Our History

Founded in 1968 as Nauset Workshop, Cape Abilities now serves over 400 individuals with disabilities throughout Barnstable County.  We are very proud that 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to our programs (far exceeding the industry standard).  We have operated with revenues exceeding expenses for the past 26 consecutive years. Our organization is guided by a Board of Directors with exceptional and diverse backgrounds, who are deeply invested in our community. Cape Abilities is, likewise, a strong member of the Cape Cod community, where our program participants live, work and volunteer, and forge meaningful partnerships with individuals and businesses throughout the community.

Cape Abilities has a long and distinguished history on the Cape, and our growth has been achieved not only through innovative programming and strong business partnerships, but through the commitment and generosity of the Cape Cod Community as well.

Each and every day we work to find ways to make life better for the hundreds of individuals we serve.  Below is a brief, historical testimony of that commitment in action.

1968  – Cape Abilities is founded as Nauset Workshop in Orleans on Cape Cod. A work center setting provides jobs for Cape Codders with disabilities

1973  – The first work center in Hyannis opens.

1975 –  Residential Services program is established.

1982 –  The Cochran Center is established in Eastham.

1988 – The Lyndon Center opens in Hyannis.

1991 –  Nauset Workshop is renamed Nauset, Inc. to reflect the expansion of services beyond a workcenter setting.

1994 –  Arts program is launched. Employment opportunities are expanded through the establishment of a contract with NISH for services at Air Station Cape Cod in Bourne.


1997 –  Falmouth office opens.

1998 –  Residential program expands to include Shared Living. Cape Abilities Vending business is launched.

2001 –  The Day Habilitation program is established in Hyannis.

2002 –  Welcome to Cape Cod, a Cape Abilities business, is launched.

2005 –  Nauset, Inc. is renamed capeAbilities to reflect our work with people with disabilities across Cape Cod.

2006 –  Cape Abilities Farm is launched on Route 6A in Dennis.

2008 – capeAbilities name is renamed Cape Abilities. Cape Abilities Farm in Dennis and Marstons Mills are donated to Cape Abilities.

2009 – Cape Abilities Consignment & Thrift Shop opens in Barnstable Village.

2011 – Cape Abilities forms a partnership with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to create employment for people with disabilities at WHOI.

2011 – Cape Abilities Farm to Table opens in Chatham, featuring Cape Abilities Farm products plus local art and more.

2011 – AppsAbilities is launched to make full use of technology that can benefit people with disabilities.

2012 – Our new greenhouse is completed at the Lyndon Center in Hyannis, creating additional jobs for our participants and increasing our yield of tomatoes, annuals and other crops for Cape Abilities Farm.

2012 – Cape Abilities purchases home in Sandwich to launch new residence for adults with brain injuries.

2013 – Cape Abilities Furniture Rescue & Restore is developed, providing employment for Cape Abilities participants and giving new life to old furniture.

2013 – Cape Abilities announces plans to develop Homestead Center, “Moving Forward on the Autism Spectrum,” at our Marstons Mills Farm site. Homestead Center will offer day programs, horticulture, culinary arts and a resource center for families.

Exterior2013 – Our Chatham shop is renamed Cape Abilities Farm to Table Market & Gallery, to better reflect its broad array of merchandise.

2013 – Selected as finalist for Innovation Award by Mass Nonprofit Network.

2013 – Established partnership with the nonprofit Sail Cape Cod to offer our participants exciting adventures on Cape waters.

2013 – Chosen as a beneficiary for CARE (Creating a Responsible Environment) for the Cape & Islands, a philanthropy travel initiative.