Courage Center was founded in 1928 as the Minnesota Society for Crippled Children and Adults. Since that time, this organization has been dedicated to meeting the changing needs of children and adults with disabilities. Our first advocacy victory came in 1931, when Minnesota Governor Floyd B. Olson signed a bill providing school transportation for children with disabilities in rural areas.
A Quick History
1928 - Minnesota Association for Crippled Children incorporated (April 10).
1931 - Minnesota Governor Floyd B. Olson signs bill providing school transportation for rural disabled children.
1934 - Helps establish first equipment loan and homecraft training program.
1936 - Name changes to Minnesota Association for Crippled Children and Disabled Adults.
1938 - First 10-day camping session for people with disabilities is held near Hinckley, Minn.
1946 - Camping program moves to Camp Kiwanis near Marine-on-St. Croix, Minn.
1947 - Corporate name changes to Minnesota Society for Crippled Children and Adults, Inc. (MiSCCA); establishes first two-week speech and hearing camp.
1948 - MiSCCA and St. Paul Junior League establishes St. Paul Rehabilitation Center.
1949 - MiSCCA and Minneapolis Junior League establishes Cerebral Palsy Center at Minneapolis’s Curative Workshop.
1950 - MiSCCA and Duluth Junior League establishes Duluth Rehabilitation Center.
1952 - Wilko Schoenbohm takes over as leader of MiSCCA.
1953 - Purchase of 40 acres in Wright Country for new camp site; MiSCCA establishes Mankato Rehabilitation Center.
1954 - MiSCCA establishes Range Rehabilitation Center in Virginia; breaks ground for Camp Courage near Maple Lake, Minn.
1955 - Camp Courage opens; MiSCCA establishes Winona Rehabilitation Center
1956 - Camp Courage is dedicated (July 8).
1957 - Courage Cards business launched; MiSCCA establishes Ability Building Center in Rochester.
1958 - First Architectural Barriers Committee established; MiSCCA establishes Western Minnesota Rehabilitation and Referral Agency in Montevideo, Minn.
1960 - MiSCCA helps establish Minneapolis Rehabilitation Center.
1961 - MiSCCA joins United Way and breaks ties with Easter Seal organization.
1962 - MiSCCA helps establish St. Cloud Opportunity Training Center.
1963 - Courage Foundation is established; MiSCCA helps establish Cedar Valley Rehabilitation Center in Austin, Minn.; begins Jay and Rose Phillips Awards; Barrier Project, led by MiSCCA, result in Minnesota leading the nation in codifying statewide physical access.
1965 - MiSCCA helps construct new rehabilitation center in Mankato; expands Ability Building Center in Rochester, Minn.
1966 - Camp Courage’s Speech and Hearing camp dedicated by Hubert Humphrey.
1967 - Nat G. Polinsky Rehabilitation Center dedicated in Duluth; West Central Industries, Willmar, and Lake Region Sheltered Workshop, Fergus Falls, affiliate with MiSCCA.
1968 - Minneapolis Curative Workshop and Minnesota Homecrafters merge with MiSCCA; million dollar bequest received from Benjamin Bunge, Eitzen, Minn.; planning begins for Courage Center.
1970 - Courage North property is donated by Mr. and Mrs. Walter Deubener, St. Paul.
1971 - Deaf leadership program begins at Courage North; MiSCCA helps establish St. Cloud Opportunity Training Center; Courage Auxiliary begins; ground broken for Courage Center (April 23).
1973 - Courage Center dedicated (April 27)by Julie Nixon Eisenhower; Federal government enacts Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
1974 - Minnesota HANDI-HAM System, amateur radio program for the disabled merges with MiSCCA; Camp Courage reception center is destroyed by fire.
1975 - Courage Center swimming pool completed and aquatics therapy services begin in Golden Valley.
1976 - Rebuilt Camp Courage reception center dedicated by Hubert H. Humphrey; Stroke Network begins.
1977 - Twin Cities Rolling Gophers merges with MiSCCA.
1978 - Corporate name changed to Courage Center; Sports, Physical Education and Recreation Department is initiated.
1979 - New facilities dedicated at Courage North; Perfect Squares wheelchair square dance group merges with Courage Center.
1980 - Amalgamation of Courage Alpine Skiers; independent living home dedicated by Minnesota Governor Al Quie; Executive Director Wilko Schoenbohm retires but takes on role with Courage Foundation; National Courage Award names first recipient—Anne Carlsen.
1984 - David Hersey named Executive Director; Rehabilitation Technology and Vocational Services departments created; Wilko Schoenbohm receives National Courage Award.
1985 - Stage III construction begins at Courage Center; David Hersey dies unexpectedly.
1986 - David Phillips named Executive Director; Stage III addition dedicated; Itzhak Perlman receives National Courage Award.
1987 - Courage St. Croix construction begins.
