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

Independent Living & The Rehabilitation Act

NCIL Welcomes Jenn Wolff and Jeremy Morris to the Board of Directors!

NCIL welcomes Jenn Wolff as Region VII Representative

Jenn Wolff Head Shot

Jenn will serve as Region VII Representative to the NCIL Governing Board, representing the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Jenn was elected by the Region VII members in a special election to fill the vacancy following Ami Hyten’s election as NCIL Secretary.

Jenn is a disabled occupational therapist and organizer. She has a Masters in occupational therapy from St. Catherine’s. She practiced in an outpatient clinic for 12 years and helped develop support groups for post stroke survivors, individuals with Parkinson’s, and their caregivers.

A passion for advocacy began in 2010 around Complex Rehabilitation Technology / wheelchair insurance coverage, which led to work with UsersFirst and then United Spinal Association, which included all disability related policies. She just finished an inaugural year as program coordination with the Backbones Leaders Program, is on the Executive Council for the North American Spinal Cord Injury Consortium and helps facilitate #UpgradeMedicaid, a grassroots effort to improve policies with Iowa privatized Medicaid and get caregivers a living wage.

Welcome, Jenn! We look forward to working with you!

NCIL welcomes Jeremy Morris as Treasurer

Jeremy will serve as Governing Board Treasurer and Chair of NCIL’s Finance Committee. Jeremy was appointed to the position by Sarah Launderville, NCIL’s President, to fill a vacancy after Reyma McCoy McDeid’s resignation to accept a position with the Administration for Community Living (ACL). 

Jeremy Morris is the Executive Director at Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council. Before joining the SILC in 2017, Jeremy had been working in Independent Living over 13 years, previously serving as the Executive Director of the Access Center in Dayton, Ohio and Finance Coordinator at the Western Reserve ILC in Warren, Ohio. His background in Centers for Independent Living includes direct services, advocacy and community partnerships, and operations management.

Welcome Jeremy! We look forward to working with you!

IL-NET T&TA Center Presents… A National Webinar – CIL Pandemic Response: How CILs Can Initiate Emergency Relocations and Transitions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 11, 2021; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted what IL advocates have known for years – that nursing homes and other congregate settings are not safe places for people with disabilities.  According to CMS data, over 128,000 nursing home residents have died of COVID-19.  We know this number is likely much higher since the CMS classification of nursing homes does not include other institutions and congregate settings, and there are reported instances of states suppressing data and nursing home underreporting. 

Thankfully CILs have been doing what they do best: getting people out of institutions and back to the community. Of course there are daunting challenges to this work during the pandemic, especially due to in-person visits being prohibited or restricted for residents in congregate settings.

It is possible, however, and we must do what we can to get people out of institutions. Join us on March 11 to learn how two CILs have accomplished emergency relocations and transitions during COVID-19.  We’ll share the activities, partnerships, advocacy, and funding that made it possible.  

Registration Fee: This event is free-of-charge.

Target Audience: Staff and board members of Centers for Independent Living. Some of the systems level responses may also be of interest to staff and members of Statewide Independent Living Councils.   

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IL-NET T&TA Center Presents… A National Webinar: CIL Pandemic Response – CARES Act Funds and Other Opportunities for Innovative CIL Actions

March 3, 2021; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

Centers for Independent Living are uniquely equipped to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all over the country with grassroots deep in our communities, keenly aware of the needs of people with all types of disabilities. On top of that, CARES Act funds provided an excellent opportunity to provide additional services and supports for people with disabilities affected by the pandemic. There is much to be done, even if you did not receive CARES Act funds or have already spent them. We are at a critical time in the pandemic response, but the available information on resources and vaccines can be complicated to navigate.

Join us on March 3 to learn exactly what CILs can be doing in this moment to support people with disabilities. We’ll focus on allowable uses of CARES Act funds, vaccine information and assistance, and other resources to bolster your own understanding and to support your consumers.

Registration Fee: This event is free-of-charge.

Target Audience: Staff and board members of Centers for Independent Living. Some of the systems level responses may also be of interest to staff and members of Statewide Independent Living Councils.

What You Will Learn:

  • How CILs can use CARES Act funds, and other funding opportunities for CILs that have spent or did not receive CARES Act funds.
  • How CILs can help with vaccinations and overcoming inequities in vaccine rollouts.

Meet Your Panelists

Todd Holloway has worked for the Center For Independence (CFI) in Lakewood, WA for fifteen years. In that time he has expanded CFI’s community relationships by working directly with peer organizations and ALL of the government and non-government organizations that intersect with Independent Living and our movement. 

