Our Story

In March of 2011 Independence Network, a program that serves adult individuals with a wide range of disabilities, including Autism and Downs Syndrome, was on the verge of closing due to severe budget shortfalls. Out of this fiscal crisis, Friends of the Independence Network Students, Inc was born when parents and other family members of the IN students banded together. FINS raised enough emergency funds to keep a downsized version of the original Independence Network program running for four consecutive school years and now seeks to expand our base of support beyond family and friends to the community at large.

Our Mission & Vision

Friends of Independence Network Students, Inc, in partnership with program professionals, is dedicated to providing a broad spectrum of support to the Independence Network Program. Our goal is a financially stable, continuously improving, enriching educational and vocational setting for the students of Independence Network.
Our vision for Independence Network is that it will continue to provide a life-long learning environment for students of all ages, knowing that no matter what an individual’s intellectual capabilities are, everyone is able to continue to learn and grow given the proper support and encouragement.

Our Purpose

Independence Network is an exceptional, one of a kind program that cannot continue without FINS support. FINS needs community and corporate support to continue enhancing and improving the Independence Network program. This support can include individual donations, corporate sponsorship, employer matching funds, and/or grants.

FINS Board

Joan Photo

Joan Forte Scott, President

Joan is a Nurse with an MBA and formerly was an administrator at Stanford Health Care. Currently she is a Healthcare Consultant. Her daughter has been a student of Independence Network since 2006.

Claudia Mellor, Secretary

Retired Special Education Para-educator. She has a daughter and a son who have been Independence Network students for 16 years.

Joyce Furse, Treasurer

Retired, spent 30 years in Sales in the field of Electronic Components for various Rep firms. Has a son who has attended Independence Network for the past 22 years.

Kathy Wilson, Fundraising Chairperson

Retired Registered Nurse with a 36 year old daughter attending Independence Network.

Steve Wilson, Board Member

Retired Sales Professional with with a 36 year old daughter attending Independence Network

Shraddha Desai

S. Desai, Board Member

S. Desai is a teacher by profession, and currently works with children who are differently abled in Santa Clara Unified School District. She has a daughter who has attended and greatly benefited from Independence Network since 2006.

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