History

Over 40 Years of Innovation.

Since opening in 1981, Penn-Mar Human Services has evolved to become the region’s leading provider of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Whether you’re a person we support, a family member, a team member, a volunteer, or a member of the community at large, our goal is to enrich every life we touch and support a life well lived.

In the last 40 years, Penn-Mar has grown exponentially, adding new and innovative programs to further support the people we serve. Yet we began as a very modest operation. 12 visionary families teamed up to help their adult children unlock new opportunities for independence, with a focus on community inclusion. Meeting on weekdays at the Maryland Line United Methodist Church, the initial budget in 1981 was just $2,000.

Today, Penn-Mar supports nearly 2,000 people a year with an operating budget of over $40 million, and multiple dedicated locations across Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as numerous community living homes.

It didn’t happen overnight, but when those brave families began this endeavor, I don’t think they ever imagined Penn-Mar would become what it is today,” says Penn-Mar CEO and 30-plus year employee Greg Miller. “The reason we’ve been able to grow so consistently is that our goal has never wavered: give people with IDD the chance to live their best life, filled with as much independence, opportunity, and fulfillment as everyone else. That focus has helped us arrive to where we are and propels us into each new day.”

In 2019, Penn-Mar completed a merger with Westminster, MD-based Change, Inc., allowing our collective organizations to fulfill an ongoing promise to provide support to as many people with IDD as possible. But as our CEO sees it, the success doesn’t rest solely with Penn-Mar, but with the communities, businesses, volunteers, and supporters who have been a part of our organization’s steady progress.

Penn-Mar cannot exist in a vacuum. It takes an entire community to fuel the diverse and inclusive opportunities we’re seeing today, and Penn-Mar wouldn’t be what it is today without the courage and vision of hundreds of people. We’re immensely proud of each milestone, accomplishment, and success story from the past 40 years, but we’re not done. Each day, we start by asking the same question we’ve been asking since 1981:

          what else can we do?”