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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Silicon Valley Independent Living Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Civil Rights, Disabilities, Disabled Persons Rights, Human Services

Mission: The mission of the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC) is to empower people with disabilities by providing advocacy, training, skill development, and services that enhance every individual''s capabilities. SVILC is unique in that it is the only organization in Santa Clara County that offers comprehensive services to individuals with disabilities. It is also the only organization in the area that provides comprehensive services for people with ALL types of disabilities.

Results: During FY 2011-2012 year, some of SVILC's main accomplishments included: - Served a total of 526 community members, and 1,898 people received Information &Referral! - Successfully transitioned 14 individuals from nursing homes and institutions into the community, saving the state and taxpayers $350,000! Brings total to 35 = $875,000 savings! - At a time when people all over the country are losing their homes, SVILC staff assisted 341 people in their search for accessible, affordable, integrated housing. - Provided security deposit and rental assistance in the amount of more than $100,000 to over 70 people. - More than 30 community outreach events throughout the year - Approximately 20 Board, staff, and community members attended Disability Capitol Action Day in Sacramento on May 23rd - U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren cosponsored the ABLE Act (H.R. 3423) on Feb. 3 - Several actions in coalition with the South Bay Partnership - Helped get the CA Domestic Worker Bill of Rights (AB 889) passed - Successfully closed the year with a positive balance of $3,085. - Achieved an unqualified, unconditional audit report! - Successful leadership of personnel, streamlined organization's hiring process, provided leadership in hiring five qualified and diverse individuals, and revised and updated all staff job descriptions. - Developed SVILC salary table - Maintained strong internal fiscal controls and segregation of fiscal duties - Won a 2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit Award from GreatNonprofits - The City of Mountain View was the New Location for SVILC's 3rd Annual Disability Pride Parade & Festival and generated $10,000 in unrestricted funding - New grant funding: SCC Homeless & Transitioning General Funds - $30,000 for Housing, SCAN Foundation for preparing to secure Health Plan contract - $50,000, Rotary of San Jose funding for new workstations for staff - $10,000 - Accessible, Affordable Playhouse story aired April 19, 2012 on ABC7 Evening News with Reporter David Louie - 3rd Annual SVILC People's Thanksgiving attended by 100 - On September 17, $20,268 for SVILC's transitional home in Santa Clara was withdrawn - By December 4 (less than 12 weeks later), due to some kick-butt advocacy by SVILC Board, staff, and community members¦. - $62,625 of housing services funding was restored benefiting not only SVILC ($10,134) but all the RDA grantees: Catholics Charities, Council on Aging, Next Door, EHC Lifebuilders and Project Sentinel

Target demographics: persons of any age with any disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2,366 persons with disabilities by providing services and information and referral.

Geographic areas served: Santa Clara County

Programs: SVILC's four core programs: (1) Advocacy, both systems advocacy and teaching consumers self-advocacy skills; (2) Independent Living Skills training, meeting the individual needs of consumers who choose to live independently; (3) Information and Referral, ensuring that consumers with needs beyond what SVILC can provide are served; and (4) Peer Counseling, providing mentorship and training for people with disabilities from people with disabilities. We also provide: (1) Assistive Technology (AT) services, showing people with disabilities the available technology that can help them succeed both at home and work; (2) Housing and Personal Assistant (PA) services, assisting with everything from direct housing referral/placement to how to hire/manage an in-home personal assistant; and (3) The Olmstead Community Transitions Program, working with individuals to transition from nursing homes and long-term care facilities into community-based housing.

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Excellent disability organization for people with disabilities! The organization is run by people with disabilities for people with disabilities.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Irene A Martell. I use to work for SCC Social Services. I was the Chief Steward for SEIU Local 715 and was often invited to many communitiy functions. On most of these events I would always look for one particular table to sit at, The Council on Aging. I was in my mid 40's and the ladies at the table would always welcome me by saying, "It's so wonderful to have young people sit at our table" (Imagine that, they would call me a young person). I learned a lot by sitting at their table, that they were young at heart, that they still had a lot of life in them to help others, and that they had feelings and gratitude that young people had not forgot them. I learned that disabilities and getting older doesn't discriminate, it will reach us at one point or another. As a Native American (Mexican) I have witnessed that the Circle of Life does come full circle (Imagine me, now a client of Sourcewise). You reap what you sow. I want to encourage our members to encourage our young people to invest in their future by being a part of Sourcewise.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Posted with permission of Owner. -dss

Hello,

My name is Sharon Tate. I have been volunteering with the
Silicon Valley Independent Living Center for the past 3 years.

I really enjoy volunteering for people who has disabilities.
I had a sister who was disable.

