History of the Barber National Institute

Making Dreams Come True Since 1952

Dr. Gertrude A. Barber

As an administrator in the Erie School District, Dr. Gertrude Barber was faced with the difficult task of telling parents that there was no place for their children with disabilities. These youngsters would either have to be educated at home or sent to a distant institution to live.

Dr. Barber believed there was a better way, and working with families, borrowed a room from the local YMCA to begin the first class for students with intellectual disabilities. 

Over the next 70 years, the organization founded by Dr. Barber has served children and adults in need because of the support of so many generous donors and friends.  The 70th Anniversary Club has been established for donors who want to ensure that our mission will continue for generations of children, adults, and families yet to come.

  In her own words:  Dr. Gertrude Barber talks about her mission

Please consider how you can join us:

$70 Anniversary membership
$150 Platinum Jubilee membership
$1,952 Founding member

Gifts of any amount to the 70th Anniversary Club will be greatly appreciated.
Donors making gifts of $70 or more will be recognized on our website and in a special celebration in Barber Spirit.
Gifts can be made online or by mail to 70th Anniversary, Dr. Gertrude Barber Foundation, 100 Barber Place, Erie PA, 16507.

Donate Now

Thank you to the following donors who made a gift to commemorate our 70th Anniversary and
ensure that Dr. Barber’s legacy continues for future generations.

Platinum Jubilee

Ms. Sandra Carangi
Jenifer Gross
Mr. Michael P. Martin
Mr. George Wilson and Mrs. Debbie Burbules

70th Anniversary Club

Mr. and Mrs. Garrett Antalek
Rev. Leo Gallina
Mr. and Mrs. Harry Hain
Ms. Marcia Osborne


Ms. Lynn Ackerman
Mrs. Roberta Cooney
Dr. Sharon Martin Coursey and Mr. Peter Coursey
Mrs. Roberta Dahlkemper
Mr. and Mrs. Terrence Ferrante
Ms. Caroline Gisler
Mrs. Milly Jaffe
Ms. Mary Frances Pirrello
Mrs. Lynn Schrimper
Mr. Joseph Sette
Mrs. Barb Swartz
Mr. Alec Tuckey

We hope you will join us in celebrating the milestones of our first
70 years of service are highlighted in this anniversary chronology.


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