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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

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


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.

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


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.


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.

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.