I volunteer at the Disability Pride Parade. I love this yearly event.
Working with Naomi is just wonderful.

I am also on the Personal Assisting List. I help many people because of this list.

The SVILC is a great resource for people with disabilities.
It gives people with disabilities a positive outlet to help them in their daily lives.

I am so glad that I am associated with the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center.

Sincerely,

Sharon Tate
October 2014

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SVILC is a caring, loving and compassion nonprofit. They have people who work at SVILC who can help a client to become independent and staying independent. The staff at SVILC is a GREAT NONPROFIT ORG!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SVILC has been EXTREMELY helpful in assisting with a wide range of resources for housing and much more. I'd recommend their services to ANYONE with a disability. THANKS SVILC!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The class taught us independence skills. I really appreciate being part of this company.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The staff at SVILC are really great to work with. I have been a client of SVILC for about six years.
I was a peer counselor for about three years and SVILC has helped me get through some hard times when my parents passed away. SVILC has helped me keep on going so that I can reach my goals in my everyday life with my jobs. They’re awesome.

- Jeff Jokinen

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Silicon Valley Independent Living Center is a nonprofit organization that serves people of all ages with all types of disabilities throughout Santa Clara County, California. Their main office is in north San Jose, and they recently opened a new satellite office in Gilroy. SVILC hosts the annual West Coast Disability Pride Parade and Festival every July on the Saturday nearest the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The parade is a gathering of hundreds of people with disabilities and their allies from all over Northern California and beyond. SVILC is also home to CATS, the Countywide Advocacy Team of Santa Clara. CATS activists have been working tirelessly for increased access, especially in the areas of housing and transportation. Santa Clara County has a horrendous 1% rental vacancy rate, and rents are skyrocketing, making it extremely diificult for people with low incomes to find housing here.

Colleen44

Client Served

Rating: 4

I had never heard of SVILC before told about it from my therapist. I have been very impressed with the center. The people are very inviting and I have attended a small group meeting weekly with about 5-12 people varying each week. Group therapy can be a wonderful thing, and I think our leader does a great job managing it. They have become some of my closest friends.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have received assistance from silicon valley independent living center. They were wonderful to me
and I will support. them as much as I can. This organization do the right things, say the right things
and they get the job done without reservations.

They treated me with great respect and I appreciate them and they have my stamp of approval.
Thanks for your time.
Best
Dottie Hunter

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC) is a very warm hearted key spot for a person with disabilities to stop by and seek resources, a word of advice, or a plan for personal life rehabilitation and transformation. SVILC is the room where recipes are made. A few months ago, I entered it again as a volunteer wanting to help the staff and understand the flow of needs and services in this local environment. I can see where some pieces come together, but I am still a beginner in understanding the community’s way of putting together life and “disability,” reaching out to help and be helped, and understanding the flow of this social hierarchy. SVILC has to place itself in as ideal spot as possible to better help the community members, A.K.A. the recipe seekers ☺. Supporting one person affects the entire Silicon Valley and United States. For example, the Assistive Technology Specialist who is in charge of AT Exchange, a service offering useful, disability friendly equipment for trial, made available to me a GRIP board that ensures objects will not fall off a wheelchair user’s lap. This worked great for me, and I ended up purchasing my own. This service is free of charge. This helps provide income to certain people in the US, who in turn can pay their bills, help other people, smile at someone who is having a crummy day and brighten up their day, and they in turn can brighten up someone else’s day. Everything we do affects everyone around.
The staff is very kind, and I deeply appreciate the way they make me feel like I’m at home. There is always room for improvement, but this does not mean that appreciation in the moment is not just as well deserved. You Go SVILC!
My rating gets 4 stars in order to give a sign there is always room for more brilliance, for developing the network, and helping out people.

Frances11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known about SVILC since I was 16yrsold. I didn't start using their services til I was a single parent in 1994. I called and wanted to learn the computer and peer support help. I went through all the computer classes. I was asked if I wanted to volunteer and so I started out as the computer lab assistant and did that for 2yrs. I enjoyed it very much. I was offered a job after that in 1996 and have worked here since for 17yrs. SVILC has been like a second family to me. :)

Tricia K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SVILC is a fabulous organization that I have been a part of for 22 years. I began my journey as a consumer needing assistance in independent living skills and finding affordable assecible housing. Now, 2o years later, I am living by myself and am the SVILC's board president . The organization also taught me disability history, and to be disabied and proud!! The staff really helped me blosom into an independent , proud person with a disability . Thank you SVILC STAFF! Tricia Kokes

