In early 1972, a gentleman named Leroy Fleenor who had achieved sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous conceived the idea of creating a treatment program for alcoholics. He felt that some individuals with alcohol issues needed structure and support in order to maintain sobriety. He began by establishing a community apartment that housed two men. At this time there was no public funding and the beginning of this project was privately funded by Leroy. After three months, two men had achieved and maintained sobriety with Leroy’s assistance. It became evident others could use benefit from expanded treatment opportunities. He sought the aid of men who were active in the recovery community: James Stansberry, Maury Simmons, George Elliot, Leonard Hardy, Forde Cooke and Al White. He asked them to join with him in his concept of developing a treatment program.
The small project took on a life of its own and became incorporated as a non- profit in 1973. The men mentioned above became its Board of Directors. John Betts was Project Ninety’s first Executive Director. Project Ninety Board of Directors thought it would be advantageous to request funding from the County of San Mateo. A contract of less than $10,000 was granted to provide treatment to 8 men in January 1974. The original contract provided for residential treatment. All administrative and supervisory duties continued to be provided on a voluntary basis.
Project Ninety established itself as a premier community provider, and ultimately secured funding that included salaries for staff. This success allowed Project Ninety to expand its treatment services to more individuals in the community. The idea of one individual helping a fellow alcoholic is the genesis of Project Ninety. It has expanded into a comprehensive organization that utilizes evidence based practices to deliver premier substance abuse treatment program.
Almost forty years later, Project Ninety has grown from having a two bedroom apartment in San Mateo to treating alcoholics and addicts.