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2019 Community Investment Fund

Applications for the 2019 Community Investment Fund are now being accepted! The Community Investment Fund is made available annually for innovative projects that help people with disabilities live, learn, work and play in their communities alongside people without disabilities. Any Montana organization, agency, non-profit group, or individual with a creative idea developed by/with people with disabilities to promote community inclusion is eligible to apply. Please note: due to University contracting requirements, successful applicants will be required to have liability insurance and either Workers’ Compensation coverage or a Workers’ Compensation exemption certificate.
More Information and applications

Developmental Milestone Video Broadcast in Rural Health Clinics

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC) has partnered with the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities, Nevada LEND program and Good Health TV to share a developmental milestone video with parents and families.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” (LTSAE) program aims to improve early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities so children and families can get the services and support they need. As part of the LTSAE program, a short video will be broadcast in Montana tribal health clinic waiting rooms from mid-February until the end of March. The purpose of the video is to inform parents and families about developmental milestones and to direct them to resources for tracking milestones and addressing concerns. Print materials for tracking childhood development milestones are highlighted in the video and are available in each tribal health clinic.

For more information about the LTSAE program, visit the CDC’s website at

For Montana-specific information about these materials please visit the Montana Autism Center at

Rural Institute Offers Education and Support to Advocates

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities is mandated by the federal Developmental Disabilities Act to educate policy makers about how their decisions impact children and adults with disabilities. One way we educate policy makers is to provide leadership education and support to local advocates like Jackie Mohler of Family Outreach, Inc. in Helena, MT. She recently represented Montana at the AUCD Leadership Academy (

Montana Disability Voices logoUpon her return and with the Rural Institute's continued support, Jackie partnered with State Representative Mary Caferro (D-Helena) to establish the statewide disability advocacy group, Montana Disability Voices ( Jackie is currently working with state legislators to educate them on the benefits of HB 251, a Montana Medicaid buy-in program for children with disabilities. Connections made through her Rural Institute-supported activities have provided the technical resources, confidence and "know how" to develop and advocate for improved services for Montana's children with disabilities and their families.

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Walk audit focuses on accessibility and inclusion

On January 15, 2019, Missoula’s Downtown Master Plan held an Inclusive Interdisciplinary Walk Audit (I2Walk) as part of the Downtown Missoula Master Plan Public Design Workshop. Over the week, various workshop events gave community members an opportunity to share their vision and ideas for the future of downtown Missoula.

The I2Walk was co-sponsored by the University of Montana, the Rural Institute, and the Montana Disability & Health Program, as well as other local disability and community groups. Together, these groups help to build capacity within the state and local communities to support the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Dr. Meg Ann Traci, Research Associate Professor and RIIC employee, along with disability advocacy partners and stakeholders from around the state, collaborated to organize and lead the walk audit. To learn more about the development of the I2Walk, see: Walkable rural communities for all: Using inclusive, interdisciplinary walk audit workshops to achieve health equity, where you can find information about a poster presentation on the process presented at the APHA 2018 Annual Meeting & Expo.

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