Our History

IMG_0093_400wMore than 20 years ago, Walton Rehabilitation
Health System asked: What happens to people with disabilities after acute and rehabilitative care? Where do they live? How do they work? What is their quality of life like?

Thanks to the tireless support of staff, volunteers and donors, we answered this vital need in our community. Today, Walton Foundation for Independence continues to provide unique programs and affordable, accessible housing for those with disabilities in the CSRA (via Walton Community Services). Now independently operated, Walton Foundation has made a commitment to bring those with physical challenges closer to independence and a meaningful life with family, friends and communities.

Here are some of our milestones:

1988:
Walton Rehabilitation Health System opens.

Today, Walton Rehabilitation Hospital is owned by HealthSouth, but the hospital’s long history made Walton Foundation for Independence and Walton Community Services what it is today.

1996:
Walton Community Services is founded.

Walton Community Services opened its first independent living community on Monte Sano Avenue in Augusta in 1996. From this single community, comprising three accessible 2-bedroom units, WCS has grown to 15 independent garden apartment communities throughout Augusta, Thomson, North Augusta and Harlem, providing homes for hundreds of persons with disabilities and their families in the CSRA.

1998:
Walton Foundation for Independence is founded.

Walton Foundation for Independence was founded as a separate 501c3 nonprofit organization in 1998. Today, the foundation continues to inspire donors to support the work of Walton Community Services and Walton Options for Independent Living—a nonprofit partner that provides work readiness programs and adaptive equipment to help those with all types of disabilities reach their highest level of independence. The foundation also offers its own programs, including adaptive sports such as wheelchair tennis and golf, as well as Camp To Be Independent.

1999:
Harison Heights opens.

In 1999, following a million-dollar campaign led by Walton Foundation for Independence chair Phil S. Harison, Harison Heights officially opened. Unique for the Augusta area, Harison Heights provides independent and supported living options for persons with disabilities who may require varying levels of care and assistance. Today, Harison Heights is owned by NeuroRestorative Georgia and continues to lease its campus from Walton Foundation for Independence.

2000:
Camp TBI is founded.

In the summer of 2000, Walton Foundation for Independence began offering a unique camp for children and young adults with traumatic brain injuries, Camp To Be Independent. That first year saw 16 children and 20 volunteers. Today, thanks to the help of 60-plus volunteers, Camp TBI continues to serve 50-plus children and young adults every year, offering a free, weeklong summer camp experience in a safe, medically supervised environment.

2013:
Walton Foundation for Independence Continues to Support Those with Disabilities.

With the sale of Walton Rehabilitation Hospital to HealthSouth, Walton Foundation for Independence continues to work with the community to inspire giving and support programs and housing (via Walton Community Services) for those with disabilities in the CSRA.

2016:
Champions Made From Adversity Merges With Walton Foundation for Independence.

The merger forms the area’s largest nonprofit offering sports and leisure programs specifically designed for people with disabilities.