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Investment Initiatives


The Council makes investments (grants) to a wide variety of organizations and individuals to help improve the lives of people with disabilities and entire communities. Calls for Investments are made throughout the year. For an information packet, contact the Council's Springfield office at (217) 782-9696.

The State Plan outlines the Council's priorities and objectives in nine areas of emphasis. Click on any area to find out about the latest Council-funded programs.

Education & Early Intervention
Employment
Child Care
Formal/Informal Community Supports
Health
Housing
Quality Assurance
Recreation
Transportation
Cross-Cutting

Education and Early Intervention

Project: Transition, Inclusion, Independence (TI2): Organizational Transformation for Students with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities
Investment Partner: Lewis & Clark Community College
Location: Godfrey, Illinois
Investment: $136,554

TI2 (Transition, Inclusion, Independence) will expand and strengthen Lewis & Clark Community College’s relationships with secondary schools in the region of southwest Illinois through an investment from the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities.  Students with intellectual disabilities who are in their last year of high school and are interested in attending college will have an opportunity to attend L&C for two semesters of dual enrollment with a variety of supports not previously offered at the College.  While enrolling in courses of their choice, TI2 students receive college transition support at their high school and support from a learning coach and peer mentor.  After high school graduation, TI2 students who are then independent and experienced in self advocating for accommodations will use the resources available to all students as they enroll in further courses or career programs offered by Lewis and Clark.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Martie Buck mbuck@lc.edu
Council Staff: Margaret Harkness Margaret.Harkness@illinois.gov
Website: http://www.lc.edu/disability/

Project: HALO Peer Mentoring & Faculty Training
Investment Partner: Heartland Community College
Location: Normal, Illinois
Investment: $148,000

This grant will build the capacity to further support HCC’s Heartland Academy for Learning Opportunities (HALO) program by providing faculty and staff additional tools for engaging students in the classroom and throughout campus.  At the heart of the grant will be the creation and delivery of faculty and staff training centered around universal design and disability awareness.  Some funding also will be used to provide training and support to HALO’s existing peer mentoring program, which supports HALO students in accessing classes, services and activities across campus.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Anita Moore anita.moore@heartland.edu
Council Staff: Margaret Harkness Margaret.Harkness@illinois.gov
Website: http://www.heartland.edu/halo

Employment

The Council invests in these projects that will help people with developmental disabilities acquire, retain, or advance in employment within communities.

Project: Everyone Works Initiative
Investment Partner: Total Link2 Community
Location: Northbrook, Illinois
Investment: $335,959

The Everyone Works Initiative will develop 3 Community Action Teams in the Northern Suburban Special Education District Cooperative (NSSED) catchment area with active and working partnerships with Total Link2 Community, NSSED, community businesses and business leaders, families and friends, state and community agencies with a commitment and intention to establish and maintain a culture where people with disabilities are competitively employed in their home communities using the principles of customized employment.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Janice Weinstein drjaniceweinstein@gmail.com
Council Staff: Margaret Harkness Margaret.Harkness@illinois.gov
Agency Website: http://totallink2.org


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

A recommendation of the Employment and Economic Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities Task Force (established by legislation in 2009) is for Illinois to become an Employment First state.  Employment First simply means employment in the community would be the first and preferred option for individuals with disabilities receiving publicly funded services in Illinois.  To enact that recommendation, the Task Force held an invitation-only Summit on January 31, 2012 with ICDD support.  The summit included a cross-section of individuals with disabilities, family members, policymakers, disability professionals, and educators.

The Employment First Summit Report summarizes the findings from the summit, and lays out a series of recommendations for turning the vision of Employment First discusses at the summit into reality.  The Executive Summary contains a summary of the recommendations developed as a result of the summit.  The Full Report contains much greater detail on these recommendations, along with extensive documentation of the proceedings, links to a wide variety of resources within the text, and an extensive series of resources in the appendix.

Equip for Equality’s Employment First Blueprint and the Illinois Employment First Strategic Plan Draft of December 2014.

 


Child Care

Project: Training System to Support AoE in Inclusion of Children with Special Needs
Investment Partner: SASED
Location: Naperville, Illinois
Investment: $54,925

This grant project will support activities that will ensure the success of the new Award for Excellence in Inclusion of Children with Special Needs. With federal funding from Race to the Top, Illinois has developed a tiered system for characterizing the quality of early childhood programs in child care, public school, and Head Start in terms of the level of quality demonstrated, based on a systematic assessment of standards. This tiered system was developed with 4 tiers, with the Gold Circle representing the highest quality. While this system contains some standards that address children with disabilities and other special needs, it is primarily designed to characterize the quality of programs in general, for the broad range of children. It therefore provides a solid foundation for, but is not sufficient to ensure quality in, program practices that support inclusion of children with disabilities and other special needs and their families.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Ann Kremer ann.kremer@eclre.org
Council Staff: Margaret Harkness Margaret.Harkness@illinois.gov 
Project Website: http://www.aoeinclusion.com/


Formal/Informal Community Supports

Individuals have access to other services available or offered in a community, including formal and informal community supports that improve their quality of life.

