On seven acres of unimproved land — donated by Andrews Air Force Base — our founders pitched an Army surplus tent.
They began to lay the infrastructure for a place where people with disabilities could gain specific job skills and earn self-generated income. Over the following decades, Melwood would pioneer many new milestones in the field that would be known as social-entrepreneurial ventures: businesses with the ‘double bottom line’ of providing revenue as well as jobs and independence for people with disabilities. The first successes came in horticulture. Our trainees cultivated plants through our founding program in horticulture rehabilitative therapy and sold them at work sites around the Washington D.C. area. That work led to grounds keeping and landscaping contracts, where Melwood crews consistently delivered good, dependable work. Today, Melwood celebrates over 50 years of providing jobs and services to people with disabilities. We continue to utilize the innovative and effective social-entrepreneurial model we were founded on to offer more people with disabilities the careful training they need to become proud and valuable members of the workforce in their communities continues to be a key part of Melwood’s mission.