He is currently the chair of the NCIL Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee as well as the chair of the Tacoma Area Commission on Disability (TACoD) and the co-chair of the Pierce County Accessible Communities Advisory Council (PC-ACAC). Systemic change has become a huge focus for him and he joins many of our IL family in sharing lessons learned and best practices in an attempt to achieve true equality in all of our communities!

Ami Hyten is a licensed attorney and Executive Director of the Topeka Independent Living Resource Center (TILRC), a disability advocacy and human rights organization in Kansas. TILRC has been providing support and advocacy for self-directed personal attendant services since the program’s inception in the state of Kansas. Prior to rejoining the disability rights movement at TILRC nine years ago, Ami was a trial lawyer representing plaintiffs in civil and administrative matters, and spent several years as legislative counsel for the Kansas Supreme Court’s Office of Judicial Administration.

Jill Jacobs serves as Executive Director of the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV). She is an accomplished advocate and activist with an expertise in human and disability rights.

In her previous position at Booz Allen Hamilton, she advised on projects for the Department of Health and Human Services, Veteran’s Affairs, Centers for Disease Control, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, with a primary emphasis on Home and Community-based (HCBS) Long-term care. Prior to that, Jill founded and served for eighteen years as the CEO of Ability Unleashed, a Medicaid HCBS case management agency. She has held executive positions at various nonprofit and government entities and served on boards to include the World Association of People with Disabilities and UCP of Washington & Northern Virginia. She is currently on the boards of the National Council on Independent Living and the Moses West Foundation.

Paula McElwee is the Associate Director of Technical Assistance for the IL-NET National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Independent Living at Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU). In addition to providing individualized technical assistance, Paula moderates training calls monthly for new CIL Executive Directors, Assistant Directors/Program Managers, Financial Managers of CILs, Designated State Entities (DSEs), and for SILC staff and board members. Her blog, ilnet-ta.org/wp, is a repository of technical assistance questions and answers from CILs and SILCs. Paula was the first Director of Link, Inc. in Kansas (one of the first states funded through the Rehabilitation Act) beginning in 1979. She worked in the disability field in Kansas for 25 years, and was appointed by two governors to serve three terms on the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas before moving to California in 2000. She previously served on the board of Resources for Independence of the Central Valley and served as interim executive director for four CILs in California, assisting the boards to transition to their next executive director. Paula has provided training, facilitation, and consultation with state associations, SILCs, and numerous centers throughout the country.

Presented by the IL-NET: The IL-NET National Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Center for Independent Living is operated by ILRU (Independent Living Research Utilization). The IL-NET T&TA Center provides training and technical assistance to centers for independent living and statewide independent living councils. The IL-NET is supported by grant numbers 90ILTA0002 and 90ISTA0002 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

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Job Announcement: National Council on Independent Living Executive Director

The deadline to apply for this position has been extended to March 15, 2021.

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is currently seeking an Executive Director to succeed Kelly Buckland upon his retirement in May of 2021. NCIL encourages all qualified applicants to apply for this exciting opportunity to lead one of the nation’s premiere organizations for disability rights and independent living.

NCIL is the longest-running, national, cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents thousands of organizations and individuals including: individuals with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States.

The Executive Director will lead a complex grassroots organization that is led by its membership and Governing Board. The ability to work with a mission-driven board, members, and grassroots stakeholders is key. The Executive Director will also direct a dedicated, passionate staff of ten and administer an annual budget of nearly $2M. NCIL’s revenue comes from a variety of sources, including membership dues, donations, and grants and contracts. Ensuring NCIL’s continued success with advocacy and policy, resource development, and operating high-quality, accessible programs and events will be critical.

NCIL approaches disability rights through the Independent Living perspective, that disability is a natural aspect of human life and that the barriers people with disabilities face are rooted in ableism and discrimination. NCIL is also committed to becoming an anti-racist organization, intent on confronting and undoing the harm of racism and injustice entrenched in disability rights, IL, and society-at-large. The next Executive Director must be committed to these same priorities to continue NCIL’s path towards justice and equity. We also believe that a diverse staff enables us to better understand and serve our members, audience, and community.

NCIL has a tremendous amount of momentum and excitement thanks to its current leadership and years of successful advocacy. This is an outstanding opportunity for the right leader as NCIL approaches a new strategic plan and its 40th anniversary in 2022. We hope you will consider applying and share this announcement with qualified candidates that you know.

The full job announcement is available at ncil.org and details the responsibilities and required qualifications for the position, as well as instructions to apply. Applications must be received by the close of the business day, March 15, 2021.

