National Council on Independent Living

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A NCIL event with Congressman Jared Huffman as a speaker in 2020.

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is an American nonprofit organization focused on disability rights advocacy. It is a membership organization of centers for independent living that provide services, advocacy, and referrals to people with disabilities; statewide independent living councils; and other organizations with related missions. NCIL promotes the independent living philosophy, which it defines as "a new social paradigm [that] emphasizes that people with disabilities are the best experts on their own needs, that they have crucial and valuable perspective to contribute to society, and are deserving of equal opportunity to decide how to live, work, and take part in their communities."[1] NCIL works with the non-partisan VoteRiders[2] organization to spread state-specific information on voter ID requirements.

NCIL was founded in 1982 by Marca Bristo, Charlie Carr, and Max Starkloff.[3] The first independent living program was founded by disability rights activist Ed Roberts as a college student in Berkeley, California.

NCIL hosts an annual conference in Washington, D.C. that includes a rally and march.[4] NCIL's online news publication is The Advocacy Monitor.[5]

NCIL advised on the design of a "low entry ramp" to promote wheelchair-accessible entry for Motor Coach Industries' new buses.[6] In 2019, NCIL launched the Elevate Campaign Training program to train people with disabilities to run for elected office.[7] NCIL also collaborated with a health insurance corporation, Centene, on a project called the Provider Accessibility Initiative to improve health care for people with disabilities by increasing the number of medical care providers whose offices and services meet accessibility standards.[8]


  1. ^ "About NCIL". National Council on Independent Living. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  2. ^ VoteRiders Partner Organizations
  3. ^ Smith, Harrison (9 September 2019). "Marca Bristo, leading advocate for people with disabilities, dies at 66". Washington Post.
  4. ^ "StackPath". Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  5. ^ "Advocacy Monitor". Advocacy Monitor. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  6. ^ Stoff, Rick (2019-10-06). "Accessible travel advances with low-entry motorcoach". Bus & Motorcoach News. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  7. ^ "People With Disabilities Face Challenges Campaigning for Office. This Group Wants to Change That". Time. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  8. ^ Corporation, Centene. "Centene recognized by CMS with Health Equity Award". Retrieved 2020-06-15.