About Helpers

Our Mission:

Helpers Community is dedicated to supporting individuals with developmental disabilities.

 

History:

Helpers Community is a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to assisting community members with developmental disabilities and the organizations that serve them in the greater Bay Area.

Founded in 1953 and incorporated in 1957, Helpers began raising funds to purchase and operate some of the first group homes for adults with developmental disabilities in the San Francisco Bay Area. The first Helpers’ home was opened in 1963, followed by two others in 1966 and 1973. The three homes provided beautiful homes for 12 women and 6 men. Helpers’ homes were in operation until 2002, when the last one was closed due to staffing challenges.

In addition to providing residential care, Helpers operated an Activity Center from 1966 until 2002 where the residents developed their craft and sewing skills to create beautiful handmade items that were sold at Ghiradelli Square.

In 1966, Ghirardelli Square invited Helpers to host a weekend bazaar to sell the handmade creations made at Helpers Activity Center, as well as donated items from Helpers’ supporters.  Helpers hosted pop-up bazaars at Ghiradelli Square until 1974 when Ghirardelli Square offered the in-kind donation of a permanent storefront to Helpers, known as Helpers Bazaar.

 

Helpers Today:

Helpers Bazaar remains open and is staffed exclusively by individuals with developmental disabilities who are training for jobs in retail environments and other businesses that value customer service skills and Square expertise to process point of sale transactions. Helpers currently partners with organizations in the Greater Bay Area who provide job training and support to individuals with developmental disabilities for candidates who are interested in and can thrive within this training opportunity.

Helpers Bazaar features items handcrafted by many talented individuals with developmental disabilities from throughout the greater Bay Area. Helpers is currently seeking more handmade goods created by artisans with developmental disabilities that can be featured at Helpers Bazaar. Helpers’ goal is for 1/3 of all products sold at Helpers Bazaar to have been created by artisans with developmental disabilities in Northern California. When visiting the store, guests can read signage and bios that share the backgrounds and skills of these talented artists.

Helpers is currently renovating two of its residences to reopen as Group Homes, due to the urgent need in San Francisco for housing for adults with developmental disabilities who require some assistance to live independently.

Another way that Helpers demonstrates its commitment to supporting organizations who provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities is through its Grants program.

 

Revenue for Helpers activities and grants has come from:

  • Sales of donated jewelry, clothing, and household goods
  • Sales of purchased goods for our Helpers Bazaar, including a huge array of handcrafted items by local artisans with developmental disabilities
  • Financial donations from individuals and estates and investments made with these dollars