Skip Content

Vinfen’s Timeline


1977 – A group of psychiatrists and social workers from the Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC) and Harvard Medical School decide to help people with psychiatric conditions, many of whom lived in hospitals, learn to live as members of the community. They create Vinfen. The name is derived from the two intersecting streets at the corner of MMHC: Vining Street and Fenwood Road.


1980- Vinfen begins providing residential, day, and employment services through ten innovative, person-centered programs, including Gateway Arts and Community Support Services.

1981- Vinfen’s services are expanded to the South Shore of Massachusetts.

1982– Vinfen is awarded the first Respite Care contract in Massachusetts. This model program, now called Family Support Services, is replicated throughout the state to provide short-term care for people with disabilities that gives families a break from care taking and time to manage their personal affairs.

1985- Vinfen broadens services again, expanding to the North Shore of Massachusetts.

1987- Vinfen creates new services for people experiencing homelessness.

1989– Vinfen opens a residential program for deaf individuals and establishes the first program for people with co-occurring disorders.


1991- 2,000 people are served by 840 creative, dedicated, and passionate Vinfen staff.

1992 – Vinfen hosts a visit by the President’s National Commission on AIDS. Several members of the Commission, including Earvin ”Magic” Johnson, visit our one of our residential programs to learn more about the HIV Community Outreach Services.

Vinfen’s People Care Clinic is created to offer a wide range of services designed to help people with psychiatric conditions, behavioral health disabilities, and substance abuse challenges regain their health.

Vinfen opens Webster House, a mental health Clubhouse that provides supports and services by combining employment, housing, and education services with social activities, life skills, wellness initiatives, arts-based rehabilitation, and advocacy.

Vinfen’s annual holiday giving program is started to raise funds to give gifts to people served who would not otherwise receive a gift during the holidays.

1993- The Vinfen Day Development Training Center expands to offer support to more than 70 people. To provide more specialized services, Vinfen divides the program into the Day Development and Habilitation Center that focuses on developmental skill training in independent living and self-care and the Employment Training Center that provides job skills training and experience to assist the people we serve in establishing their careers.

1996– The Vinfen Training Center is established to give staff the knowledge and skills they need to provide excellent services and support to the people we serve and prepare them for a rewarding and challenging career.

1998Gateway Arts expands services to provide careers in art to people living with psychiatric conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and behavioral health challenges.

1999Gateway Arts Store opens at 60 Harvard Street to sell goods created by the artists at Gateway Arts such as fine jewelry, wearable art, puzzles, cards, ceramics, woven rugs, pillows, and clothing.


2000- Vinfen expands our services again, opening three residential homes in Connecticut and establishing Vinfen Connecticut.

2002 – The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) awards Vinfen a national accreditation for the maximum three years.

2003- Vinfen awards the first annual Board of Directors Scholarship to help employees further their education, career, and commitment to the people Vinfen serves. The Board of Directors Scholarship is generously funded by Vinfen’s board members who firmly believe in supporting continuing education for staff.

2004- Vinfen launches a new All Stars initiative to recognize and reward employees for outstanding work and achievements that go above and beyond expectations.

20053,483 people are served by 2,083 staff in 250 programs.

Vinfen Connecticut hosts its first Winter Wonderland celebration. Individuals served and their loved ones are treated to a fancy dinner and dancing at this now annual event.

2007- Vinfen establishes our first peer-led and operated service.

2008: Vinfen hosts our first annual Moving Images Film Festival to raise awareness, educate our community, and fight prejudice and discrimination. Vinfen also hosts our first annual Celebration of Family Partnerships to honor families, advocates, self-advocates, and staff who have made a difference in the lives of the people we serve.

Vinfen is awarded by the Department of Mental Health to begin offering Community Based Flexible Support services (CBFS). The new model was created to better deliver services that support people’s path to recovery

2009: Vinfen opens a state-of-the-art, residential program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and complex medical needs in response to the 1998 Rolland v. Cellucci lawsuit that challenged whether people with these needs could live in community settings rather than in nursing facilities. Vinfen has since opened 3 additional programs offering medically intensive services to more than 50 individuals and their families.


2010: 6,946 people are served by 2,200 staff in 197 programs.

2011: Vinfen Connecticut opens Art Connection Studio, an innovative art center and gallery offering opportunities for learning and creativity development.

Vinfen establishes an annual Peer Leadership Award for outstanding employees who provide support to those we serve and contribute significantly to the peer movement.

Vinfen staff, supporters, and people we serve team up for the first time to race in a 190-mile relay called the Run-4-Life. The annual event raises awareness and funds for people with psychiatric conditions, who experience one of the most significant health disparities in the country.

Atlantic Clubhouse joins Vinfen to provide a community of support for individuals who are in recovery from mental illness in Quincy, Massachusetts.

2012: Vinfen is awarded a three-year Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) Health Care Innovation Award to develop Community Based Health Homes for Adults with Serious Mental Illness.

Baybridge and Cove Clubhouses join Vinfen, expanding our Clubhouse services to Cape Cod.

2013: Point After Club, Haverhill Clubhouse, and Plymouth Bay House join Vinfen and help us bring Clubhouse services both north and south of Boston.

2015: Vinfen is honored to receive the Scattergood Foundation Innovation Award for our Smartphone app aimed at supporting young adults with emotional and behavioral challenges at the Kennedy Forum Gala.

2016: 7,231 people are served by 2,703 staff in 228 programs.

2017: Vinfen Celebrates 40 years of transforming lives together.