A New Leaf’s efforts to build a new housing and vocational skills training community in Owasso received a $1 million boost on Thursday.

The Hilti Family Foundation announced the donation at A New Leaf’s Broken Arrow headquarters.

The agency, which provides housing and job skills training for individuals with developmental disabilities and autism, is in the process of raising $27 million for its expansion project, called The Village.

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The Village will provide housing and support for individuals with developmental disabilities and autism to live independently and include a two-acre farm, horticulture training center and administration building.

“People with developmental disabilities want to live independently just like you and I do, but they can’t afford housing,” said Mary Ogle, A New Leaf CEO.

The agency’s headquarters will remain in Broken Arrow.

“This is an investment in Tulsa County,” Ogle said. “A New Leaf has been working for 40 years in this community, and this is the next step in our legacy of helping people with developmental disabilities.”

The first phase is $19 million, which will be raised over the next two years and include a community home, five single family homes, an efficiency apartment building, a transitional academy that will house 24 clients — ideal for clients graduating high school and moving out of their parents’ home — a dining hall, an administration building and a one-acre farm.

The second phase is estimated at $8 million and will include housing for 43 clients through an additional community home, five more single family homes and another efficiency apartment building, plus a wellness center and dining hall as well as a one-acre farm.

“After high school everyone else goes away to college or moves out of their parents’ house, but if you’re a person with a disability you’re sort of stuck at home,” Ogle said. “They are going to be able to find independent housing in our community and eventually they’ll move out into a home of their own somewhere in the community.”

A New Leaf currently operates two group homes and 22 other homes throughout the Tulsa area. Just 10 years ago it served 60 people. Today it serves 325 through its residential and vocational services.

The new community, once both phases are complete, will allow the agency to serve 100 additional clients in housing and another 100 in vocational training.

“All together, we will have an impact of serving 525 adults with disabilities and will expand the staff we employ to 350 individuals,” Ogle said.

Michèle Frey-Hilti, managing director of the Hilti Family Foundation, said the donation is close to her heart because she has a relative with developmental disabilities.

“It’s great to see how institutions like these give individuals the opportunity to improve their lives out of their own virtues and to reach an independent life,” Frey-Hilte said.

The Hilti Group supplies technology products, systems, software and services to the construction industry worldwide. The Liechtenstein-based company employs nearly 27,000 people in more than 120 countries.

Hilti North America has more than 3,300 employees and has had a presence in Tulsa since 1979. There are 450 local employees.

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Mike Averill

918-581-8489

mike.averill@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @Mike_Averill