In 2015, Jim McCann, Founder and Chairman of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc., received a call from IGHL Founder and CEO Walter Stockton that would greatly improve the prospects for adults with developmental disabilities, their families and their communities.
Jim’s brother Kevin lived at Independent Group Living Home (IGHL) in Moriches, NY, a residence for people with developmental disabilities. Walter knew Kevin and other adult residents would flourish if they had the chance to work at meaningful jobs, but employment opportunities for disabled adults were scarce. Jim and his brother Chris had been seeking a charitable cause to connect with their company, and they knew this was their opportunity to make a difference. That same year, they partnered with IGHL to open the first Smile Farms campus.
Since then, Smile Farms has become a nonprofit leader in creating meaningful jobs in agricultural settings for adults with developmental disabilities, almost none of whom have worked before. For the first time ever, they are able to experience the satisfaction of mastering new skills, the pleasure of contributing to their team and community, and the thrill of taking home a paycheck.