Endeavour Foundation was founded in 1951 by a group of parents of children with an intellectual disability. Initially called the Queensland Sub-Normal Children's Welfare Association, the association was formed with a desire to create more educational options and opportunities in life for children with intellectual disability. The New South Wales Subnormal Children’s Welfare Association provided vital guidance and advice for Queensland parents in the early days.
With their help, a small but active group in Brisbane rallied the public and parents, leading to the creation of a Queensland affiliate of the New South Wales association.
Parents contended that children with intellectual disability should have the same right to education and other life opportunities as everyone else.The Association's first school and support group were established in a member's home, but moved to a large property in Bowen Hills in Brisbane, where the parent - child guidance clinic was established. It was not long before branches were formed throughout Queensland.
The Association expanded rapidly, opening its first purpose built family home in Cairns, designed to offer ‘an ordinary home in an ordinary street’, as well as providing residences for teenagers to work in small crop farming.
The association continued to focus on providing education for young people, expanding to offer 21 schools across Queensland. Pre-school counsellors were introduced as part of an early intervention program to ensure that young children had the best possible chance to realise their potential.
Endeavour Foundation had grown to provide services to more than 3,500 people in 19 non-vocational day services for adults, 25 schools, 12 workshops, 6 farms, 34 adult residential homes, 24 group homes and 13 clinics across the state. A key focus during this time was on accommodation, with the understanding that living away from home gave independence to young people. New housing was designed to offer people with an intellectual disability the opportunity to live in the community.
Endeavour Foundation’s schools were integrated with the state education system 33 years after the first school opened.
Closer links with families and communities was a key emphasis in the 90s. A ‘parent liaison officer’ was appointed to work with parents so that they could be included in all aspects of decision making, ensuring parents were kept informed.
In response to long waiting lists, Endeavour Foundation self-funded support for approximately 1,000 additional people.
In September 2009 Endeavour Foundation acquired Cumberland Industries in Western Sydney, providing employment for a further 610 people with a disability. This made Endeavour Foundation the largest non-government provider of direct disability employment in Australia.
The Endeavor Foundation Endowment Challenge Fundwas established to fund research and special projects to benefit the wider Australian disability sector as a whole with an emphasis on people with an intellectual disability. The Endowment Challenge Fund is a capital-preserved fund where donations made to the fund are invested and the interest earned is used to support Fund activities.
The Great Endeavour Rally is voted Queensland’s best fundraising event. By 2008 21 Great Endeavour Rallies had raised more than $2 million through community and corporate support.
Twelve people make history becoming the first graduates of the innovative program Latch-On®, obtaining Certificate II in Literacy & Technology in Australia. Developed in partnership with the University of Queensland, Latch-On® was developed to provide education opportunities in computer, literacy and technology for young people with a disability.
Learning and Lifestyle support services provide people with a disability access to certificate II modules and courses, whilst 26 supported employees go on to complete a Certificate II in workplace practice.