Noble Centers were founded in 1953 by parents of children with developmental disabilities. More than 100 parents met at the World War Memorial, where they created an organization to provide formal education for their children. At the time, doctors advised that children with low IQ scores be placed in institutions. Families who chose to keep their children often sheltered them at home. Founders created the first Noble School in 1960 based on the belief that their children could learn and contribute to society.

Three men stand next to each other under a sign the reads "The Noble School."
Founders of the Noble School, n.d. Credit: Noble, Inc. View Source

By 1973, public schools were required to include children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In response, Noble expanded to include services for preschool children and adults. It offered persons with developmental disabilities job opportunities. Noble also began working with the Indianapolis business community to secure jobs in a variety of occupations in the 1980s, and in the 1990s, Noble focused on expanding services to meet the needs of children from birth to age three. 

Since then, Noble has grown to serve 23 counties in central and eastern Indiana, with 5 locations, 300 employees, and a volunteer base of over 600 people. Noble helps hundreds of individuals with disabilities develop their skills, achieve their career goals, and earn a paycheck through their employment services programs.

Noble provides day services that include therapeutic art, gardening, and community exploration. Other services include music therapy, recreational therapy, and additional opportunities to give back to the community through volunteer work. Noble provides summer day camps to young people of all abilities and respite care to families. In 2018, Noble supported 2,800 people of all abilities.

Noble also serves as The Arc of Greater Indianapolis. The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As the Indianapolis branch of Arc, Noble represents individuals with developmental disabilities before all levels of government. It collaborates with other organizations to host legislative forums and to testify before legislative communities on all issues that affect them.

Two people fill boxes with cans of soda.
Noble of Indiana empowers people with disability to serve, 2018 Credit: Mykal McEldowney, IndyStar View Source

Noble’s annual revenue of approximately $13 million comes from individual donations, service fees, and government grants. In addition, Noble received a $10 million capacity-building grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. in 2018.

Revised March 2021

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