Expanding abilities one person at a time

About Coarc

We are the Columbia County Chapter of The Arc New York, the largest family-based provider of services to people experiencing disabilities in the United States.  Every chapter focuses on meeting the needs of people with disabilities on a daily basis, whatever their income level, age, gender, race/ethnicity, or language.  Coarc provides support to more than 400 people experiencing developmental/Intellectual disabilities through our facilities and programs. To review our Quality and Compliance policy click here.

Our Mission

To expand abilities, one person at a time, so people experiencing disabilities can achieve their personal goals.

Our Vision

To be an ethical organization that is part of a society that recognizes people with different degrees of abilities as full contributing members of their community.

History of Coarc

Coarc is supported through state and federal funding, our membership, and contributions from individuals, businesses and foundations.  It was established in 1965 by a group of concerned parents of children with disabilities who believed that every child deserved a healthy, happy, productive life.  At that point in time, there wasn’t an organization or agency offering services or programs for children experiencing disabilities.  This group established themselves and received its official charter from Nysarc, Inc. on May 5, 1965.

  • The Community Workshop, now known as The Training Center, opened in Hudson in 1971, moved to Mellenville in 1976, and currently employs people in molding, packaging, assembly, and decoration departments.
  • Community Residences were established to fulfill a variety of individual needs.  The first home opened in Hudson in 1976 and the fifteenth opened in Kinderhook in 2013.  Additionally, since 1985, the Apartment Program offers residential choices for more independent people.
  • The creation of a number of day activity programs.  Promenade Hill Center opened in 1981 and was expanded in 1997; Evergreen Hall opened in 1987 and relocated to a larger space in 2003; and Dove Hall, and Cardinal Hall also offer day programs. In 2012 “Without Walls” day services began.  Without Walls offers personal programming not attached to a site, rather people spend their day in the community.
  • The Early Intervention Program (children’s services) was established in 1983 and evolved into The Starting Place in 1994, providing home-based and center-based care for children.  The program also offers universal pre-kindergarten classes and day care.
  • Injection molding machines arrived at Coarc to ensure a steady supply of assembly work for employees. The Training Center achieved the ISO 9001-2008 certification early in 2006, to make Coarc one of only a few not-for-profit agencies in the nation to be accredited with the International Standards Organization (ISO) in manufacturing. Coarc currently maintains ISO compliance.

  • Columbia Work Link, a program which connects area employers in need of skilled employees with people that Coarc supports, was launched in 2006; in 2010 it added its School-to-Work program, providing vocational training for teenagers experiencing disabilities still in high school.
  • “Work It!” was started to match people who require a greater level of support, opportunity to work one hour a week at a local business with a Coarc staff working alongside them.
  • “Be Amazing” a line of handcrafted body products was developed in 2013. Be Amazing is unique in that people who require the highest level of support are the workforce.
  • Coarc to Columbia-Greene opened in 2013 creating a modified College Experience program. This program provides people with disabilities an 11-week, 22 Session college learning experience.
  • Tradewinds – Coarc’s retail store opened in 2014. Tradewinds sells socially conscious items from around the world. The store offers employment training in an integrated setting.
  • Transitions, a holistic day program focusing on employment skills and activities of daily living, was created in 2017.

Our Beliefs

  • Choice

    We respect CHOICE and support people in expanding their abilities and determining the direction of their own lives.


    We recognize our COMMUNITY as a resource for expanding opportunities and enriching people’s lives through the sharing of common values and interests.


    We achieve healthier attitudes, broader understanding, and greater personal and organizational success through the use of TEAMWORK.


    We rely upon effective COMMUNICATION created by listening without judging and the open exchange of ideas throughout all levels in the organization.


    We recognize the value gained from the learning experience, especially when people are EMPOWERED and given the tools and support needed to expand their abilities and realize their goals.


    We recognize and value WELLNESS, promoting healthier lifestyles that foster overall happiness and improve the quality of life for everyone in the community.

We foster a culture of belonging through DIVERSITY, EQUITY and INCLUSION practices while celebrating the unique life experiences of each person our agency impacts.


Coarc is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, primarily supported through New York state and federal funding, and also by members, donors and other foundations.  Coarc serves over 400 people who are experiencing disabilities.

Who We are

Coarc was established in 1965 by a small group of parents and interested community members within Columbia County, New York to provide a place for their children who were experiencing developmental disabilities to live, learn and work.

Coarc is the Columbia County Chapter of The Arc New York, America’s largest non-profit organization supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families since 1949.  The Arc New York is a chapter of the The Arc.

Coarc residences, services and programs are offered throughout the community and in more than 20 different Columbia County locations. Coarc operates transportation services to people who experience disabilities to provide access to these locations.


Information on our Board of Directors can be found here.

The Coarc Board of Directors (the Board) unequivocally believes that individuals with disabilities have the right to self-determination, to learn how to make informed decisions and have the right to take reasonable risks. Read the full Organizational Service and Support Philosophy document.

  • Denise Barry, Ed.D.
  • Karen Blass
  • Mary Anne VanDenburgh
  • Annette (Mickey) Dennis
  • Mary Ann Harris
  • Donna Knight
  • Dorothy (Dodie) Wheeler
  • Tracy Cantele
  • Doris Meier
  • Karen Engel
  • Christopher Nardone