Vanguard Landing’s founder, Debra B. Dear, initiated this effort to address the severe lack of residential and vocational opportunities by providing more choices for this much-deserving and hard-working group of our fellow citizens.
Following a three year feasibility study and extensive research period, which determined the increasing need for and extreme shortage of residential, vocational and recreational resources for adults with intellectual disabilities, Dear gathered a core group of volunteers and incorporated Vanguard Landing, Inc. as a Virginia non-stock, non-profit corporation. Vanguard Landing applied for and obtained 501c3 IRS status in December of 2011. Dear and a dynamic group of people representing various professions, educational and training programs as well as family members of some of our target population formed a founding Board of Directors and Advisory Board along with a Volunteer Corps, aptly named the VANTEERS. This group determined that it was past time for this type of progressive community to be introduced in Virginia. All of the communities similar to Vanguard Landing around the country are full with extensive waiting lists.
In October 2012, a public announcement and press conference event was held at Blue Pete’s, a popular restaurant in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach to initiate a public campaign to spread the word of the mission of Vanguard Landing.
In February of 2013, a signature fundraising event called Hearts on Fire was held a the Cavalier Yacht & Country Club in Virginia Beach resulting in pledges, In-Kind donations and funds totaling nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
In July of 2013, after a three year search, a Land Announcement Event, Sweet Summer Sunday, was held at Tini’s Frozen Yogurt in the Great Neck area of Virginia Beach to celebrate finding the perfect parcel of land for the Vanguard Landing community.
In February of 2014, Vanguard Landing closed on the purchase of four perfect parcels of land to create a wonderful 75 acre parcel in the southern area of Virginia Beach within seconds from the bustling Redmill Commons shopping complex and in between several vibrant residential neighborhoods on Princess Anne Road leading to the Pungo area of the city. Recognizing the extreme need for such a progressive “community within a community” for our friends and family members who have an intellectual disability, the city of Virginia Beach along with the VB City Council entered into a partnership with Vanguard Landing to authorize the city’s Economic Development Authority to provide funding to help purchase the land via a 0% interest loan!
In April of 2014, Vanguard Landing held its FIRST annual Signature Event – “Hearts & Hoofbeats” – at the Beautiful Cedar Hall Farms as guests of Holly and Paul Beatson. This massive two day event included a Southern Belle’s Tea Luncheon and Fashion Show, Vendor Marketplace, a certified family and animal friendly BLM Rodeo, The Skylight Gala Dinner and multiple Auctions, Car Show, Todd Duncan’s Dog Show along with children’s activities and more! A very special celebrity, Huff the Doritos dog, was our special guest! It was a huge success!
In July of 2014, Vanguard Landing took possession of the circa 1855 Farmhouse on the property and renovated it a little to become the headquarters and temporary office space!
In 2015 we held additional fundraisers and events, including the 2015 Hearts & Hoofbeats celebration. We also started accepting applications for residents and began final adjustments to our master site plan.
April 2016 Video Update: