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Providence Center Celebrates 60 Years of Service

Providence Center is proud to celebrate 60 years of helping people discover and live their best possible lives.

Since our founding in 1961, Providence Center has supported thousands of people throughout Anne Arundel County. What started as a program supporting a handful of children has grown to a mix of community-based supports and services counted on today by nearly 400 adults and their families. The supports and services we’ve provided have evolved over the years, but a belief in people and a commitment to making sure everyone has opportunities to learn and grow has remained constant throughout our history. We are proud of our many years of service and are grateful to the people who had the vision for Providence Center 60 years ago, and to the countless staff, donors, partners and friends who have made sure that we continued to be a strong resource for our community.

The Providence Center family will celebrate our 60th anniversary throughout 2021 through social media, during our events, looking back and commemorating people and moments that have been central to our work, and looking ahead to our next 60 years. Thank you to our 60th anniversary planning committee for helping us to celebrate this milestone.


March 25, 1961- Opened as a day care center for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a donated home on Hilltop Road in Annapolis, the first day care of its kind in the state. The center was the inspiration of parents and teachers who wanted to provide learning opportunities and some respite for families. It opened with seven children, ages 1 to 15 years under the supervision of Ellie Beattie.

1963- Grand opening for a new building on Forest Drive – the first of its kind in the state and considered to be a pioneer project in the nation. The new building was built on five acres of donated land to provide services to a growing list of now 42 children under center Director Pat Hudson.


1971- The center officially adopted the name Providence Center Inc.

1971- Opened a state-of-the-art facility specifically designed for providing supports at Shore Acres Road in Arnold. The building was later named the Jean Bradbury Building in honor of Jean Bradbury, a long-time employee, who worked alongside Pat Hudson to support a growing number of people. In the early 1970’s Providence Center supported more than 100 hundred people.

In 1975, Providence Center shifted its focus to supporting adults with the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which established formal special education programs. 

1970 – 1990- Providence Center established training programs to develop work and life skills including a crafts programs, woodworking and pottery studios, a horticulture program, as well as a business that provided assembly and mailing services for local businesses. Three retail outlets, called Earthtones, were opened that sold pottery, woodwork, and crafts to the general public. A supported employment program was established to support people in jobs in the community.

1990- Charles “Chuck” Coble is named Providence Center’s Executive Director after Pat Hudson’s retirement.

1993- Hosted first Moran Golf Classic that is still a major fundraiser for Providence Center.

2012- Completion of multi-year capital campaign and groundbreaking for renovated Jean Bradbury Building.

2015- Providence Center hosts its first signature Harvest Bash fundraising event.

2016- Karen Adams-Gilchrist joins Providence Center as President and CEO after Chuck  Coble’s retirement.

2019- Career Services program is developed to best support job seekers to build careers of their choice based on a person-centered discovery process that leads to ideal job matches in competitive jobs with area employers.

2020- Providence Center’s CEO, leadership team and board members complete a 5-year strategic plan alongside people supported by Providence Center, their families, donors and other community partners to ensure the organization continues to deliver on its mission to support people to discover and live their best possible lives during its next 60 years of service and beyond.

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