Our History

Joni and Friends has been serving individuals and families affected by disability for 40 years.

1960s

1967

Seventeen-year-old Joni Eareckson Tada takes the dive that left her a quadriplegic, dramatically changing her life.

1970s

1974

Joni's appearance on The Today Show opens the door to national exposure.

1976

The first edition of the Joni book is released. Joni's autobiography is eventually translated into more than 45 languages resulting in over 5 million copies in print.

1979

The Joni movie is released. As it is shown around the world, more than 250,000 people are introduced to the Gospel and place their hope in Christ.

1979

Joni and Friends ministry is established to address the needs of families affected by disability. Joni and a small but dedicated staff begin the work from a two-room office in California.

1980s

1982

Joni begins recording the inspirational Joni and Friends radio program, providing encouragement, biblical insights, and disability awareness.

1988

President Ronald Reagan appoints Joni to the National Council on Disability. Joni advocates for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

1990s

1990

Joni attends the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act at the White House.

1991

After attending a "Family Conference" sponsored by the federal government and National Council on Disability, Joni challenges the ministry to provide a retreat for families affected by disability. The first Family Retreat was held in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

1994

Wheels for the World is founded to share the Gospel and provide mobility to people affected by disability in developing countries. The first wheelchair is provided in Ghana, West Africa.

1997

The Joni and Friends International Disability Center opens its doors in Agoura Hills, California.

2000s

2004

Joni and Friends begins providing Family Retreats around the world through International Family Retreats.

2007

The Christian Institute on Disability is founded to provided higher education and training on disability-related issues from a biblical perspective.

2010s

2014

Wheels for the World delivers the 100,000th in Ghana.

2017

Joni celebrates 50 years of God's faithfulness to her in her wheelchair.

2019

Joni and Friends celebrates the 40th anniversary of ministry to individuals and families affected by disability!