Better Business Bureau Report for
Avenues to Independence

Better Business Bureau Report issued October 2012
Better Business Bureau Report expires October 2014

Does not meet one or more standards
This charity does not meet one or more of the 20 standards for Charity Accountability. Find out more...

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Charity Contact Information

Name: Avenues to Independence
Address: Jane and Albert Wohlers Center
515 Busse Highway
  Park Ridge, IL 60068
Phone: 847-292-0870
Web Address:
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Year, State Incorporated: 1953, Illinois
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: Avenues is a non-profit organization that provides homes, jobs and community living programs to Chicago area adults with physical, intellectual, and other developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, autism, epilepsy and cerebral palsy. The organization's goal to provide work and living opportunities enabling those with disabilities to be as independent as possible.

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Evaluation Conclusions


Avenues to Independence does not meet the following Standard for Charity Accountability.

Standard 9: Fund Raising Expense Ratio - Spending should be no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.

Avenues to Independence does not meet this Standard because:

  • According to its audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, the organization's fund raising costs were 37% ($315,969) of related contributions, which totaled $843,867.

 A representative from the organization stated that this was partially due to a reduced number of available state grants.

Avenues to Independence meets the remaining 19 Standards for Charity Accountability.
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Avenues provides programs for adults with intellectual, physical, and developmental disabilities in the metropolitan Chicago area. Individuals must be at least 18 years of age to receive services, however, we have no upper age restrictions. People served by Avenues are encouraged to live, work and make use of as many regular community services. In this way, they are part of the local economy, ultimately helping to pay for the support they need to gain independence.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, Avenues to Independence's program expenses were:

Palwaukee Development Training 1,549,669
CILA 1,278,722
SLA 721,291
Clifton House 528,978
HUD projects 107,369
Title XX 65,579
Vocational 61,298
DORS 43,843
Total Program Expenses: $4,356,749
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Chief Executive : Robert Okazaki, CEO

Chair of the Board: Jacqueline Kimel
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Retired special education teacher

Co-Chair of the Board : Margaret O'Herron

Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Retired Retail Executiv

Co-Chair of the Board : Fred Sasser

Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: CEO, Freight Car business

Board Size: 21

Paid Staff Size: 95

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
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Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

direct mail, telephone, invitations to fund raising events, print advertisements
Fund raising costs were 37% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $843,867, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
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Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
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The following information is based on Avenues to Independence's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011.

Source of Funds  
Government contracts 2,704,846
Program service 1,032,663
Public support 843,867
Other 103,183
Investment income 6,891
Total Income $4,691,450


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 85%  Fund Raising: 6%  Administrative: 9% 

Total income $4,691,450
Program expenses $4,356,749
Fund raising expenses 315,969
Administrative expenses 456,262
Total expenses $5,128,980
Expenses in Excess of Income (437,530)
Beginning net assets 2,615,534
Ending net assets 2,178,004
Total liabilities 1,824,966
Total assets $4,002,970

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An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

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