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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Independent Living & The Rehabilitation Act

National Council on Independent Living 2018 Annual Report

Dear Advocates and Friends,

We are pleased to announce that NCIL’s 2018 Annual Report is now available at our website.

Peace in my mind,
Love in my heart,
When my friend can have his way and his part,
A home from the start.

I’m so proud of the amazing work the Independent Living community accomplished in 2018.

The beauty of NCIL is that you, our members and supporters, run the show. In 2018, you fought attacks on the Americans with Disabilities Act, gained the support of a record number of co-sponsors for the Disability Integration Act, testified about the devastating impact of Electronic Visit Verification, and spoke out against policies that would limit access to opioids for people with chronic pain. Your tireless advocacy made all the difference.

[Read more…]

Action Alert: Invite Your Members of Congress to the 2019 NCIL Congressional Briefing & Reception on Capitol Hill!

Note: Online RSVPs are closed as of 5:00 p.m. Eastern on Friday, February 22. Individuals who do not RSVP can still attend the event (space permitting) and can register on site.

Dear NCIL Members,

It’s time for the annual NCIL Congressional Briefing & Reception on Capitol Hill! If you are in the DC area, we hope you will join us. Please see the event details and RSVP at our website.

Wherever you are, we are asking for your help to get your members of Congress to attend this briefing. NCIL, as the national advocate for CILs, SILCs, and the Independent Living philosophy, has the mission of being your voice in Washington DC and representing your interests. NCIL hosts this annual briefing and reception in order to educate members of Congress on a number of relevant policy initiatives that aim to advance disability rights and the ability of people with disabilities to live more independently.

[Read more…]

The National Organizing Project Presents… A Teleconference and Webinar: Advocacy – We CAN Do It!

Advocacy, Advocacy, Advocacy! Several of the CIL Core Services are all about advocacy, but are we succeeding? Are we making the most of the resources we have to make the changes we need?

Confused about what funding stream you can use to do what work? Don’t know where the line is? Unsure of where the line between lobbying and advocacy is, and therefore not going near it?

Well, have we got the teleconference / webinar for you!

[Read more…]

CIL-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar: Investing in the Independent Living Movement Means Investing in Youth

March 20, 2019; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online or by using the printable registration form (PDF)

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are required to support young people with disabilities as they transition to adulthood. This is a core service of CILs, but one that many CILs are still figuring out how to best provide. Before any services or support can be achieved, CILs must understand how to get youth with disabilities meaningfully engaged in their CIL and the Independent Living Movement. This work is not easy, but it can be done with the right staff, expectations, and understanding of the young people with disabilities in your community.

Our presenters will share concrete ways your CIL can reach young people, help them see your CIL as something they should be a part of, and get them involved for years to come. Investing in youth will improve our organizations and ensure the future of the Independent Living Movement.

You won’t want to miss this webinar on core services and the future of our Movement. Sign up today!

Registration Fee: $75.00. Fee is per site and does not apply per participant; registrants are encouraged to gather as many individuals as desired to participate.

[Read more…]

Apply for NCIL’s 2019 Summer Policy Internship Program by Monday, April 1!

Each semester, the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) hosts up to 2 internship positions at our office in Washington, DC. The Policy Internship Program provides real Washington policy experience to participants at a highly respected national organization. Interns gain valuable experience in the nation’s capital and build skills necessary to be ideal candidates for positions at NCIL, CILs, and other advocacy organizations around the country.

[Read more…]

CIL-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar: Supporting Your CIL Board for Success

February 20, 2019; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online or by using the printable registration form (PDF)

Sure, your Center for Independent Living (CIL) board runs the organization, but there is still a lot that you can do to prepare them for success. The Executive Director and staff often know much more about the day-to-day operations and ins-and-outs of the organization than volunteer board members. That knowledge is so valuable to making the best decisions for the organization – from financial management to strategic planning and everything in between. Join us in February for tips and guidance on supporting your CIL board to do their best job. We’ll share strategies for recruitment, orientation, communications, evaluating the Executive Director, leadership development, and more!

This webinar is not just for Executive Directors. CIL staff and board members are encouraged to attend!

[Read more…]

2018 Outcomes: Showcase Your Independent Living Organization!

Deadline: January 22, 2019

Dear NCIL Members,

Please take just a few moments to send NCIL one or two of your Center, SILC, or other Independent Living organization’s biggest accomplishments of 2018 and a photo that represents you or your work.

We are collecting your outcomes and photos for our upcoming Congressional Briefing and 2018 Annual Report.

Photos and accomplishments from our members made the 2017 Annual Report something really special and we can’t wait to see what you did in 2018!

Please send accomplishments in the form of outcomes.

  • Individual advocacy example: “Anytown Center for Independent Living assisted 42 youth with disabilities to successfully transition from high school to college and / or employment. Those young people are now leaders and role models for younger children with disabilities.”
  • Systems advocacy example: Anytown Center for Independent Living worked with the SILC to develop state legislation to restrict certificates that allow businesses to pay employees with disabilities less than minimum wage.”

These are only examples; feel free to get creative! Please keep submissions as concise as possible. Submit your accomplishments via email to by Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

Thank you!

Call for Workshop Proposals: 2019 Annual Conference on Independent Living

Annual Conference on Independent Living 2019

July 22-25, 2019; Grand Hyatt, Washington

Submit a workshop proposal

NCIL’s Annual Conference is the largest Independent Living event of the year. NCIL regularly hosts over 1,000 people, including grassroots advocates, CIL and SILC leadership, members of Congress, government officials, and representatives from other major organizations that work for justice and equity for people with disabilities.