1988 - Courage St. Croix opens; Courage celebrates 60th anniversary;
1989 - Courage North dedicates Clarence M. and Lucille B. King Program Center; physicist Stephen Hawking receives National Courage Award.
1992 - New south parking lot and south entrance added at Courage Center.
1993 - New aquatic center and building renovation/expansion begins at Courage Center; independent living home sold to Accessible Space, Inc.; Courage Stroke Network sold to American Heart Association; journalist John Hockenberry receives National Courage Award.
1994 - New addition dedicated at Courage Center.
1996 - Cars for Courage vehicle donation program launched; dedication of Courage St. Croix expansion; Christopher Reeve receives National Courage Award.
1998 - Courage Center and Sister Kenny Institute create AXIS Healthcare, a new health care model for people with disabilities; dedication of Schoenbohm Cabin at Camp Courage; new Courage branding, logo and tagline developed; David Phillips resigns as Executive Director.
1999 - Eric Stevens named Executive Director; Schoenbohm Wildflower Gardens dedicated at Camp Courage and Courage North; dedication of Children’s Therapeutic Garden at Courage Center; Bob Dole receives National Courage Award.
2001 - AXIS Healthcare becomes operational; renovation begins on Courage Residence; Courage partners with Habitat for Humanity to build first accessible home equipped with assistive technology; Health, Wellness and Fitness pilot launched at Courage St. Croix with opening of accessible Fitness Center; former US Attorney General Janet Reno receives National Courage Award.
2002 - Dedication of Habitat home; Courage Residence renovation complete.
2003 - Courage celebrates 75 years; receive Federal government’s New Freedom Initiative Award for innovative vocational and assistive technology programs; Courage Burnsville moves to new, larger state-of-the-art pediatric facility.
2004 - Eric Stevens resigns as Chief Executive Officer; Nancy Larkin named Chief Operating Officer; second Fitness Center opens; designated as Paralympic Training Academy site; Home and Community Rehabilitation launched; Structured Day and Adult Day programs transferred to Rise, Inc.; multi-year, $17 million Capital Campaign completed; Erik Weihenmayer receives National Courage Award; dedication of second accessible home built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
2005 - Jan Malcolm named Chief Executive Officer; two volunteers inducted into National Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Fame; Alice Johnson named Chief Financial Officer; Camp Courage celebrates 50 years (July 10); Youth Leadership Academy launched; Trisha Meili, “the Central Park Jogger” receives National Courage Award; long-time Camp Director Bob Polland, retires.
2006 - Jaclyn Kawiecki, MD, named medical director; comprehensive inpatient chronic pain services added; Vinland National Center begins partnership for chemical health counseling; Courage Auxiliary permanent display and reunion commemorates 30 years and more than $3 million raised for programs; Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah of Ghana receives National Courage Award; Rehabilitation Medicine Associates, a full-service physician clinic, opens in Golden Valley; Forest Lake clinic remodeled; drivers training program expands to eight locations.
2007 - Medica Foundation awards $30,000 grant for Wellness and Fitness; St. Croix Valley Community Foundation awards Courage St. Croix $70,000 matching grant; Walk-N-Roll fundraiser renamed 5K Your Way and moves to Golden Valley (Aug. 4); architect and designer Michael Graves receives National Courage Award; Courage Cards & Gifts celebrates 50 years.
2008 - Courage Center celebrates 80th anniversary; Courage Center St. Croix turns 20; Drivers Training program expands to nine Minnesota locations; KARE 11 TV named Courage Center its 2008 Eleven Who Care Agency of Distinction; Congressman Jim Ramstad honored with National Courage Award; new Courage Center logo and brand unveiled.
2009 - Two Courage Center wheelchair basketball teams, the Rolling Rowdies and Jr. Rolling Timberwolves win their divisions in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA); Courage Center, on behalf of the Minnesota Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CDD), receives $100,000 grant from the Minneapolis Foundation that supports the public policy and advocacy efforts of more than 100 community organizations.
2010 - Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s NeuroRecovery Network names Courage Center’s Activity Based Locomotor Exercise programs (ABLE) one of five community-based fitness centers; Jr. Rolling Timberwolves win 3rd consecutive National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) title; Minnesota Twins beat out 14 MLB clubs to win a $200,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant for Courage Center to build a wheelchair accessible softball field; Operation Liberty begins offering free sports and recreation activities to injured and disabled veterans.
2011 - Primary Care Clinic adds telemedicine technology; physician services expand to Stillwater and Forest Lake; Courage Center Burnsville moves to new location near heart of the city; grants from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation and Northland Foundation enable Courage Center Duluth to offer more children with autism to take part in sports and recreation activities; Cars for Courage expands to allow nationwide pickup.
2012 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Courage Center is one of 26 nationwide recipients of the Health Care Innovation Award. The three-year $1.8 million award allows Courage Center to further develop its patient-centered medical home model for people with disabilities and complex medical conditions.
2013 - Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute was formed through the merger of Courage Center and Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health.