Ann_30

Client Served

Rating: 5

They helped me with legal matters, specifically Social Security & mental health issues a few years back. Now, I'm living here in Oregon and going to a independent living center in Portland.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SVILC helped to organize and host the first national forum on Race and Disability. This was a powerful event for all who attended -- people of color, white people, disabled people and nondisabled people -- all talking about their personal experiences of racism and ableism and how we can all be stronger allies to each other in our collective journey towards safety, justice and compassion. SVILC staff and board had the courage to create a safe space for these sometimes difficult conversations to happen and is a model to other independent living centers around the country and world.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Being a disabled person, I encounter many social injustices in my day-to-day life. SVILC offers many programs and support services to assist me with some of the discriminatory actions I encounter. One example was when a bus driver refused to pick me up (I'm in a wheelchair) claiming she was full. It was clear that she was not full because no one was visibly standing in the bus and she confirmed she only had one other wheelchair rider at that time (most of the buses can accommodate 2). SVILC's system's advocate was able to intervene through his contacts with the local transit agency to have the problem looked into at a higher level than I would have been able to access. Another example is when I had a complex surgery with multiple complications that had the potential to place me in a longer term care facility without the appropriate supports. Another one of SVILC's workers was able to write a letter with me and fax it to the appropriate person so the issue was resolved and I was able to stay in my home. SVILC is not just about their programs and resources though. They are about change with a personal face and touch behind each of their activities. From the peer counselors who have gone through many of the things I have to their executive director, they focus on social change and not accepting the current climate people with disabilities encounter. They work both in the front line and behind the scene to make change happen and I am thankful for their efforts.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was first introduced to SVILC this summer when my boss mentioned a disability pride walk to me. She knows that I love to walk for causes and I was eager to participate. I e-mailed and reserved a spot in the walk. I had no idea who I would meet there or what I would see. I met people of all ages with disabilities. I watched these very able adults coordinate the walk, organize the volunteers and then join us as we walked and rolled down the streets. The community was cheering us on. I had never seen a grouping of individuals with disabilites who were so enthusiastic, envolved and eager to share their stories and experiences. The entertainment that followed was amazing. There were musical groups, dance groups, art work and poetry all presented by the SVILC members. I was so glad I was given the opportunity to participate in this informative and uplifting event where people of all ages and ethnicities were celebrating their lives and their independence. I had no idea the importance independence had to people with disabilites, and now I know that I need to further support all people with disabilites in the way that I vote, and also by getting the word out to others in our community. What an amazing service the SVILC offers and how wonderful that adults with disabilites are able to live productive and independent lives as a result of their efforts. The envent and the organization far surpassed my expectations and have gained my full support and respect. Thank you SVILC for all you do to make our community a great place for all people to live.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked for the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center in the past and now serve on the board. Everyone at SVILC works hard to meet the needs of I our Community Members! Services such as Housing, Independent Living Services, Information and Referal, Peer Support, Assistive Technology assistance, and much more are provided every day!bisit www.svilc.org for more info on this outstanding organization!!christine Fitzgerald, Board VP

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Executive Director, board members and staff are passionate, committed and dedicated leaders with wise vision for the next world order. They take positive actions. They give me hope for the future. That's why I want to continue my loving support both morally and financially athough modest in amount. I hope many people will share my view and join me in supporting and cheering them as best as they can.

Naomi O.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In the world of Disability Non-profits there are very few who are run by and for folks with disabilities AND who are grounded in social justice. When Centers for Independent Living (CIL) first were created in the 1970s around the country, access to transportation, education and community resources for Disabled folks were downright radical ideas. As we have slowly gained the rights to go to school, ride the bus and have interpreters or ramps at court hearings, other questions have arisen. How can we choose where we live and have support to live at home? How do we have relationships with non-disabled allies who often hold all of the money and power? How do we understand our experience in the world? While other CIL's have stayed in one place, going over the past 40 years from radical to service-based and sometimes obsolete, SVILC has stepped-up to challenge themselves and the community that they work in to address these new questions. They have embraced the new ideas of Disability Justice, a second-wave of Disability identity and activism, and have tried to practice this ideas and values. I worked with them in designing an anti-bullying curriculum for kids (age 9-12) grounded in Disability history and identity. Kids with diverse disabilities sat in rapt attention as they learned about their history and culture. Showing an Autistic artist which his detailed drawings, one of the kids faces suddenly lit up with recognition that he was autistic too and belonged for once here in this community of diversity. SVILC has challenged me as well to bring all parts of myself to the organization. In a forum on Race and Disability I was invited to assist with organizing and was asked to share why addressing my identity as a woman of color was important to explore with-in Disability activism. It was the first time I felt like all of who I am was honored and had space in an organization. It has not always been comfortable, but fear of vulnerability is something Disabled people must learn to embrace, and embrace it SVILC has. It's been an honor and life changing for me to work with SVILC.