CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT FUTURES

aka CIF   |   Evanston, IL   |  www.independentfutures.com

Mission

Vision: We uphold a vision for the future where individuals with disabilities have access to all opportunities of a full life.Mission: We form innovative partnerships to create product and service models that give individuals with disabilities and their families the skills and opportunities to realize a full life.

Ruling year info

2002

Principal Officer

Ann Sickon

Main address

1015 Davis Street

Evanston, IL 60201 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

36-4492994

NTEE code info

Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers (P82)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Individuals with disabilities across the country remain excluded from many opportunities and community activities, leading to dependency on others and feelings of isolation. Beyond this, many individuals with disabilities dream of living on their own or attending post-secondary programs but find this difficult because of society's expectations. At Center for Independent Futures, we strive to address these issues and create a more inclusive society. By asking individuals with disabilities about their hopes and dreams, our staff helps find opportunities in the community for employment, inclusion, and independent living options.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community Living Option (CLO) Residences

In the North Suburban Chicagoland area, CIF families came together to create new supported living alternatives: the Community Living Option (CLO) Residences.The CLO Residences are situated in residential neighborhoods near commuter trains, local shops and businesses. Structured on a uniquephilosophy of support, each residence is grounded in community building while fostering individual choice and exploration. A Community Builder lives in each residence and is responsible for providing an emergency overnight support presence and facilitating community. CIF staff support residents in making community connections and developing daily independent living skills.Residents pay their own rent, living expenses, and support service costs from earned income, individual government benefits, scholarships and/or private financial resources.Prior to moving in, all residents undergo the Independent Living Readiness Inventory to determine their current skill levels, support needs and future interests.

Population(s) Served
People with intellectual disabilities

The moment an individual expresses interest in independent living, a number of questions arise. What independent living experiences are missing? What skills can be learned? What supports need to be in place for an individual to live away from home? The Skills Inventory is an integrated evaluation and interactive assessment of a young adult’s daily living skills and experiences. The Inventory is used either in preparation for moving to an independent setting or as a tool for high school transition planning.During the Inventory, a CIF-trained consultant gathers background information and observes the individual’s independent living skills through hands-on, experiential activities.The consultant's final report provides a basis for making decisions and creates a blueprint of skills to be learned, experiences to be obtained or supports to be acquired to ensure a safe and productive independence.The Skills Inventory is one of the first steps to moving into a moreindependent setting or receiving independent living skills tutoring services.

Population(s) Served
People with intellectual disabilities
People with disabilities

CIF provides independent living skills tutoring and support for individuals who live in CLO Residences or on their own in North Chicago or the North Chicago Suburbs.Tutors help individuals build skills in a variety of areas:► Moving around safely in the community► Practicing physical and mental well-being► Exploring new interests; learning new things► Participating in the community as an active citizen► Managing money and a household► Finding opportunities for social engagement► Making new friends and building healthy relationships► Pursuing a career► And much more...An individual’s skill levels, experience gaps, interests and support needs are identified through CIF’s Independent Living Readiness Inventory. Skills tutoring is delivered by a CIF-trained tutor and based on the Independent Living Skills Tool Kit.Independent living support services are facilitated and contracted through CIF based on individual needs.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

New Futures is an initiative to create affordable, community-based, supported living arrangements for individuals with disabilities.The New Futures Initiative provides a series of four workshops, materials and onsite consultations to groups of families or agencies interested in starting their own Community Living Option Family Partnership andCommunity Living Option Residences in their communities of choice.New Futures Initiative participants learn from professionals about topics such as organizational structure, real estate, public benefits, building community, housing, and support for individuals with disabilities.CIF’s proprietary products, Full Life Future Planning and the Independent Living Readiness Inventory, are made available for licensing by New Futures Initiative participants.After completing the New Futures Initiative, participants have the opportunity to maintain an ongoing consultative relationship with Center for Independent Futures by becoming a CIF Associate. Association was created to support efforts to establish and sustain a CLO Family Partnership and CLO Residences. Associates are also eligible for reduced prices on licensing CIF's proprietary products.

Population(s) Served
Families
People with disabilities

Every one of us has hopes and dreams--a picture we envision of life at its best. When it comes to our family members with disabilities, intentional planning and support is often required to help them realize their dreams for a full life. CIF's Full Life Future Planning process is based on the assumption that in order to live a full life as a contributing citizen, individuals and their families must take time to plan for the future.Individuals who engage in Full Life Future Planning identify a reliable network of people who support and advocate for the individual's hopes and dreams to ensure a full life.In Full Life Future Planning, individuals, their families and other members of their support network go through a comprehensive six-session process facilitated by a CIF-trained coach. The coach helps the team create a picture for the individual’s future, develop a detailed action plan, identify resources, and begin to take steps toward making that picture a reality.After completing the six sessions, the team may elect to continue working with a CIF coach through CIF’s Network Coaching service.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
Families