Educating Consumers on the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Rule

Project: Educating Consumers on the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Rule
Investment Partner: Center for Quality and Leadership (CQL)
Location: Statewide
Investment: $224,827

The Educating Consumers on the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Rule will educate individuals with developmental disabilities and/or family members to be equipped and confident to conduct training and advocacy on the new HCBS settings rule as a result of the training and mentoring received from the HCBS Advocates Creating Transformation (HCBS-ACT) project. While participating in the training on the new HCBS rule, those trained will report an increase in their knowledge about HCBS waivers, the new rule, and its impact on the service system.

Contacts: Mary Kay Rizzolo
Project Staff: mkrizzolo@thecouncil.org
Council Staff: Margaret Harkness Margaret.Harkness@illinois.gov
Website: https://www.c-q-l.org

HCBS-ACT: https://www.c-q-l.org/HCBS-ACT

Project: Independent Service Coordination System Redesign
Investment Partner: National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS)
Location: Alexandria, VA
Investment: $608,222.39

In late 2012, the Council initiated three major projects to improve the design and delivery of services in the developmental disabilities system. The goals of these projects included improve Individual Service Planning, Implementation and Monitoring and Evaluate the Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services (PUNS); build and strengthen the capacity of the 18 Independent Service Coordination (ISC) agencies to plan for individuals living in private Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD) agencies; and strengthen quality of the system through data management.
These projects were conceived as occurring sequentially but as the projects evolved, it became clear that improvements expected from each of the projects involve the same stakeholders. The projects were consolidated in August 2015 into one initiative (Life Choices) with the outcomes of having a redesigned system that aligns with five key provisions of the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) regulations; and having PUNS as a standardized system throughout Illinois.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Mary Sowers msowers@nasddds.org
Council Staff: Sandy Ryan sandy.ryan@illinois.gov
Project Website: http://www.nasddds.org

Project: The Advocacy Center at Lifestyles Academy
Investment Partner: Lifestyles Academy
Location: Palos Park, IL
Investment: $64,705

The Advocacy Center at LifeStyles Academy will continue a supportive and nurturing environment that allows individuals to thrive and learn more about the many different options they have to choose from and pursue in life, such as community employment, self-employment, or various hobbies like arts and crafts, pastimes such as cooking, and recreational activities like fitness or sports. The Advocacy Center will inspire individuals to explore their passions, whatever they choose, and will be built around the individuals they serve. As a result, 30 young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities will have flexible services and supports that align with their personal needs and desires to self-advocate in choosing and pursuing their passions.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Mike Kaminsky mike@lifestylesacademy.org
Council Staff: Margie Harkness Margaret.harkness@illinois.gov
Advocacy Center ICDD Retreat

 

Project: Enhancing Community Collaboration
Investment Partner: Envision Unlimited
Location: Chicago, IL
Investment: $26,100

Envision Unlimited will integrate residents better into their neighborhoods through participation in community, civic, faith-based and special interest organizations enabling more effective interpersonal relations with their fellow group members. The types of organizations individuals will be connected with will be based on interest and skill surveys administered to the 30 residents of four \Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILAs). As a result, 15 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities will actively engage with community organizations.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Donna Ennis  Dennis@envisonchicago.org
Council Staff: Margie Harkness Margaret.harkness@illinois.gov
Project Website: http://www.envisionchicago.org/

Envision ICDD Retreat

 

Project: Life Like Any Other
Investment Partner: Heroes of the Game, Inc.
Location: Rockford, IL
Investment: $79,798

Heroes of the Game will utilize a “Community Guide” and "Citizen Advocate" approach to increase social and financial opportunities for 15 people with developmental disabilities who live and/or work in segregated settings in Winnebago, Lake, and Cook counties.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Wendy Partridge wendykpartridge@gmail.com
Council Staff: Margie Harkness Margaret.Harkness@illinois.gov

Hero LLAO Possibility of People

Project: Community Connectors & Bridge Builders Project
Investment Partner: Center for Independent Futures
Location: Evanston, IL
Investment: $119,775

The Community Connectors and Bridge Builders Project will identify, engage, train, facilitate and mentor 20 volunteers from 4 community organizations/associations, in both the Evanston and Frankfort, Illinois areas, to expand their roles and serve as Bridge Builders who in turn will introduce and support the participation of 30 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in a mainstream community activity (municipal, civic, social, spiritual, cultural, etc.) that aligns with the individual’s interests and desires.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Megan Baer mbaer@independentfutures.com
Council Staff: Margie Harkness Margaret.harkness@illinois.gov
Project Website: http://www.independentfutures.com/

Community Connection

 

Project: EPIC: Everyone in Pike Included and Contributing
Investment Partner: Illinois Association of Microboards & Cooperatives
Location: Mahomet, IL
Investment: $80,000

