We’re Celebrating 50 Years!


2021 is an exciting year at Accord! We’re celebrating our 50th Anniversary! This is a year to celebrate our accomplishments, the amazing people we support, our community, and our dedicated staff. We will be launching a special year-long promotion that showcases our history and celebrates our first 50 years as a nonprofit organization.

It was a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens that laid the groundwork for what eventually became Accord.

In the late 1960’s, Associate Pastor Tom Zemek from Westminster Presbyterian Church attended a meeting of the Arc. By chance, another member of the congregation, Peggy Tillitt, was also at the meeting. At this meeting they learned about the needs of a number of adults with developmental disabilities in their community.

Some adults had moved back home from the state institutions to be with family, but were in need of support to be a part of their community. Other people who had been living with family for many years were anxious to start a life of their own. What was needed was a supportive, supervised environment where people could learn independent living skills while living in their own apartment.  The Apartment Training Program, which opened in 1971, was the first initiative of Accord.

Thoughtful citizens have continued to provide the catalyst for change since Accord was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1971. At Accord, we make it possible for people living with disabilities or mental health to achieve their personal and career goals and live life to the fullest. We take a proven, evidence-based approach to improve personal outcomes and quality of life for adults and families in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, offering a unique array of transformative programs and services delivered by dedicated, caring staff. We listen to their needs. We learn from their experiences. And we use those insights to lead the industry in person-centered care and support.

Above anything else, we take a person-centered approach to everything we do. We’re here to help people live their greatest lives. And we know that every individual has different needs, which is why we get to know the people we serve so we can guide them to the support that fits their needs. Together, we are helping to create a brighter future for citizens who are all too often overlooked or misunderstood by making sure their voices are heard.

This next year Accord plans to create a database of all known living founders, board members, and staff involved in the history of the organization. We also plan to create a historical display in our St. Paul and Vadnais Heights location, along with a 50th Anniversary memorabilia museum. We’ll also be hosting events and fundraisers to celebrate our first 50 years.

Be on the lookout for more information in the coming months! We are so excited to celebrate this milestone with all of you.