Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (MT UCEDD) announces recipient of the 2020 Community Investment Fund

September 4, 2020

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 the proposals, and award the funds.

The 2020 CIF award goes to the Montana Independent Living Project (mILp) to continue and expand their successful Feel Great and Recreate - All-Ability Adaptive Ice Skating project. This all-ages project offers adaptive, inclusive, cross-disability recreational programming. In the 2019-20 season, over 160 people skated over 450 times!

According to their CIF application, mILp's goal is:

To offer opportunities to people with disabilities to be active with the aid of adaptive equipment, especially in the current times of COVID-19.  We plan to grow the program in year two, both in Helena as well as conducting clinics in Butte, Bozeman and Dillon. By promoting this and other Feel Great and Recreate programs as adaptive and inclusive to people with and without disabilities, we make a statement that these opportunities are for everyone.  It's almost like reverse inclusion.  Instead of waiting or having to ask to be allowed to participate in someone else's game, we get to welcome TABS (temporarily able-bodied people) with open arms to play with us.

The Rural Institute created Community Investment Fund awards five years ago. A committee of young adults with disabilities, parents of young adults with disabilities, and representatives of partnering organizations, along with a Rural Institute staff member, developed the CIF parameters, application process, and application form. They designed and disseminated advertising materials through websites, social media, listservs, and public television stations.

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 making a final decision.

This year's funding cycle ends January 15, 2021, at which time CAC members will review a final project report from mILp and begin preparations for the 2021 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