Introduction to The Butters Foundation


A child born with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder needs care for life. Unlike a normal child, the disabled child doesn’t grow up to become an independent adult. He never ceases to need devoted and comprehensive care from his parents and, most probably, from service providers.

As his parents age, they begin to face health problems and their ability to care for their disabled child wanes. Help is needed to ensure the health, safety, and happiness of their child through adulthood and into old age.

Since 1976, the Butters Foundation has been doing just that. As a leading innovator of services and programs for intellectually disabled and autistic people and their families in the Montérégie region of Quebec, the Butters Foundation has helped many intellectually disabled and autistic people lead full and active lives.


The Butters Foundation Continuing the Legacy of Lily Butters

Lily Esther Butters started a home for intellectually disabled children in 1948 after completing military service during the Second World War. From her humble farm house, her operation grew into a 6 building complex housing over 435 children/adults along the western shores of Lake Memphremagog, Quebec by 1972. Mrs. Butters offered help to families of handicapped children and a home to countless children who could no longer stay at home. For her tireless efforts over 3 decades, she was awarded the Order of Canada in 1972. The Butters Foundation wishes to promote the legacy of Mrs. Butters by supporting families of intellectually disabled and autistic children and sponsoring innovative projects that will enhance best practices in the public rehab system in the province of Quebec and beyond.


The work of Mrs. Butters and her service to families with disabled children grew over time precisely because she never turned anyone away.  In 1976, 3 years after her retirement, the friends and family of Mrs. Butters created the Butters Foundation to honor her legacy and to continue her pioneering work. With the help of the Foundation, the Butters Center was the first large institution in the Province to completely transform itself into a community-based system. By 1990, the original institution in Austin was closed and new services were sprouting up throughout the Townships. Since 1990, the Foundation has invested more than 5 million dollars in community-based housing for intellectually disabled adults in the Townships and beyond.
By the year 2000, the Butters Foundation had branched out and was supporting innovative projects, managed by the public establishment, to support parents of disabled children and to encourage disabled children, adolescents and young adults to enjoy the wide variety of activities in the community. The Townships has been exceptionally welcoming to intellectually disabled people; something we can all be proud of.

Through each stage of development of the public establishment, formerly called the Butters Center, but now bearing the name of the CRDI Monteregie-Est, the Butters Foundation has been there to encourage the public establishment to evolve and better serve the disabled and autistic population of the area. From purchasing community-based housing, to supporting parents in their time of need, the Foundation has been there. Recently, the Foundation decided to support the creation of new best practices in treating intellectually disabled persons with severe behavioral problems. These troubled people cannot enjoy the benefits of community living due to their emotional and behavioral problems. In many cases, they have been moved around the public system for years, falling between the

Lily Butters receiving the Order of Canada in 1972

Lily Butters receiving the Order of Canada in 1972

cracks, failing to get the services they need because approriate services did not exist. The Butters Foundation is working to help intellectually disabled and autistic people who have never had the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of community life. These are the only remaining disabled people who cannot live in the community and enjoy the wide-ranging benefits of living in the Townships and in other parts of our Province.

The Foundation is grateful to have had the support of Townshippers and Quebecers from all corners of the Province since its first successful fundraising campaign in 1980 which allowed the Foundation to build a sheltered workshop for intellectually disabled people living in the Knowlton area.

Order of Canada

Order of Canada