ALI was founded in 2004, based on a model outlined by the Elderhostel Institute Network (EIN). Founded in 1975, Elderhostel was rebranded in 2010 to become Road Scholars. ALI began offering programs in 2005 and achieved 501c3 status in 2007. Originally partnered with the Chelsea Senior Center, it became an independent organization when it achieved non-profit status. Today, ALI works with the Chelsea Senior Center to offer classes at their location.
ALI has developed a strong collaborative relationship with the Chelsea Area District Library, which allows us to conduct programming at the Library facilities. These special programs are often held in the afternoon or evening and are free to the public.
In 2005, ALI also developed a relationship to offer classes by instructors of Sienna Heights University and Washtenaw Community College, and the relationship with WCC continues to this day. Since our founding, we have held around 600 classes, resulting in an estimated student contact time of more than 20,000 hours.
Today, ALI conducts two semesters each year, with around 20 classes offered each semester. Class offerings include science, history, the arts, culture, travel, and more. Of 350 lifelong learning organizations in the US, ALI is one of only 20 that are independent and community-based. Each year, students from around 20 communities attend our in-person classes including the 5 Healthy Towns communities of Chelsea, Dexter, Stockbridge, Manchester, and Grass Lake.
In order to keep our classes affordable, we leverage in excess of 2,200 volunteer hours every year, and we have collaborative arrangements for free classroom space with 10 organizations in Chelsea and surrounding communities.