APRIL is a national grass roots, consumer controlled, nonprofit membership organization consisting of centers for independent living, their satellites and branch offices, statewide independent living councils, other organizations and individuals concerned with the independent living issues of people with disabilities living in rural America. Some highlights of accomplishments:
- APRIL was founded in 1986 by twelve directors of rural CILs meeting in Houston, Texas. That meeting was sponsored by the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) in Houston Texas, who continued to support the organizing efforts for several years thereafter.
- In 1994, APRIL attained its 501(C)(3) status and hired a national coordinator.
- The first monetary support for APRIL came in 1994 in a small annual contract with the University of Montana, Rural Institute on Disabilities.
- Other important affiliates over the years have included: University of Kansas, the Independent Living Rehabilitation Utilization (ILRU), National Council on Independent Living, Easter Seals Project Action, Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) Department of Education – Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the World Institute on Disabilities.
- In 1995, APRIL held its first National Conference on Rural Independent Living in Lawrence, Kansas with a gathering of about 80 participants. Subsequent conferences have been held in Austin Texas, Albuquerque New Mexico, Shreveport Louisiana, Cincinnati Ohio, Salt Lake City Utah, Portland Oregon, Nashua, New Hampshire, Savannah, Georgia, Minneapolis Minnesota, Honolulu Hawaii, San Antonio, Texas and Missoula, Montana. Attendance numbers have now exceeded 400.
- In the year 2000, the Rural Independent Living Leadership Mentoring Initiative, a five-year project in collaboration with the Rural Institute on Disabilities at the University of Montana was initiated
- In 2001, APRIL was awarded a major grant from the Department of Education to demonstrate a national transportation voucher model for rural consumers with disabilities. With the funding of this project came the development of an infrastructure that would allow APRIL to support phenomenal growth. Staff here hired, policies and procedures were developed and an array of services and fiscal accountability were put in place.
- As a national advocate, APRIL has built a reputation as being the leading advocate in rural accessible transportation issues.
- At present, membership has grown to over 250 members and APRIL’s budget has exceeded half a million dollars.
- In 2008 APRIL collaborated with NCIL / ILRU to form the new CIL Net / SILC Net programs to mentor CILs and SILCs.
- In 2008, the APRIL office relocated from Kent, OH to North Little Rock, Arkansas!
APRIL is a national membership organization dedicated to advancing the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities in rural America.
Website – www.april-rural.org