Logo: 2019 Annual Conference on Independent Living - featuring a white starburst graphicThe theme of NCIL’s 2019 Annual Conference on Independent Living is IGNITE. The Independent Living Movement ignites action and empowerment. We are not a sedentary bunch. When there is work to be done, we do it. When bad policy threatens our independence and rights, we react. When we know we have a better way, we take action to influence policy and pass laws. We are organized, we are powerful, and we know what we want. All it takes is a spark!

In 2019, we will offer another exciting Annual Conference with strong, varied workshops that will provide valuable resources and opportunities for discussion. We will address political power and advocacy, support new leaders in the Movement, approach healthcare as a right, and discuss promising practices in CIL core services and SILC operations.

It is with these goals in mind that the National Council on Independent Living seeks workshops for our 2019 Annual Conference in the following tracks:

  • Ignite Our Political Power Track: Workshops addressing the political power of the disability community, including voting rights, running for office, and systems advocacy.
  • Ignite New Leaders Track: Workshops related to building new leadership by including and prioritizing the perspectives of youth, people of color, people who are LGBTQ, and other advocates under-represented in the IL Movement.
  • Ignite the IL Network Track: Workshops addressing innovation and promising practices in the core services of Centers for Independent Living, especially the new core services of youth transition, transition from institutions to the community, and avoiding institutions.
  • Healthcare Track Sponsored by the WITH Foundation: Workshops related to healthcare, including healthcare policy and advocacy, along with the healthcare landscape and contracting with Managed Care Organizations and other healthcare providers.
  • Ignite Our SILCs Track: Workshops covering best practices and innovation in operations and programs of Statewide Independent Living Councils.

In addition to these priorities, NCIL’s Annual Conference Subcommittee encourages workshops that seek to improve the skills and resources of staff to carry out the core services of CILs and operate strong SILCs. NCIL also welcomes applications for Poster Sessions, Film Screenings, and other media that address our priority topics and Independent Living.  [Read more…]

Deadline Extended: Apply for the NCIL Path to Empowerment Grants By Monday, December 10!

The Deadline to apply for this grant has been extended to Monday, December 10, 2018.

The link to the application form was incorrect in one of our earlier announcements. Our application links will always lead directly to a form. You should never have to login to complete anything. Please make sure to use the links below to access the application form.

NCIL is excited to announce that we have received continued funding from the Craig Neilsen Foundation for Path to Empowerment projects! NCIL is seeking five (5) to ten (10) Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), or Independent Living Associations that are interested in providing programs to enhance the quality of life for people with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Eligibility – Applicants must:

  • Be a current NCIL member;
  • Be a Center for Independent Living (CIL), Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), or Independent Living Association; and,
  • Provide matching funds of at least 5% of the total funds requested from NCIL.

NCIL will provide funding ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 to support Independent Living; Rehabilitation; Employment; Assistive Technology; Arts, Sports, & Recreation; or Education programs. Examples include:

  • Independent Living – one-to-one or group IL skills training; one-to-one visits to people with SCI in rehab facilities, one-to-one assistance to individuals wanting to leave nursing homes for more independent living arrangements;
  • Rehabilitation – patient assistance funds to offset costs of rehab for individuals with SCI, educating newly injured individuals and their families on SCI;
  • Employment – assistance with resume and interview preparation, applying for jobs and learning how to handle disability issues or concerns during the interviewing, hiring and employment process;
  • Assistive technology – assisting consumers in identifying and acquiring necessary technology to enhance independence and quality of life;
  • Arts, Sports, & Recreation – programs that teach wheelchair sports, provide fitness, wellness and nutrition opportunities and exercise classes, visual, written, and performing arts classes, exhibitions, and performances for people with SCI;
  • Education – one-to-one or group tutoring, preparing newly injured students with SCI to return to school/university; GED classes for consumers.

NCIL will select the applicants that best demonstrate the capacity and resources necessary to make the greatest impact for consumers with SCI. All program applicants in each focus category must demonstrate the capacity to enhance quality of life for people with SCI. Additionally, applicants should document how they will fulfill the Neilsen Foundation evaluation criteria including impact, innovation, and relevance to the area of focus on traumatic and chronic spinal cord injury; feasibility based on documented experience, expertise, available resources, and organizational commitment; sustainability of proposed project or program; collaboration and demonstration of meaningful community partnerships including the avoidance of duplication of services and demonstration of shared community resources; and clear project evaluation methods. While applicants must communicate how their proposed activities will improve outcomes for consumers with SCI, NCIL acknowledges and appreciates that programs funded under this grant will serve consumers with all types of disabilities.

The application and project timeline is as follows:

  • November 7 2018: 2019 Path to Empowerment RFP opens
  • December 10, 2018: 2019 Path to Empowerment RFP closes
  • January 5, 2019: Grantees selected
  • January 15, 2019: Pass-through money distributed to Grantees
  • February 1, 2019: Grantee programs begin
  • October 30, 2019: Project ends
  • November 12, 2019: Grantee final reports due

To apply, interested parties must use the Application Form, which is available online.  We are also providing Word and plain text formats in case you want to look through the application or experience any access issues with the online form.

The application deadline is 11:59 PM EST, Monday, December 10, 2018.

CIL-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar: Disability & Diversity Data – How Centers for Independent Living Can Use Data Mining and Community Mapping to Address Diversity

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETMost of us care deeply about the diversity of our consumers and ensuring that we are reaching everyone in our communities that could benefit from IL services and programs. But it can be very difficult to determine who you aren’t serving. Data mining and community mapping can paint a more complete picture of your community – where are the people with disabilities, who are you serving and who are you missing. Who has the time and expertise to go through census data though, right?

Join us on January 16th to learn how one CIL has connected with university to get exactly the data they need to improve their outreach and programs. Our presenters will also share how you can take the mystery out of data mining to begin to find and analyze data from common, publicly available sources.

Sign up today!  [Read more…]