What is the Consumer Involvement Fund (CIF)?

The CIF is a reimbursement program that provides partial funding for individuals with developmental disabilities, their family members, or their guardians in Alabama to participate in professional or informational conferences, legislative advocacy skills training events, public forums, focus groups, hearings and other similar activities. The intent of the CIF is to promote consumer empowerment and involvement in activities that enhance independence, productivity and community inclusion of people with developmental disabilities. Funds are distributed based on goals and priorities set by the Council.

Many policy, procedure, and program decisions affecting the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities are made without the involvement of the people who are most affected by those decisions. Often, individuals with disabilities and their families cannot afford the costs associated with involvement in some activities or do not have the experiences and information, which would make their participation as meaningful as it could be. The Consumer Involvement Fund is designed to empower individuals with disabilities and their family members with the opportunities, experiences, resources and information they need to participate meaningfully in the decisions that are being made which affect their lives. Requests are considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, the Consumer Involvement Fund Committee (CIFC) will give considerable weight to CIF applicants that are:

  • First time users of the fund
  • First time attendees at a particular activity or event
  • Attending to enhance ethnic or cultural sensitivity
  • Applicants residing in rural or other underserved and/or unserved areas

Who’s eligible to apply for the Consumer Involvement Fund?

  • An individual with a developmental disability. (Developmental Disabilities Definition)
  • A parent of an individual with a developmental disability
  • A family member of an individual with a developmental disability.
  • A guardian of an individual with a developmental disability.

What are the two types of Consumer Involvement Fund programs that are available?

The Consumer Involvement Fund has two types of funding programs:

INDIVIDUAL FUNDING (CIF Individual Fact Sheet) (CIF Individual Application)

$400 per year, per person for In-state events

$1,000 per year per person for Out-of-state events

ORGANIZATION FUNDING (CIF Organization Fact Sheet) (CIF Organizational Application)

The Council will determine the amount of funding based on the number of applicants for the event, the location of the event, and the availability of funds allocated for the month.

The Council’s Consumer Involvement Funds can only partially fund the cost of attending an event. The Council requires persons wishing to receive Consumer Involvement Funds to secure partial funding from other sources, such as other state agencies, private foundations, consumer or advocacy organizations, an employer, use of his/her own money, or time match.

What cost(s) can be reimbursed by the Consumer Involvement Fund?

  • Registration Fees
  • Child Care or Respite Care
  • Personal Assistance
  • Hotel/Lodging
  • Meals
  • Transportation
  • Other (at the discretion of the CIFC)

How do I apply for Funding?

  • 30 days prior to the event
  • CIFC will review applications for funds monthly
  • Print, mail, or fax, the individual application form
  • Print, mail, or fax, the organization application form/expenditure report
  • Application materials are also available in large print and Braille upon request.

What is the Application Process?

  • Once the application has been received by the CIFC, the applicant will be sent an approval letter from the CIFC informing the applicant of the amount of the award or if the application is denied. Included in the award letter will be details for reimbursement of approved expenses and an acceptance form to be returned to the CIFC.
  • In order to receive partial funding from the CIFC, the applicant must meet the 25% match requirement. Examples of the match requirement are: volunteer hours, travel time, donated time/items, discounted fees/items, and any expenses paid personally.

What is the Reimbursement Process?

  • After returning from an event, all individuals receiving Consumer Involvement Funds will be asked to complete forms and reports that must be returned before reimbursements will be processed. CIF applicants will be asked to share information received from the event with his or her local community, local legislators. Also, applicants will have the opportunity to share experiences at Council meetings and/or write articles for ACDD magazine and share photographs of their attendance as well.
  • Consumer Involvement Funds are reimbursed for actual expenses.
  • A receipt for each expense to be reimbursed must be submitted to Council before a reimbursement request can be processed.

What is Local Match?

Local match is your financial portion of the CIF award. The Local Match Share consists of in-kind value and/or non-federal cash contributions. All fund recipients are required to contribute a 25% match of the total fund award (unless waived by the committee).

In-kind match examples can be: attendance at event/activity, travel time to and from destination of event/activity for the applicant and/or driver, time spent on presentations regarding event/activity the applicant attended and/or volunteer time.

How do you calculate local match?

To calculate the 25% required match, divide the amount of your federal dollars request by 3. Then to calculate the total grant amount, combine the one-third figure with the federal dollars requests.

Still have questions?

For additional questions or information, please contact the:

Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities Consumer Involvement Fund
Sophia Wright-Dixon, Fiscal Manager
100 North Union Street, Suite 498
Montgomery, AL 36130
(334)242-3972/Direct Line
(334)242-0797/Fax Line
(800)232-2158/Toll-Free
Email: sophia.dixon@mh.alabama.gov

This Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities is funded through a grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.