Elevating Human Abilities Since 1967
GuideStar Platinum certification

About Us

Becoming Independent (BI) helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live meaningful and productive lives. We are a nonprofit community benefit organization serving the North Bay with a purpose to elevate human abilities for the mutual benefit of our community. Our core values of human dignity, empowerment, integrity, community and innovation are at the heart of our vision – a community of innovative partnerships, fostering authentic human connections.

Each year thousands of individuals walk through our doors and are welcomed with opportunities to be productive and engaged community members through three strategic initiatives: Education, Employment, and Supported Living.



What began as a grassroots, parent-led organization has grown into the largest service provider of its kind in the North Bay.

In 1967, parents organized Sonoma County’s first community-based program for adults with developmental disabilities, called the Manual Skills Training Center. Two years later, the State Legislature affirmed that people with disabilities had the same rights as other people and declared the responsibility of government to ensure that those rights are achieved, through the Lanterman Act.

Over the next decade additional support programs were established in Sonoma County to provide adult activities, independent living support services, and to advocate for people with disabilities. In January 1980, this group of programs incorporated as a 501c(3) tax exempt charity under the name of Becoming Independent and within a few years expanded to provide services in Napa and Solano counties, and to include a jobs program.

Since then, BI continues to grow and evolve serving nearly 1,000 people each year — and always staying close to the values that matter most:

Human Dignity. Empowerment. Integrity. Community. Innovation.


Our Beliefs

At BI, we believe…

Our pioneering model has and will always break barriers for people with disabilities.
In the power of authentic human connection.
That beauty and potential exist in each of us.
It’s our responsibility to be active citizens.
In standing for the rights of all people, the right to a life of dignity and fulfillment.
We inspire other through our actions.
We are all connected and our community is enriched when we invest in one another.
That every social investment has the potential to be broadly transformative.