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


It’s Getting Closer… One Month until Giving Tuesday!

It’s the end of October, the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air, and we’re gearing up for Giving Tuesday! Giving Tuesday is focused on giving back after the consumer driven days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and takes place on November 28th, 2017.

Giving Tuesday logo - #GivingTuesday with a heart icon replacing the ‘v’Here are some exciting updates from our Giving Tuesday preparations:

  1. We’ve been approved for Facebook fundraising! Now it’s even easier to raise funds for NCIL or donate directly through Facebook. And on Giving Tuesday ONLY, all fees from Facebook fundraising will be waived, so 100% of your donation goes to NCIL. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is partnering with Facebook to match up to $1,000 per fundraiser or $50,000 per organization on Giving Tuesday until the match funds run out – so start your giving early!
  2. We’ve got an all-star matching team! Most organizations have one company or corporation that matches donations on Giving Tuesday. But since NCIL’s power is grassroots, so is our fundraising. We have a dedicated team of NCIL fans who have agreed to match $250 each on Giving Tuesday, for a total match of up to $1,750. That means your impact can be DOUBLED for one day only!

In the coming weeks, you’ll get to meet our matching team, learn about different ways to give to NCIL, and show off your NCIL pride on your social media! Let’s kick off the giving season right!

Action Alert: Share Your Stories from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

NCIL has partnered with Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies, Inc to determine what challenges and problems people with disabilities faced in shelters, with transportation and evacuation, with housing options after the storm, in applying for benefits, and problems with any other interactions with emergency services. (Note: we are also interested in Hurricane Maria’s impact, but due to lack of communication abilities with the affected territories and ongoing response work, in which NCIL is currently engaged, we do not anticipate being able to complete a report at this time.)

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingWere you in a shelter and experienced problems or mistreatment? Have you had difficulty finding housing options after the storm or applying for FEMA or other benefits? Did you experience difficulties in arranging transportation, services during and after the storm, or arranging evacuation? We want to hear from you. These stories will be scrubbed of identifying information and be used as data in reports on what problems people with disabilities experienced, and to determine what can be done to mitigate these problems so that they do not arise in future disasters.

If you are interested in sharing your stories or have any questions about this initiative, please send them to Sarah Blahovec at by October 31st, 2017.

Buy a Disability Power T-Shirt and Support NCIL!

Black t-shirt with Disability Power emblem on front center. Emblem is a white wheelchair accessibility symbol with a stylized raised fist in the center.University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student Cole Anderson has designed a new disability pride t-shirt. We’re excited to announce that Cole will donate all proceeds from the t-shirt sales to NCIL!

Shirts cost $20 each, with an option to make an additional donation to NCIL. The campaign will end at the beginning of November, with shirts being shipped after the campaign closes.

Says Anderson: “I value and support NCIL because I have a right to a dignified life. Disabled citizens have a right to the same chance to contribute to their society. I’m an engineering student at a top university. But I’m only able because of disability rights activists fighting to show I have potential. I have the services I need to be able to go to school and live an independent life. NCIL fights to make sure the disabled children of the future have that chance too.”

Thank you, Cole Anderson! Buy yours today!

Benefit Enrollment Grants Available from the National Council on Aging

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) Center for Benefits Access is now accepting applications from qualified organizations to join the network of Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs).

BECs use person-centered strategies in a coordinated, community-wide approach to find and enroll Medicare beneficiaries – both seniors aged 65+ years and adults living with disabilities – who have limited income and resources into available benefits, with the primary focus being on five core benefit programs. [Read more at…]

Save the Date! Giving Tuesday is Two Months Away!

Giving Tuesday logo - #GivingTuesday with a heart icon replacing the ‘v’NCIL is joining thousands of other organizations in participating in Giving Tuesday, “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.” Giving Tuesday is focused on giving back after the consumer driven days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and takes place on November 28th, 2017.

In the coming months, we’ll be sending you emails with more information about how to support NCIL on Giving Tuesday. In the meantime, make sure to mark your calendars for Giving Tuesday, November 28th, 2017. Let’s make this the best Giving Tuesday yet!

Free Webinar: Business Acumen – Tools to help you succeed!