This project will educate, develop relationships with local leaders in Pike County, and together, create the community vision, organizational buy-in, networking, and access that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities need for community inclusion. Pike County will develop local resources and adapt to provide access to 8 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities resulting in their inclusion and a change in attitude and acceptance of the individuals in the community.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Michelle Westmaas micheleiamc@gmail.com
Council Staff: Margie Harkness Margaret.Harkness@illinois.gov
Project Website: http://www.iambc.org/

EPIC Story in Pictures

Project: Open Champaign
Investment Partner: Community Choices
Location: Champaign, IL
Investment: $62,370

Open Champaign is an initiative encouraging community building and connection through shared public experiences that include people with and without developmental disabilities right from the start. This initiative will start with recruiting community groups and people with developmental disabilities to come together to develop a variety of socially interactive experiences in the public space. These interactions provide low-pressure creative environments for genuine connection and discovery while embracing all styles of communication. Open Champaign will take an innovative and inviting approach to community building while promoting the development of inclusive, accessible and accepting community groups. As a result of Open Champaign, ten community groups in Champaign will include people with developmental disabilities

Contacts:
Project Staff: Eric Enger eric.communitychoices@gmail.com
Council Staff: Margie Harkness Margaret.Harkness@illinois.gov


Health

Please check back frequently to find out more about investments in this area.


Housing

Project: Supportive Housing in Illinois
Investment Partner: Corporation for Supportive Housing
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Investment: $946,992

The goal of this grant project is to identify the interest and need for supportive housing within the developmental disability community, integrate DHS/DDD staff members into the planning and implementation of supportive housing resources in Illinois, and foster creative adaptations to the supportive housing model to best meet the needs of people served by and providers of developmental disability services.  As a result, CSH will create a minimum of 3 community-based supportive housing initiatives with a minimum of 30 units across the state targeted to Ligas class members or individuals transitioning from state-operated developmental centers.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Betsy Benito betsy.benito@csh.org
Council Staff: Sandy Ryan Sandy.Ryan@illinois.gov
Agency Website: http://www.csh.org/il


Quality Assurance

The Council's Quality Assurance investments focus on improving consumer and family-centered quality assurance and consumer protections, including monitoring services and supports that protect against all forms of exploitation and abuse. This area includes training in leadership, self-advocacy, and self-determination for individuals with developmental disabilities and interagency coordination to improve services to and supports for people with developmental disabilities.

Project: Consumer Stipend Program
Investment Partner: The Arc of Illinois
Location: Frankfort, IL
Investment: $100,000

This project provides stipends for people with disabilities and their families to attend conferences on disability-related issues.

Contacts:
Project Staff: MaryLynne Paris MaryLynneParis@aol.com
Council Staff: Sandy Ryan Sandy.Ryan@illinois.gov
Agency Website: www.thearcofil.org


Project: Illinois Statewide Self-Advocacy Organization
Investment Partner: Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance (The Alliance)
Location: Statewide
Investment: $625,000


The Alliance will consist of a network of self-advocacy groups and self-advocates that, through local action, will improve their lives, change local service practices, or make contributions to their communities. In addition, self-advocates, by working together, will promote statewide needed changes in disability policy and practices.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Krescene Beck krescenebeck@gmail.com
Council Staff: Sandy Ryan Sandy.Ryan@illinois.gov
Project Website: http://selfadvocacyalliance.org/


Project: Speak Up and Speak Out
Investment Partner: Arc of Illinois
Location: Frankfort, IL
Investment: $570,000

This initiative will execute a statewide Summit in the Fall of 2013- 2016. The importance of giving an opportunity for self-advocates to come together from throughout the state and share activities and training designed to help each achieve the highest level of independence and self-direction in their life as possible. Self-advocates will learn to speak up about what is important to them and how to work on making changes in their lives. Self-advocates will have the opportunity in this type of setting to feel comfortable enough to speak what they feel which helps staff and families understand better and also helps each self-advocate learn more about what they themselves want.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Janet Donahue janet@thearcofil.org
Council Staff: Sandy Ryan Sandy.Ryan@illinois.gov
Project Website: http://speakupspeakoutsummit.org/

 

Project: Rebalancing the Service System for People with Developmental Disabilities in Illinois
Investment Partner: Arc of Illinois
Location: Frankfort, IL
Investment: $602,344

This initiative will lead to the development of one cross disability coalition established and active in achieving the goals of rebalancing the developmental disability service system.

Contacts:
Project Staff: Tony Paulauski tony@thearcofil.org
Council Staff: Sandy Ryan Sandy.Ryan@illinois.gov
Project Website:www.thearcofil.org

 


Recreation

Please check back frequently to find out more about investments in this area.


Transportation

Please check back frequently to find out more about investments in this area.

Cross-Cutting

Please check back frequently to find out more about investments in this area.