MRC: Putting Abilities to Work
Purpose - History - Information
Although MRC changed its name from McKercher
Rehabilitation Center about 20 years ago, our mission has not changed. We've
always been geared to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities
and/or mental illness. MRC offers individualized skill building, advocacy
and a broad array of services and programs that promote productivity,
independence, integration and a sense of self-respect for persons with
MRC INDUSTRIES, INC. provides supports and accommodations
that assist individuals to be productive, independent and involved members
of their communities.
History & Information
MRC Industries, Inc. serves individuals
with developmental or learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries,
emotional impairments and mental illness. The organization began in the
1940s when a group of parents took the initiative to provide alternatives
for their disabled children.
Incorporating officially in 1969, MRC
has remained close to its family roots while evolving into a non-profit
agency that administers innovative and diverse services through its
programs: McKercher Services, Pathways Clubhouse,
Connections, and BridgeWays.
MRC’s service philosophy is that every
person is unique, valuable, and entitled to be treated with respect and
dignity. Person-centered programs and services focus on individual
needs, desires, strengths and abilities, supporting people to become
independent—at home, at work and in the community.
In all programs and services, MRC’s
highly trained staff members have made a career choice to work with people
with disabilities. They are skilled, committed individuals who enjoy having
caring and respectful personal relationships with the people they serve.
MRC is a 501(c)3 organization. Funding
sources include individual donor contributions, community-wide fundraising
events, federal, state and local grants, Community Mental Health, Medicaid,
the Greater Kalamazoo United Way, fees for services, and gifts to the Annual
Campaign and Endowment.
A Detailed History of MRC Industries
1940s - Small schools for
children with mental retardation are begun by concerned parents.
1950s Programs merge into the Kalamazoo School for Retarded Children with the
support of the Kellogg Foundation and Community Chest.
1960s The school moves to
the old Hoover School in Comstock.
1965 First industrial contracts
for the Kalamazoo School for Retarded Children come from the Shakespeare Co. and the
Upjohn Co. (Public Schools begin offering Special Education Classes.)
1969 McKercher Rehabilitation
Center incorporates to provide vocational services for adults with disabilities.
1970s McKercher begins
offering a wide range of production services such as assembly, sorting, collating,
packaging, drilling, machinery and woodworking. Rehabilitation services were funded
by the Kalamazoo County Community Mental Health Board.
Mid 1970s The McKercher
Non-Profit Housing Corporation is formed to operate three group homes, Stanton House,
Douglas House and Hoard Manor. Residential Opportunities Incorporated is formed to
manage these group homes and develop others.
1981 McKercher Rehabilitation
Center purchases the Shakespeare building at 205 E. Water Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
1982 Both programs are
consolidated at Water Street location.
1983 MRC Industries, Inc. is
adopted as the official name to reflect the desire for a higher profile within the
1985 Pilot program begins to
provide supported employment.
Late 1980s MRC receives
grants from the Developmental Disabilities Council, Michigan Rehabilitative Services and
Kalamazoo County Community Mental Health to expand its supported employment
1991 MRC moves to a new location
at 1310 Bank Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
MRC becomes administrator for Pathways,
a membership organization for individuals with mental illness.
1994 MRC wins grant to begin
School-To-Work employment services for young adults with disabilities.
MRC celebrates its 25th
1995 Bank Street facility
expands with new storage building.
1996 MRC purchases 119 W. Vine
building for Pathways.
1997 Pathways program celebrates
1999 MRC begins Youth Transition
program with a grant from Michigan Rehabilitative Services to serve youth with emotional
impairments. The program is called Connections.
2000 MRC Industries, Inc.
becomes a member of The Alliance for Community Supports along with residential
Opportunities, Inc., and Western Michigan University Center for Disability Services.
The Alliance begins Intermission, a
respite program for children and adults with disabilities.
MRC Industries, Inc. becomes the
administrator for Riverside clubhouse in Three Rivers, Michigan.
2001 The Alliance begins the
Alliance Senior Day Services program at 751 Pleasant St., Kalamazoo, Michigan, for
people with Alzheimers and other dementias.
MRC begins the Corner Clubhouse, a
Pathways program for people with mental illness ages
2004 - MRC's
BridgeWays Case Management is started to provide case management and
support services for individuals who experience symptoms of mental