NCIL Executive Director Kelly Buckland to Retire in 2021

Dear NCIL Members, Staff & Friends,

First I hope that you are all well in these very trying and turbulent times. This is one of the hardest statements I’ve ever had to write. I am writing to share the news of my intention to retire as Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) on May 14, 2021. While I am looking forward to a new chapter in my life, I am going to miss my work as Executive Director very much! Especially, working with the hard working and dedicated NCIL employee family! Working as the Executive Director of NCIL has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I want to thank all of you humbly for allowing me this honor and for all of your support throughout the years!

This is a very important transition for NCIL and me. I have already shared my plans with NCIL’s Governing Board and staff and we have already begun implementing NCIL’s succession plan. I am confident that NCIL’s Governing Board and Executive Committee will ensure that the transition is smooth and that my replacement will be an exceptional leader and advocate for people with disabilities and independent living. We will be releasing the NCIL Executive Director position announcement and instructions on how to apply very soon. 

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Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Announces Creating Opportunities & Independence Funding Opportunity

The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation is pleased to announce its 2021 Creating Opportunity & Independence (CO&I) funding opportunity for qualifying nonprofit organizations that strive to improve the quality of life for individuals living with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Neilsen Foundation’s Community Support Grants can be requested for one or two years. The funding objectives include: promoting community integration, participation and independence for individuals living with SCI; removing barriers and fostering access; promoting health and wellness in rehabilitation, through transitional stages, and in the community; addressing regional needs; and encouraging self-efficacy. The six topic areas are: Arts, Sports and Recreation; Assistive Technology; Education; Employment; Independent Living; and Rehabilitation.

The application process begins with submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI), which will open in ProposalCentral (proposalcentral.altum.com) on Monday, January 4, 2021. The deadline for LOI applications is February 1, 2021; the Application Guide is available now at chnfoundation.org/how-to-apply.

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NCIL Mourns the Loss of Stanley Holbrook

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Stanley Holbrook. Stan passed away last week on Thursday, December 17.

Stan Holbrook speaks from the stage at NCIL’s 2009 Rally at the US Capitol. Capitol Rotunda is visible in the background.

Stan was tireless advocate for disability rights and racial justice, and a longtime leader in the Independent Living Movement. He served on the NCIL Board for 14 years, including serving as the Diversity Chair and being instrumental in the development of NCIL’s diversity initiatives.

Sarah Launderville, NCIL’s President and long-time friend of Stan, said: “Stan was a man of honor. He gave of himself to make our movement stronger and was a trailblazer. He will be missed deeply.”

Until his passing, Stan was the owner of S. A. Holbrook and Associates, a management consulting firm offering organizational development, diversity and inclusion training, strategic planning, and capacity building training. He previously served as President and CEO of Three Rivers CIL in Pittsburgh, Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council, and President of the Pennsylvania Council for Independent Living (PCIL). He also served on the board for the American Society of Aging, was a representative for the Network of Multicultural Agencies (NOMA), and served as a delegate on the White House Conference on Aging. Stan trained and presented widely on the intersections of race and disability, including numerous trainings with NCIL, the IL-NET, ILRU’s Disability, Diversity and Intersectionality program, and presenting at a disability-oriented “Civil Rights in America” event at the White House.

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IL-NET T&TA Center Presents… A National Webinar: Know Your Resources — Orientation to the IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance Center for CILs and SILCs

January 13, 2021; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

The IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance (T&TA) Center, operated by ILRU in collaboration with NCIL, APRIL, and the University of Montana Rural Institute and RTC: Rural, supports Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) in building capacity to run strong, effective organizations. The IL-NET’s resources cover an expansive list of topics related to CILs and SILCs, with an emphasis on core services. The scope of the center’s offerings is broad. This webinar will highlight what’s new with the IL-NET and help you learn how to find the resources and training available through ILRU’s comprehensive website that best meet your needs. Our IL-NET team is here to assist you with finding the publications, recorded trainings, courses, and materials that will help you operate your CIL or SILC with excellence.

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Business Development for Community Living: A Learning Collaborative for Centers for Independent Living to Build Sustainable Programs and Diversify Revenue

Application period extended through October 14, 2020!

October 2020 – August 2021

Does your CIL like to “Think Big”? Would you like to get away from chasing grant after grant to develop a sustainable program that could provide continued funding for your CIL?

NCIL & ILRU, together with Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LVCIL) and The Independence Center are offering a new National Learning Collaborative to assist Centers for Independent Living to improve their skills for business development to establish income-producing community based services that enable people with disabilities and chronic health issues to live successfully in the community.

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Funding Opportunity: Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation National Paralysis Resource Center

Grant Cycle Opens September 9, 2020

***Includes Enhanced Focus on Employment Grants***

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation National Paralysis Resource Center announces grant funding opportunities through its 2nd Cycle 2020 Direct Effect Quality of Life (Tier 1) and High Impact Priority Quality of Life (Tiers 2-4) grants initiatives.

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