For 62 years Eggleston has provided education, training and employment for persons with disabilities. Our latest annual report will give you a comprehensive view of our operations, our history and the impact we make in people’s lives right here in Hampton Roads.
We help individuals with disabilities gain independence, confidence and increased feelings of self-worth through on-the-job training and stable, rewarding work opportunities.
When Eggleston opened in 1955 as the Tidewater Vocational Center, we served only seven individuals with disabilities. Today, we serve hundreds through 33 programs and 22 locations, and our services expand every year.
We continue to grow our services through partnerships with businesses and government institutions, offering our participants the chance to earn a living and lead full and independent lives. The programs offered by Eggleston benefit our participants at Home, at Work, and at Play.
History of Eggleston
Eggleston was first conceived by a group of parents who wanted to find meaningful daytime activities for their adult children with disabilities. Most of these adult children were medically classified as suffering from intellectual disabilities or cerebral palsy. The early meetings took place in people’s homes and by August of 1955, a Board of Directors was chosen and the organization was incorporated as the Tidewater Vocational Center (TVC), a not for profit organization which would provide sub contract work for local industries. Operations began at 621 Botetourt Street, in Norfolk, Virginia with eight employees.
By 1965, as the center celebrated its 10th anniversary, many changes had taken place. The center moved to a larger location, a parent’s auxiliary board had been formed, and training activities for program participants included gardening, printing and a laundromat. By then there were 80 employees with disabilities.
Although the center was initially created to serve only individuals with intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy, it was decided in March of 1968 that the center would begin accepting individuals with physical impairments as well.
During the 1970’s, Tidewater Vocational Center began a food service training program, a service station training program, and planted the first of the azaleas at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Also, training centers were started in Portsmouth and Chesapeake, and the organization celebrated its 20th anniversary.
A local philanthropist and TVC volunteer, Mrs. Louise W. Eggleston, offered the use of a much larger building she owned, with TVC only paying reduced rent until she passed away, at which time the building would be donated to Eggleston.
Tragically, six months later Mrs. Eggleston died, and the building became the property of TVC. To memorialize her gift, the board voted to change the name of the organization to the Louise W. Eggleston Center.
By the early eighties, The Eggleston Center expanded to offer five program choices serving 156 persons with disabilities supported by 29 staff members.
The 30th anniversary of The Eggleston Center was celebrated by the receipt of two awards; “The Most Valuable Facility” award and “The Small Vocational Facility of the Year” award both from the Virginia Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.
During the remainder of the decade of the 1980’s, The Louise W. Eggleston Center continued to expand. The center was now operating a deli, providing food distribution to the area’s poor, providing custodial services to the Virginia Zoological Park, and providing packaging services to Wesley International and Procter and Gamble.
In 1990, the center was awarded two NISH (National Industries for the Severely Handicapped) federal contracts; the first at Langley Air Force Base providing commissary warehousing and shelf stocking and the second at Portsmouth Naval Hospital providing food service. These two contracts were the beginning of a long and beneficial relationship with the federal government where persons with disabilities could provide needed services.
In 1992, two additional NISH contracts were awarded to Eggleston, the first at the Norfolk Naval Station Galley providing food service. The second was a laundry operation providing laundry service to Portsmouth Naval Hospital.
In August of 1993, Eggleston was approached by the Army Corps of Engineers to assume mail room operations at its Norfolk location.
The expansion of services offered by The Louise W. Eggleston Center continued through the 1990’s and included three specialized services programs: a business services division, a community-based employment division which sought to place workers into private companies in the region, and a government contracts division.
In more recent years, the company shortened its name to Eggleston as a result of continued expansion of all of our services, to both businesses and the rehabilitation community.
In January of 1998, Eggleston purchased and moved into a property on Tidewater Drive which for many years served as a business fulfillment center. The facility offered services such as packaging, mailing bulk assembly and clients included companies such as Cox Communications, Blackhawk Industries and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.
A joint horticultural program with the Virginia Zoological Park was opened in the spring of 1999. Originally known as Tanner’s Creek Garden Center, this operation raised plants in greenhouses and sold them in a retail store.
That same year, Eggleston joined with the Civitan Club of Norfolk to enhance opportunities for citizens with disabilities by offering vacations and other specialty services at Civitan Acres, a 14-acre resort and wellness facility located on Cedar Road in Chesapeake, Virginia.
In September of 2001, Eggleston moved its administrative staff and laundry operations into its new corporate headquarters at 1161 Ingleside Road in Norfolk, Virginia.
Eggleston also started a vehicle donation program, and began to make a greater effort to be known in the community through radio and television marketing efforts. The vehicle donation program is unique in that every aspect of the donation process is handled by Eggleston from the phone operators to the vehicle preparation, towing and ultimately auctions which are held twice monthly.
During the early 2000s, Eggleston continued to grow, adding unique programs outside the traditional sheltered workshop model. Its expanded role in the community included business-to-business services like our embroidery, business fulfillment, document shredding, document conversion.
In 2010 Eggleston purchased and renovated a large facility on Military Highway in Norfolk, and with the assistance of a $150,000 grant from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. This new facility offered the capacity to accommodate 80-100 employees, in a facility specifically designed to meet the needs of persons with disabilities.
In the fall of 2012, Eggleston introduced “drive through” auto auctions.
In recent years we have also added programs for veterans with disabilities, such as our Warrior Bridge program, and started a foundation to help persons who support our mission make a lasting gift that will ensure we can meet the needs of persons with disabilities for years to come. Also will continue to pursue and create residential options suited to the unique needs of each individual and in accordance with state of federal governmental outlines for providing residential care.
Eggleston is a multi-faceted and vibrant organization serving the needs of persons with disabilities. Eggleston has added residential services, day-support programs, seniors programs and extensive supported employment programs dedicated to the empowerment of persons with disabilities.