This photo is of Anixter’s 13 founding women from back in 1919

Our History

THIS LONG AND CHERISHED HISTORY STARTED BACK IN 1919

It all began in 1919 when thirteen women founded an orphanage as a promise to their friend who had lost all but one of her children to the influenza epidemic. The Douglas Park Jewish Nursery was incorporated on June 6, 1919. It opened its doors on September 7, 1919 with beds for 40 children. The name changed in November to Douglas Park Jewish Day and Night Nursery.

Names of the Agency from 1919 to the Present

  • 1919 Douglas Park Jewish Day Nursery (September)
  • 1919 Douglas Park Jewish Day and Night Nursery (November)
  • 1956 Douglas Park Nursery and Training Center for Retarded Children
  • 1957 Chicago School for Retarded Children
  • 1979 Chicago Services for Work and Rehabilitation
  • 1983 THE CENTER for the Rehabilitation and Training of the Disabled
  • 1993 Lester and Rosalie Anixter Center (a.k.a. – Anixter Center)
    Lester and Rosalie Anixter were introduced to “The Center for the Rehabilitation and Training of the Disabled” by their accountant and good friend, Jack Ehrlich. Jack’s mother, Florence was one of the 13 women who founded the orphanage in 1919 that is now Anixter Center. “The Center” was renamed the Lester and Rosalie Anixter Center in 1993.

Our History

1979
01 Aug, 1979

1979

The agency’s name was changed to Chicago Services for Work and Rehabilitation, serving 500 people.

1983
01 Aug, 1983

1983

Changed the name of agency to THE CENTER for the Rehabilitation and Training of the Disabled.

1986
01 Aug, 1986

1986

Inaugurated the Factory Program to help special education students referred by the juvenile justice system in making the transition from school to work.

1989
01 Aug, 1989

1989

Purchased Pen Prints, Inc., a specialty imprinting and foil stamping business, to provide work experience to students in the Factory program. Pen Prints last year in business was 1995.

1993
01 Aug, 1993

1993

Lester and Rosalie Anixter were introduced to “The Center for the Rehabilitation and Training of the Disabled” by their accountant and good friend, Jack Ehrlich. Jack’s mother, Florence was one of the 13 women who founded the orphanage in 1919 that is now Anixter Center. “The Center” was renamed the Lester and Rosalie Anixter Center in 1993.

1996
01 Aug, 1996

1996

American Rehabilitation Association presented its Innovative Rehabilitation Award to Access at Anixter Center.

2000
01 Aug, 2000

2000

Evanston Home opened in June for eight medically fragile children.

2002
01 Aug, 2002

2002

The Factory is renamed, The Roberta Bachmann Lewis Factory Program, in honor of a beloved board member.

2004
01 Aug, 2004

2004

Anixter Center was named Chicago’s 12th largest charitable organization by Crain’s Chicago Business.

2006
01 Aug, 2006

2006

Anixter launches its new customized employment services program to help Anixter clients find jobs within the community.