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Our History

Cedars began in Ross, California as a privately-owned school for children with disabilities in 1919. A teacher at Cedars, Marie Tappendorff, and her brother bought the school in 1938 and Mrs. Tappendorff became its Director. In 1940, the first residence was built, followed by a second residence in 1946.

Cedars is one of California’s original programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization has consistently been a leader in the field, pioneering the creation of programs in education and work training.  Innovative services and programs honor and respect each individual and support a full life for everyone at Cedars.

At a time when the only option for many families was to place their loved one in a state run institution, Cedars was the first residential school in the western United States to offer individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to build a life in a community based home.


Cedars continues to create innovative programs to ensure that we fully support people to live happy and productive lives.   New and exciting changes are happening all the time.  Programs like Arts Interwoven gave our master weavers at Cedars Textile Arts Collaborative the opportunity to teach their craft to older adults in West Marin thanks to a grant from the Marin Community Foundation.


Cedars sponsored the creation of the Hands and Earth Co-op which provides an opportunity for business ownership for participants.  Cedars is building a deep base of knowledge in the area of dementia and disability through partnerships and trainings.  Cedars is committed to continual development of these types of programs and services to ensure we meet the needs of the people we serve. 

Cedars started caring for individuals in 1919 - since then we’ve continued to thrive - and will continue to evolve as we near our 100 year anniversary in 2019.

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