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

Independent Living & The Rehabilitation Act

Job Announcement: National Council on Independent Living Executive Director

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 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 1, 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 ( on Monday, January 4, 2021. The deadline for LOI applications is February 1, 2021; the Application Guide is available now at

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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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NCIL Mourns the Loss of Deidre Davis Butler

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the passing of Deidre Davis Butler, a national and international disability rights leader. Deidre passed away on Saturday, August 8, 2020.

Deidre was an attorney and long-time disability rights advocate. She was a staunch advocate who worked to promote legislative and social change for disabled people. Over her four-decade-long career she helped craft, implement and enforce laws including the Air Carrier Access Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

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IL-NET Presents… A Virtual Multi-Day Training: Financial Management for Centers for Independent Living – Regulations and Beyond

We are excited to announce that we’re taking our popular on-location financial management training online! You can save on travel costs and access all of the critical information on financial management from the comfort and safety of your own office or home!

Are you trying to keep up with all of the new guidance and regulations for CILs? We can help!

The IL-NET T&TA Center for Centers for Independent Living is offering an updated version of our popular financial management workshop to give your CIL the latest information on compliance and financial management practices. Whether you are new to nonprofit accounting or are looking to bolster your Center’s financial policies and procedures, you will learn exactly what you need to do to strengthen your Center, effectively manage finances, and ensure compliance with federal regulations. Led by John Heveron, a certified CPA with over 40 years working with non-profits and CILs, and Paula McElwee, ILRU’s Technical Assistance Coordinator, this workshop will give you the skills and resources that are essential to sound financial management in a thriving Center for Independent Living.

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

Visit the training web page to read about the presenters, learning objectives, agenda, and target audience.

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SILC T&TA Center Presents… A National Webinar: Administrative Requirements and Cost Principles for SILCs as Sub-Grantees

August 13, 2020; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

The SILC T&TA Center is offering a new webinar on administrative requirements and cost principles for Statewide Independent Living Councils. Led by John Heveron, a certified CPA with over 40 years working with non-profits, including CILs, and Paula McElwee, ILRU’s Technical Assistance Coordinator, this webinar will cover internal controls, allowable and unallowable costs, DSE monitoring and audits, documentation, tips to simplify your accounting system, and more.

This information-packed webinar will share the essential elements your SILC needs to meet the administrative requirements and cost principles as sub-recipients of federal funds. Sign-up today!

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

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