Many adults with disabilities transition to living on their own before having a chance to practice daily living skills in a realistic, independent environment.
Exposure to these essential experiences can not only help to alleviate an individual's fear and anxiety about independent living--it can also lead to more independence in the individual's current environment and a successful transition to a new, more independent living situation.
At CIF's Life Tools Camp, individuals with disabilities experience independent living in a hands-on, residential setting. Daily camp activities focus on life skills training in all of the components of a full life, including meal preparation, money management, transportation, household chores, building relationships, and more.
Campers have the opportunity to attend 1-2 weeks of camp with the option of overnight experiences. The one-week session includes family orientation, a personalized learning plan, participant processing time with a licensed social worker, an exit consultation with recommendations, and a Life Tools Portfolio.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Where we work

Awards

Distinguished Service Award 2013

The Arc of Illinois

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of adults with disabilities living in congregate care facilities

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Independent Living Skills Tutoring/Support Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of families/guardians of individuals not living at home who report system supports continuing family involvement

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Independent Living Skills Tutoring/Support Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Office of Disability Employment Policy states family involvement as it benefits the social & emotional wellbeing of individuals, leading to better outcomes. 98% of participants have family support.

Number of adults with disabilities who moved into their community as a result of their family/community group completing our New Futures Initiative training and consultation services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

New Futures Initiative

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

With the New Futures Initiative, Center for Independent Futures developed a step-by-step process that gives families the ability to open doors to supported living options in their own neighborhoods

Number of adults with disabilities who have identified and are pursuing their own person-centered goals

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, People with disabilities

Related Program

Independent Living Skills Tutoring/Support Service

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

100% of our participants identify person-centered goals and are supported in pursuing these goals by our Direct Service team.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Center for Independent Futures aims to support individuals with disabilities in having full, independent lives where they have access to all opportunities that people without disabilities have. This includes - but is not limited to - living independently in the community of their choice; working in the community for a fair, livable wage; attending community activities and clubs; and engaging in all aspects of their lives.

1: Enact a plan for financial sustainability that addresses the short- and long-term needs of the organization.

2: Strategically allocate financial resources and human capital across core products/services and priority growth areas.

3: Align staff models with best practices/optimize organizational structure to address regulatory changes and attract, develop, and retain new or existing talent.

4: Demonstrate effectiveness of our direct service model and other products by creating metrics to measure our mission impact.

5: Build and promote strategic partnerships to leverage strengths and find complementary resources to better serve our mission.

6: Maintain and grow community-based housing options locally and nationally through consultation and innovation.

7: Increase awareness and adoption of our best practices and person-centered approach, particularly with respect to New Futures Initiatives consultation and My Full Life application.

8: Leverage strengths and natural supports of the community to expand full community participation for individuals of all abilities.

9: Leverage technology - internally and externally - to support our vision and mission.

Center for Independent Futures was started by two mothers who sought better opportunities for their daughters with disabilities. Because of these mothers, we have created innovative products and service models that support our participants in achieving their personal goals.

To do this, we practice person-centered planning and care. We start each participant relationship with understanding an individual's hopes and dreams, and then we help create action plans to achieve their goals. Our person-centered care has been adopted by many partner agencies who license seats in our My Full Life online application, which helps educators and agency professionals practice this style of care.

We also address the unfolding housing crisis for people with disabilities through our groundbreaking New Futures Initiatives. Through this program, we train families on how to create community-based housing for their loved ones.

Our services encompass an individual's whole life, including the development of wellness habits, engaging in hobbies, having healthy relationships, finding fair and fulfilling employment, and many other areas.

Center for Independent Futures develops programs, teaches life skills, and partners with other organizations to achieve greater equity for individuals with disabilities. Through our tools and resources, we are working toward a future where individuals with disabilities have access to all opportunities of a full life, including fair employment, community inclusion, and independent living.

Our direct service staff support individuals with disabilities in a variety of ways described throughout these answers, one of which includes finding stable employment. Nationally, only 15% of individuals with disabilities are employed; however, 75% of our participants were employed in the community prior to the pandemic. Only 45% of our participants are still employed and we are working closely with each person who has lost their previous employment opportunity to identify new possibilities.

Additionally, our robust activities program offers more than 20 monthly activities for participants to attend at little to no cost. More than 90% of our community currently participates in virtual community activities regularly, easing the burden of isolation.

Through our New Futures Initiative trainings, we have helped 200 individuals with disabilities move into their communities and live independently. We have trained 300 families and professionals in our innovative housing options as well. Finally, we have helped create 55 community living options for individuals with disabilities since beginning this work.

Our My Full Life online application can be found in schools throughout Illinois and agencies across the country. We are continuing to partner with schools and agencies while developing My Full Life to create an even better and more innovative product.

With our innovative products and service models, our participants are able to live, work, and volunteer in the communities of their choice. We also extend this growth to other communities by partnering with schools and agencies across the country. By working with other organizations, Center for Independent Futures hopes to achieve greater equity and access to opportunities for all individuals with disabilities.

Financials

CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT FUTURES
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT FUTURES

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Dana LaChapelle


Board co-chair

Ira Mitchell

Aaron Zeitner

Jeff Boarini

Gayle Brandon

Jill Calian

Claudia Conlon

Andy Coutts

Kirsten Curley

James Ducayet

Linda Hauser

Dana LaChapelle

Terry Velan

Ann Sickon

ex officio

David Jacob

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/30/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data