Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (MT UCEDD) Announces Recipients of the 2021 Community Investment Fund

April 1, 2022

In 2015, the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities 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 applications, evaluate proposals, and award funds.

This year Children’s Special Health Services matched Rural Institute funds so awards were given to three projects:

Kalispell Mosaic Mural

KALICO Art Center and Kalispell Middle School (KMS) will provide all 6-8th grade students an opportunity to paint a tile for a large collaborative mosaic mural to be installed in KMS. KMS Life Skills students will spearhead the project. CIF funds will cover the mural materials and installation.

Pumpkins for a Cause

Jordan Schroeder, with family support, created Pumpkins for a Cause (PFAC). The public and school groups visit the farm in Vaughn, Montana to pick a pumpkin, take a hayride and donate to the non-profit organization Jordan selects. PFAC will use CIF funds to build an accessible ramp and hay wagon so people of all ages and abilities can ride together.

BASE Film Making Extravaganza

BASE in Missoula, MT will use their CIF funds to support the BASE Film Making Extravaganza. People of all abilities and ages will build community while making films. BASE will partner with Missoula Community Access Television and Treasure State Studios to provide hands-on lessons on film-making fundamentals. Movies will premiere at the Roxy.

The Rural Institute created Community Investment Fund awards seven 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, develop the CIF guidelines and application process. The CIF committee designs and disseminates advertising materials through websites, social media, listservs, and public television stations.

A subcommittee screens applications to ensure the proposals are 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.

The 2021 funding cycle ends April 15, 2022, at which time CAC members will review final project reports from awardees. The 2022 competition opens in April.

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
Corbin Hall
Missoula, Montana 59812
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 406-243-4852