Lakeshore Foundation

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The Lakeshore Foundation is a non-profit rehabilitation center which offers fitness, recreation, athletic and educational programs to people with physical disabilities or disabling conditions. The foundation is located on a 45-acre campus off Lakeshore Drive and Old Montgomery Highway in Homewood. The center employs a staff of more than 80, and also houses the Birmingham offices of the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and HealthSouth's Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital.

Jeff Underwood served as president and CEO from the Foundation's establishment in 1991 until his retirement in 2021. He was succeeded by John D. Kemp.

The Lakeshore Foundation works with injured military personnel and their families through the Lima Foxtrot program. Its facilities are also used for Olympic and Paralympic training and in international wheelchair sporting events. Wheelchair rugby competitions at Lakeshore were featured in the 2005 documentary film "Murderball".

The foundation had assets of over $123,000,000 with over $83,000,000 in cash and securities at the end of 2007.

A 2008 addition and renovation of the Foundation's 54-bed housing facility was designed by KPS Group and built by HOAR Construction. The project was certified by the U. S. Green Building Council as meeting the requirements of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

In 2010 Capstone Development helped lead a campaign to construct the Cottages of Lakeshore as temporary residences for Lima Foxtrot participants. In 2015 the hospital announced plans for a 20,220-square foot addition, converting many shared patient rooms to single rooms and making more areas accessible to disabled visitors. The addition, completed in September 2020, includes five telehealth suites, an education kitchen, a multi-media center, several studios, and office space for the Foundation, the UAB-Lakeshore Research Collaborative and the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability.


In response to a rising number of tuberculosis cases in the early 20th century, the Birmingham community saw the need to establish a tuberculosis hospital. Land along Lakeshore Drive was donated and the Jefferson Tuberculosis Sanatorium opened in 1925. In the 1960s, with tuberculosis no longer a significant public health threat, the board of directors began discussing how best to use the facility, and chose to create a physical rehabilitation hospital.

Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital opened in 1973. Rather than hire administrators, the board contracted Baptist Healthcare System to manage the hospital for a few years. During that time UAB master's student Michael Stephens was an intern at the hospital. When he finished his degree in health administration, Stephens assumed the role of hospital administrator. While operating the hospital, Stephens observed a need for long-term physical activity programs to improve the health of people living with disabilities. As part of that campaign, Lakeshore began sponsoring a wheelchair basketball team in 1974. Additional sports such as tennis, swimming, track, aerobics and youth sports were soon added. In the 1980s Lakeshore expanded the recreational facilities on the hospital campus and the Lakeshore Foundation was incorporated to manage those programs.

The Lakeshore Foundation continues to operate fitness and recreational programs for individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions. Since 2001 it has also conducted research into the effectiveness of such programs, and advocated for public awareness and policies that expand access to them through its Research and Education Department. In 2009 Lakeshore partnered with UAB to form the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative, led by Jim Rimmer.

In 2003 Lakeshore was recognized as an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site. Lakeshore established a Lima Foxtrot Program for injured military veterans in 2006.

In 2024 the Lakeshore Foundation opened a new 6,500 square-foot Lakeshore Sports Science and Performance Center (Lakeshore SPPC) on its campus.


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