Robert Stack (activist)

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Robert Paul Stack

(1955-11-15) November 15, 1955 (age 66)
McKeesport, PA
CitizenshipUnited States of America
Alma materUniversity of Dayton
OccupationFounder, President and CEO of Community Options

Robert Paul Stack (born November 15, 1955) is an American List of disability rights activists, author, and nonprofit executive.[1] He is the founder, President and CEO of Community Options.[2]


Stack was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania in 1955. He originally studied for the priesthood at St. Fidelis Seminary in Butler, Pennsylvania. During this time, he worked as a volunteer with children with significant disabilities. Stack withdrew from the seminary but later graduated from the University of Dayton in 1976 with a B.A. in Philosophy. Stack subsequently taught at Kent State University as a graduate assistant, receiving a Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Early Career

After graduating Kent State University in 1979, Stack began his career with the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities as an assistant recreational therapist at Long Island's Suffolk Developmental Center, where he opened the first two state-operated group homes. In 1981, Stack joined the New Jersey Department of Human Services as Executive Assistant and spokesperson to Eddie C. Moore, Director of the Division of Mental Retardation.[3] Stack wrote the original white paper advocating converting the Division of Mental Retardation into the Division of Developmental Disabilities. Stack left the state agency at the end of 1984 to serve as the Executive Director of United Cerebral Palsy Associations of New Jersey until 1988.

During Stack's term (from 1985 until 1988) the United Cerebral Palsy Associations of New Jersey demonstrated that people with disabilities can live outside institutions by placing 180 people with severe disabilities in jobs that paid significantly above minimum wage.[4]

Community Options, Inc.

In 1989, Stack founded Community Options, Inc. in Bordentown Township, New Jersey. Community Options seeks to help people who otherwise live in institutions find jobs and housing so they can live in the community, including people with developmental and intellectual disabilities such as autism spectrum, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, physical disabilities, traumatic brain injury and dual diagnoses.[5][6][2]

Stack has written two books, I Matter So Does Your Cause: Starting a Nonprofit in 2015 and a manual for Direct support professional called Meaningful Day: Day Program Services Curriculum & Staff Guidebook.


Stack has served on gubernatorial transition teams for both Democrat and Republican governors, serving as a member of Governor-elect Jon Corzine 2006 transition team and in 2009 being appointed to governor-elect Chris Christie|Chris Christie's transition team as Chair of the Developmental Disabilities Transition Team.[7]

Stack advocates for state governments to close institutions and move people with disabilities out of institutions and into the community. Stack has been vocal in his opposition to aversive conditioning.[8][9][10]

In 2008, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson appointed Stack to the Poverty Reduction Task Force.[11]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Stack advocated for additional Federal funding for employment programs for people with disabilities, asserting that funds were needed to address the significant increase in the number of people with disabilities in the US as a result of complications from the virus.[12] He was also an early advocate calling for providing hazard pay for caregivers and staff supporting people with disabilities.[13][14]

In December 2020, Stack urged state agencies to transition people with disabilities from long-term care centers into the community.[15][16][17]

He is on the board of directors for Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR).[18]


  • Meaningful Day: Day Program Services Curriculum & Staff Guidebook (2015, Publish Green, ISBN Special:BookSources/1634136632|1634136632)
  • I Matter So Does Your Cause: Starting a Nonprofit (2015, Publish Green, ISBN Special:BookSources/1329183045|1329183045)


  1. "Disability advocates press Congress to fund home health services". National Journal. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  2. 2.0 2.1 November 5, Dino FlammiaPublished; 2020. "New NJ site offers paid work, training to those with disabilities". New Jersey 101.5. Retrieved 2021-04-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. Hoopes, Judith (1984-02-19). "ADVOCATE AGENCY ACCUSED OF LAXITY". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  4. Cheslow, Jerry (1988-03-20). "Program Fashions Tools To Let the Disabled Work". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  5. Pizzutillo, Rich (2018-05-23). "Community Options: Believing in dignity for all". ROI-NJ. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  6. Bulletin, Community (2021-03-17). "Services for people with disabilities go virtual". nj. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  7. Desk, Star-Ledger Continuous News (2009-12-17). "CHRIS CHRISTIE TRANSITION TEAM". nj. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  8. "Non-profit urges state to pull disabled residents out of long-term care centers". New Jersey Globe. 2020-12-16. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  9. "Other Voices: Torturing children legally at taxpayers' expense". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  10. Business, United States Congress House Committee on Small (1996). Unfair Competition with Small Business from Government and Not-for-profits: Assessing the Current State of the Problem and Recommendations of the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business : Hearing Before the Committee on Small Business, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, Second Session, Washington, DC, July 16 and 18, 1996. U.S. Government Printing Office. ISBN 978-0-16-053880-3.
  11. Perera, Dilshanie (July 30, 2008). "Princeton Resident Named to Gov. Richardson's Task Force". Town Topics.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. Media, George E. Jordan | For NJ Advance (2021-03-28). "COVID is adding scores of newly disabled employees – and challenges – to the workforce". nj. Retrieved 2021-07-19.
  13. "COVID-19's disproportionate damage to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities | Video". NJ Spotlight News. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  14. Wadhwani, Anita; November 13, Tennessee Lookout; 2020. "Trio of U.S. Senators call for more COVID transparency in psychiatric facilities, homes for people with disabilities". Tennessee Lookout. Retrieved 2021-10-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. Biryukov, Nikita (December 16, 2020). "Non-profit urges state to pull disabled residents out of long-term care centers". New Jersey Globe.
  16. "Advocate Urges NJ Department of Human Services to Follow Federal Guidelines Transitioning People with Disabilities from Crowded Settings to Protect Them from COVID-19". Insider NJ. 2020-12-16. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  17. Columnist, Star-Ledger Guest (2021-01-04). "Murphy administration needs to stop warehousing people with disabilities | Opinion". nj. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  18. "Board of Directors". Retrieved 2021-12-08.

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