Business Acumen Center Logo - Providing Resources to Sustain Disability OrganizationsBusiness Acumen describes an organization’s ability to quickly and keenly understand and address a business situation in a manner that will likely to lead to a good outcome. Many Community Based Organizations (CBO)* seeking to diversify their payer portfolios – specifically those seeking to sell or deliver services to health plans and other payers or providers of health services – find that they must learn or strengthen existing skill sets. Organizations effective in engaging stakeholders, developing relationships, negotiating and contracting, understanding and maximizing the financial position, articulating the business case for services and navigating change while maintaining the organization’s mission are positioned for success in a changing environment.  [Read more…]

Organizers Forum: Immigration and Disability

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017
  • 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern
  • RSVP online

The Trump Administration has increased immigration raids, threatened millions with deportation, scared immigrants away from getting health care, food stamps, and other services, and just this week ended DACA (which provides relief for undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children). Some DREAMers (young people on DACA) have disabilities and were brought to the US by their families for medical care. Many home care workers are immigrants, currently at risk of deportation. Furthermore, as one group is attacked, we are all threatened. Let’s talk about the relationship between immigration and disability and what the disability community can do to protect disabled immigrants and act in solidarity with ALL immigrants.  [Read more…]

It’s Our Story Seeks Living Legends of “Diversability”

The It’s Our Story (IOS) project is collecting over 300 video histories of “Diversability” from 14 states and 33 cities in and around America’s “Tornado Alley” during the fall of 2017. These events are part of the ongoing work on the “It’s Our Story” video project.

IOS is documenting personal stories of living with a ”Diversability” and/or advocating for justice, social inclusion, employment and independent living in and around the Great Plains of America. The goal is to document 2,020 local stories of individuals advocating and living with a ”Diversability” in all 50 states by July 26, 2020, which marks the 15th anniversary of our first video history, which featured the late and great Fred Fay and Elmer Bartels in Concord, MA.  [Read more…]

Applications Open: AAPD 2018 Summer Internship Program

Deadline to Apply: November 6, 2017

Seventeen diverse young people with various disabilities pose for a photo togetherSince 2002, the AAPD Summer Internship Program has developed the next generation of leaders with disabilities and offered host employers access to a talented, diverse workforce. Each summer, AAPD places college students, graduate students, law students, and recent graduates with all types of disabilities in summer internships with Congressional offices, federal agencies, non-profits, and for-profit organizations in the Washington, DC area. Each intern is matched with a mentor who will assist them with their career goals. AAPD provides the interns with a living stipend, transportation to and from Washington, DC, and fully-accessible housing.

At the beginning of the summer, interns participate in a 1-week orientation session to learn about AAPD and the disability rights movement, meet the other interns, and participate in a variety of engaging workshops and events. As part of the AAPD network, interns also receive opportunities to attend events on Capitol Hill, conferences, community events, briefings, and more.  [Read more…]

A Message of Support for Hurricane-Affected Regions from the NCIL Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee

Dear Centers for Independent Living, SILCs, and IL Associations:

As Texas continues to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and our Southeastern states prepare for the impact of Hurricane Irma, the National Council on Independent Living, through its Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee, stands ready, willing, and able to assist you in whatever way we can. Please know that our thoughts remain with all those affected by Harvey in Texas and that we are aware the recovery will be a lengthy process. We have been in contact members in Texas and pledged our assistance and support now and in the coming years. We offer the same support and assistance to the states in the path of Hurricane Irma. Our thoughts are with you in the coming days and we hope that all remain safe and unharmed.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingIn the aftermath of the storm, NCIL Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee members can be available by phone to make calls and / or coordinate resources on the ground for you. We are in close contact with agencies and organizations that are available to assist, including the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC) with FEMA, Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies, and the Red Cross. NCIL is represented on local and national stakeholder calls hosted by the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies and will host calls themselves among CILs in any state, if needed. The NCIL Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee has members throughout the country who are ready and willing to help.

We are learning that it is often a week or longer before a CIL can tell us what their needs may be. We will be in contact with CIL and SILC staff next week to check on their wellbeing and then discuss how we might be of assistance in the future. In the meantime however, please feel free to call Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee Chairperson Christy Dunaway (Mississippi) at 601-506-6454 or Co-Chair Todd Holloway (Washington) at 253-826-1287 if you have questions or need assistance.

NCIL Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee Members