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Community Investment Fund

The application period for 2017 funding is now open!

Do you have an interesting idea or project to promote inclusion for people with disabilities? Would a small amount of start-up funds help you get your project off the ground? Applications for the Community Investment Fund are now being accepted...complete and return your application before the May 1, 2017 deadline.

CIF Summary - Microsoft Word Document
CIF Application - Print and Fill-out Microsoft Word Document
CIF Application – Microsoft Word Document fillable form
CIF Application - PDF Application form

Directions for using PDF form: Open the PDF file and save it to your desktop. Fill out the form and save it again. Then either print a hard copy of the application and submit it by mail or fax, or attach the PDF form to an email and submit it electronically.

For more information, please contact:
Kim Brown
University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities
52 Corbin Hall
Missoula, Montana 59812
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Voicemail: (406) 243-4852

UM’s Rural Institute Awards 2016 Community Investment Fund

In an ongoing effort to promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities into their communities, the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities offers an annual Community Investment Fund, a grant available to organizations that advance this mission. The RIIC maintains a CIF Review Committee, a body comprised of individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their family members. The Committee decides to whom the CIF award should be given.

Eagle Mount’s “Tippy Toes: Movement, Music, and Play” program was the unanimous winner of the 2016 CIF grant. Eagle Mount is based out of Great Falls, Montana. Through therapeutic recreation, they offer children with and without disabilities the opportunity to grow, learn, and play together in an inclusive setting.

Seven families were able to connect and learn alongside their children with help from the Community Investment Fund. Jill Van Son, the Tippy Toes program coordinator, recounted a story of success from the program this year: a family enrolled their two young children in Tippy Toes. One child was a person with a disability while the other was not. Family members had never seen the siblings play together without any inhibitions or barriers. They left the program with the renewed realization that their children can play together with small modifications.
The CIF award money was used to purchase adaptive equipment and other supplies as well as providing Jill and her colleagues the chance to network with other organizations in the area regarding inclusive activities.  Thank you to Eagle Mount and the important work they do.

The story behind the award

Isaac Baldry, a committee member, made the poignant observation that Community Investment Fund serves to teach people about the importance of inclusion. He noted that schools often promote the separation of students with and without disabilities. He writes: “…as a person with a disability, if you went to regular classes, there may not have been the same expectations as to what you would do and how you would participate. Maybe it was okay if you just showed up. This can affect everyone’s view of what inclusion is, teachers and students, with and without a disability. Sorry to say, but maybe the majority of people just don’t know better.” It is the committee’s hope that the CIF grant will be used to fund truly inclusive opportunities.

2015 Community Investment Fund Recipient

In 2015, Summit Independent Living Center (ILC) was the inaugural award recipient of the Community Investment Fund. Summit ILC, in collaboration with BASE (a project offering a safe place to learn and display the arts and advocacy), Missoula’s Homegrown Comedy (a group of local comics), A Paper Crane (an education-through-arts organization) and the Crystal Theatre, used the small cash award for “Missoula LIVE!!”, a ten-week communication-through-improvisation program that culminated in a live comedy/variety show. Organizers recruited over 30 individuals with and without disabilities to participate in the improv workshops, and of these 17 went on to become cast members in the final performance. Summit ILC staff wrote, “By collaborating with other community organizations and including people of different ages, backgrounds and abilities in the cast and crew, as well as having a final program that was held at a public venue and promoted to the public as a whole, ‘Missoula LIVE!!’ exemplified interdependent living not just for those participants with a disability but more importantly for the entire community.”