Business Development for Community Living

A Learning Collaborative for Centers for Independent Living to Build Sustainable Programs and Diversify Revenue

Application period extended through October 14, 2020!

Does your CIL like to “Think Big”? Would you like to get away from chasing grant after grant to develop a sustainable program that could provide continued funding for your CIL?

NCIL & ILRU, together with LVCIL and The Independence Center are offering a new National Learning Collaborative to assist Centers for Independent Living to improve their skills for business development to establish income-producing community based services that enable people with disabilities and chronic health issues to live successfully in the community.

Goal of the Collaborative

To increase the capacity of participating Centers for Independent Living to engage in new business practices in order to establish and operate self-sustaining service programs that advance community living. Programs could vary widely depending on community need and potential funders, but some examples could include:

  • A diversion program funded by hospital(s) or Managed Care Organizations to support individuals discharging from hospitals or rehab facilities to access and sustain community living and reduce the chance or readmission to the hospital or entering an institutional setting.
  • A fee-for-service employment program to provide job training, readiness, or other employment supports.
  • Supports and services for transition-age youth with disabilities funded by Vocational Rehabilitation or local school systems.
  • A fee-for-service ADA / local code accessibility survey program paid by local or regional businesses who need to ensure compliance with federal law and other state and local accessibility requirements.
  • A home modification program funded by a Managed Care Organization or other health payer concerned with improving the social determinants of health and access to community living for their plan participants.
  • And more! Bring us your biggest ideas and wildest dreams!

Target Audience

This collaborative is aimed at intermediate to advanced Centers for Independent Living that have the skills and resources to design, implement, and sustain new or expanded fee-for-service, contract, or entrepreneurial programs that fill an existing community need or barrier for people with disabilities. Successful candidates will have a sense of the resources needed to implement the program.

What is a Learning Collaborative?

A learning collaborative is an interactive group process to improve programs and performance through progressive learning, action, and planning. The National Learning Collaborative on Business Development for Community Living is much more than training. From October of 2020 to August of 2021, our facilitators will work with a dedicated group of CILs to support one another as they develop and implement business plans for new or expanding sustainable programs in their communities. It involves a commitment of time and resources to complete an actionable plan. Participants in the collaborative will learn alongside and support one another. A successful collaborative requires commitment, teamwork, and follow-through. Therefore, we are asking interested individuals to apply to participate. A maximum of 12 CILs will be selected for participation with a maximum of 4 individuals per CIL.

Applicants must have the authority and the resources to participate fully and to be ready to go when the collaborative participants are selected. Applicants must be available and prepared to participate in all collaborative activities, including a virtual kick-off meeting, monthly group calls, assignments to be completed in between monthly meetings, and a virtual final presentation at the end of the collaborative. Group and individual work between calls is estimated at 15-25 hours a month. The exact time commitment will vary by month and depend on the business concept(s) each CIL selects to pursue. Facilitation of the collaborative is provided by Seth Hoderewski, Joe Michener, and Patricia Yeager along with project support from ILRU and NCIL.

What Are the Application Requirements?

  1. A maximum of 4 individuals from each center may apply. Participation should be viewed as a team endeavor. Success will depend on a collective approach to program design and implementation, rather than who can cover a collaborative meeting.
  2. Participation will be limited to the individual(s) who are accepted for enrollment. Substitutes may not join collaborative activities.
  3. Participants must be individuals with decision-making authority (e.g. executive director, deputy director, finance director, program manager).
  4. At least one executive staff and one financial staff at the CIL must be on the team that applies to participate.
  5. Participation in all group activities is mandatory, to include a virtual kick-off meeting, monthly group calls, assignments to be completed in between monthly meetings, and a virtual final presentation at the end of the collaborative.
  6. Each participating CIL will be expected to develop an actionable plan for creating or expanding a sustainable business proposition to fill an existing community barrier or need for people with disabilities.
  7. The CIL’s plan must be given sign-off by the authorizing CIL leader or the board of directors where appropriate before it is presented at the end of the learning collaborative.
  8. The applicant CIL must have the financial and human resources necessary to make a commitment for full participation throughout the entire collaborative timeframe. (Group and individual work between calls is estimated at 15-25 hours a month.)

How Do I Apply?

Apply Online at

Applications are due October 14, 2020. Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. No applications will be accepted after the deadline.

Who Are the Facilitators?

Seth Hoderewski is the Director of Transition Services at Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LVCIL) where he has worked for 9 years. He has worked in the social services field for over 20 years, with the last 9 years directly in the field of transition. He has helped to shape the current multi-faceted youth transition services at LVCIL and oversees and works with the S2L group, the Real World Lehigh Valley summer program, Pre-Employment Transition Services, LIFE (school-based fee for service program), and numerous other related LVCIL projects and programs.

Joe Michener is the Director of Employment Services at LVCIL, where he provides operations and fiscal oversight for several of LVCIL’s Transition and Employment programs. Joe has worked in vocational support services for more than 20 years, and he has been involved in developing, implementing and growing successful grant and fee-for-service programs in partnership with various entities, such as the Department of Labor (including Vocational Rehabilitation) and the Department of Human Services. He has created and facilitated local and national training seminars and provided consulting on various topics, including program development, vocational services and best practices, services for youth in transition, the Independent Living Philosophy, Person-Centered Planning, etc. Joe holds a Master’s Degree in Communications (Journalism) from New York University.

Patricia Yeager is the CEO of The Independence Center, a 30+ year old organization serving the Pikes Peak area, she is knee deep in health care; The IC operates a $12 million skilled and nonskilled home health agency and a pilot hospital to home program helping people with disabilities transition home after an acute hospital episode rather than the nursing home. She has served as Executive Director for four CILs and was the first director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers. Patricia Yeager holds a M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling (1979) and a Ph.D in Rehabilitation Administration (2011).