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CPRF History

In the early 1970s, people with cerebral palsy were emerging from private educational programs but had nowhere to go from there. Our founder realized the critical need for continuing services.

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Our Founding Story

John F. “Jack” Jonas Jr., CPRF founder, was a lifelong advocate of the disability rights movement in Kansas.

When Jack started working with children with disabilities as a speech pathologist and audiologist at the Institute of Logopedics in the 1950s and 60s, having a disability generally meant that you were destined to live in a nursing home or with your parents. Employment, inclusion and independence were not options for many people.

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    1960s History


    CPRF founder John F. “Jack” Jonas Jr. and Vice Chairman Deryl Schuster opened a summer camp for teenagers with disabilities. The Jaycee Ranch offered a traditional camp experience, complete with activities like fishing and swimming, but with wheelchair-accessible features and aides/counselors for assistance with daily living needs and activities.

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    1970s History


    John F. “Jack” Jonas Jr. founded CPRF. At this time, his good friend, Dan Carney, signed on as the first Board Chairman.


    Jack Jonas opened Center Industries Corporation (CIC), a manufacturing company that hires people with disabilities at competitive wages. The company seeks contracts in the open marketplace, produces goods, and sells them — all while paying its employees a competitive wage with benefits.

    Today, with more than 250 employees (nearly half of whom have a physical disability) and diversified manufacturing capabilities, CIC proves that with the proper workspace adaptations, a disability isn’t an employment deal-breaker.


    The engineering achievements that made large-scale employment of people with disabilities possible at CIC were fully recognized when CPRF and the College of Engineering at Wichita State became a National Rehabilitation Engineering Center (RERC). It was one of only 16 such facilities in the United States at the time.

    The RERC project continued until 1998, receiving its funding through the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The RERC focused on the use of technology in the vocational environment and how it could enhance independence for people with severe physical disabilities at school and home.

    The final RERC program consisted of eight projects, including mental workload assessments of individuals using non-standard computer interfacing, physiological capacities for work of people with neuro-physical impairments, and the development of integrated input systems and computer interfaces.


    CPRF began construction on The Timbers, the first HUD property in the nation built specifically for wheelchair users.

    With 100 fully accessible apartments, The Timbers continues to provide people with independent living and a sense of community. The addition of the Timber Lines Transportation Services also offers accessible transportation, which gives residents a “full circle” service that increases their sense of independence, dignity and community.

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    1980s History


    CPRF opened the Daniel M. Carney Rehabilitation Engineering Center (now the Wheelchair & Posture Seating Clinic), providing customized wheelchairs and seating systems for Kansans of all ages.


    The CPRF Adult Day Services program began offering daily enrichment, learning activities, and care to adults with physical and developmental disabilities.

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    1990s History


    Treasurer Daniel Taylor and fellow board members and supporters spearheaded the CPRF Endowment Fund to position the organization to continue our mission for years to come.


    The School of Adaptive Computer Training (SACT) opened for students who need specialized classroom equipment.

    Patricia and Bob Patterson, owners of Digital Consulting Software Services, worked with Dan Carney and Jack Jonas to form CPRF’s newest affiliate organization, DCSS Ability. This white-collar alternative to CIC offers information technology training and open-source web research.

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    2000s History


    CPRF received the Projects With Industry Grant, which provides funding for students to attend the SACT.

    CPRF founded Business Technology Career Opportunities, Inc. (BTCO), a document imaging company with a mission to employ people with disabilities. BTCO’s inaugural contract was with the U.S. Census Bureau.


    To supplement DCSSA’s open-source web research division, CPRF merged DCSSA with Business Technology Career Opportunities, Inc., adding digital document conversion and precise-tolerance plot printing services.


    CPRF became a founding member of the One Percent Coalition, a federal, bi-partisan initiative seeking to grant federal procurement advantages to employers who hire people with disabilities.


    AmeriCorps Financial Empowerment Services began at CPRF through coordination with Source America’s Institute for Economic Empowerment.

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    2010s History


    CPRF received the Disability Employment Initiative Grant through the Kansas Department of Commerce (via the federal Department of Labor) to expand the SACT through web-based, satellite learning at other locations.


    The Bidder’s Preference Program, championed by CPRF, passed through the state House and Senate, giving state procurement advantages to employers who hire people with disabilities.


    In partnership with the State of Kansas Department of Commerce, CPRF renewed the Disability Employment Initiative Grant, which funds the SACT and Job Placement.


    The Employer Tax Credit bill was signed into law, geared toward creating more job opportunities for people with disabilities through a state tax credit for employers. CPRF was instrumental in researching, conceptualizing, proposing and advocating for this bill.

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    2020s History


    CPRF began remodeling The Timbers. The renovations feature an increase of 200 square feet per apartment, new accessible appliances, larger bathrooms, and a modern look.


    The Guided Independent Living Assessment (GILA) program opened. The GILA program assesses the readiness of young adults with disabilities to live independently, with real life opportunities to learn and demonstrate basic living skills. Developed in conjunction with Wichita State University, this six-week program provides participants with a plan for future success.