Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (MT UCEDD) announces recipient of the 2019 Community Investment Fund

November 14, 2019

In 2015, the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC) established the Community Investment Fund (CIF). CIF awards support innovative projects or programs that help Montanans with disabilities live, learn, work and play alongside people without disabilities. Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) members use their leadership and advocacy skills to review each application, evaluate the merits of each proposal, and award the funds.

The CIF awards were established four years ago; a RIIC staff member facilitated a CAC committee of young adults with disabilities, parents of young adults with disabilities, and representatives of partnering organizations to develop the CIF parameters, application process, and application form. They designed and disseminated advertising materials through websites, social media, listservs, and public television stations. Each subsequent year, committee members update the advertising and application form. A subcommittee screens completed applications to ensure the proposed projects are truly inclusive and have reasonable budgets. Applications that pass the screening are sent to the full committee for review, scoring, and discussion. As part of the review process, committee members generate additional questions for staff members to pose to the applicants before rendering a final decision.

The 2019 CIF award goes to the Montana Independent Living Project (mILp) for their Feel Great and Recreate - All-Ability Adaptive Ice Skating project. The all-ages program will offer people in the Helena area adaptive, inclusive, cross-disability programming. This is especially important during the winter months, when it can be difficult for people with disabilities to recreate with others in their community.

mILp's goal is for individuals with and without disabilities to have fun skating. According to their CIF application:

"This could include a public skate, a birthday party, a recreational hockey program, or a competitive sled-hockey team. We are also targeting parents and family members of children with disabilities looking for a fun family adventure. We envision a family with a child who is unable to stand and skate to be able to join their family on the ice instead of having to watch from the sideline. The purpose is to give people with a disability an opportunity to get out of their homes and join their neighbors in an inclusive environment as they build confidence, develop new skills, learn to work as a team, exercise and socialize."

This year's funding cycle ends January 15, 2020, at which time CAC members will review a final project report from mILp and begin preparations for the 2020 competition.

Since 1978, the University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities has worked to improve the skills, abilities, and quality of life of people with disabilities in rural communities, including their families and those who serve and partner with them. Rural Institute initiatives focus on promoting independence, productivity, integration and community inclusion in rural and frontier communities.

For more information, please contact:
Kim Brown, University of Montana Rural Institute
35 Corbin Hall
Missoula, Montana 59812
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 406-243-4852