communities.

Personal Agency: We champion and respect our participants' informed choices.  

Leadership: We initiate, lead, and contribute to change for a more just, equitable, and inclusive world.   

Interdependence: We value strong relationships where everyone is engaged and grows, and where the needs of each individual are met.

Our Name

Our full name is The Arc San Francisco. The "arc" in our name represents the arc of self-determination. We believe that with the right support, and over time, people with developmental disabilities can fulfill their highest potential, achieving personal goals and lifelong success--however it is personally defined.



The Arc San Francisco founded by parents.


Launch of our first paid work program for clients.


The Arc appointed by the legislature to be one of California’s first two regional centers.


Golden Gate Regional Center established as a separate non-profit agency. It now serves approximately 9,000 families in 3 counties: Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo.


Began donated goods resale shop partnership with ThriftTown and Norquist Salvage.


Launched Supported Employment Services in partnership with University of San Francisco.


Began providing Residential Services to support clients to live independently in the community.


Addition of Senior Services for older adults with developmental disabilities.


Residential Services expands to accommodate individuals with severe and multiple disabilities.


Created Endowment Fund

Multicultural Employment Services expands immigrant client job opportunities.


Integrated our services so clients can utilize multiple supports, such as job placement and life skills training.


Kicked-off of $1,000,000 Capital Campaign to build San Francisco’s first affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities.


Completion of 416 Bay Street, San Francisco, a 9-unit apartment building housing 21 clients, and a new Senior Service facility.


Purchase of our main facility at 1500 Howard Street, San Francisco, finalized.


Received grant from The California Endowment to establish Supplemental Medical Case Management services to improve client health and fitness.


Piloted Optimal Wellness Program to provide medical advocacy, health and nutrition services for older adults with developmental disabilities.


Closed Segregated Workshop; moved away from sub-minimum wage jobs to minimum wage community employment


100 Jobs in 100 Days Campaign results in placing 100 clients in new jobs.


Health and Wellness Services becomes a permanent service available to all clients


The Arc opens a new facility in Daly City, San Mateo County, with ArtReach Studios and integrated work and community services.


The Arc’s Household Goods Recycling Services moves operations to main office at 1500 Howard Street. The Arc, USCF and other community and health care partners initiate landmark effort to reform California’s health care system for people with disabilities.


The Arc celebrates 60 years and announces a $1,000,000 Anniversary Leadership Fund to support Health & Wellness, Transitional Youth, Residential Services and Anti-Bullying/Anti-Isolation Programs.


The Arc San Francisco expands its lifelong learning curriculum to include new Adult Life, Internship and Career Development & Advancement programs.


The Arc opens a new facility in San Rafael, Marin County, with adult enrichment and career development classes on-site and in the community.


The Arc San Francisco and Mercy Housing mark housing milestone with construction of affordable housing units at two San Francisco properties with universal, accessible design for residents with developmental disabilities.


Launch of The Arc SF Path to college to accelerate the enrollment, education, employment and success of adults with developmental disabilities at City College, San Francisco and other postsecondary institutions. The Comcast Learning Lab opens at our Howard Street location.


Launch of our 3-Year Strategic Plan, "Future Forward," a roadmap for Client Success, Operational Excellence, and Trust and Transparency.


Launch of "Reimagine" Digital Equity Initiative in partnership with PwC, to address inequities in access to technology and internet connection.


Launch of The Arc SF Hub in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and site closures.

Our impact this year has changed our community!

Thank you to our community and business partners!