Founded in 1975, the Providers’ Council is the largest human services trade association and is widely recognized as the official voice of the private provider industry.
In the 1970s, a movement began to include vulnerable individuals as part of the community. Social workers and other professional caregivers fought for the right for people to live as part of society. The deinstitutionalization movement launched a number of nonprofit organizations providing services to vulnerable individuals in the communities where they lived. For example, instead of orphanages, alternatives such as adoption, foster homes and community settings were considered for children. This movement brought people back into society, encouraging them to live and work within the community.
These newly formed community-based human services organizations needed to work together to ensure fair funding and legislation that both promoted and protected the right and dignity of the populations they served. In the mid 1970’s, a core group of members founded the Providers’ Council to represent their best interests and provide an exchange of communications, ideas and best practices.
Providers created a forum to gather, learn and celebrate: In 1976, the first Annual Convention of the Providers’ Council filled Hayden Hall at BU. This event now draws more than 1,100 attendees and more than 75 exhibitors annually, making it the largest human services convening in the Northeast. Past keynote speakers have included Gov. Michael Dukakis, Marian Wright Edelman, Les Brown, Patch Adams, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Dick Hoyt and Steve Pemberton.
Providers also sought resources to help them gain access to and group pricing on products like insurance. The Providers’ Council began its Endorsed Business Partner program with Palmer Goodell Insurance (now USI Insurance Services) in 1976 and has since expanded to offer products from Enterprise Fleet Management, Interior Resources, Purchasing Point, ReadyTalk and Unemployment Tax Management Corporation.