The agency was established in December, 1982 through the efforts of members of Handicaps Unlimited of Greater Richmond. That group wrote the original grant which was funded and administered through the Virginia Department of Rehabilitation Services. Staff was hired and the doors opened in 1983. At that time, the agency was called Richmond Center for Independent Living. On December 1, 1985 the agency was incorporated as Central Virginia Independent Living Center and was governed by its Board of Directors. We changed our name to Resources for Independent Living Inc. in 2007.
Resources for Independent Living Inc. serves persons with disabilities in the counties of Charles City, Dinwiddie, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George and the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg and Richmond. This catchment area is one of the largest in the state and includes over 1 million residents. The center operates out of its main office in Richmond and also has a satellite office in Petersburg. We are hopeful that at some point if funding permits, the Petersburg satellite will convert to a fully autonomous CIL. RIL belongs to the Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living (VACIL), a statewide network of fifteen (15) Centers for Independent Living, and National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) a nationwide network of CIL’s.
Sandra Cowles was the Executive Director of the agency for 26 years and retired in August 2011. Under her leadership the agency grew into one of the largest Centers for Independent Living in Virginia. Now the agency continues to build on that growth through increased community partnerships and collaborations, presentations to local governments and and businesses and through our continued presence in the local school systems.
On July 1, 2012, Virginia officially combined Aging and Disability Services to create a new state agency called DARS (Virginia Department of Aging and Disability Services.) This consolidation replicated what had been done nationally with the creation of the Administration of Community Living. In May 2013 the RIL Board and staff completed their strategic plan, in part to identify and chart the most efficient course of action for the agency within this new environment. As Virginia moves disability and aging services closer together, we will be expected to work more collaboratively and efficiently in the future. While our community training and orientations remain our most requested services we will also seek to take advantage of new partners and new challenges as we move forward.
While our impact in the community is unquestionable, there remain challenges to address and barriers to overcome. Thank you taking the time to learn more about us and we hope that you will continue to support us as we move forward to fulfill our mission.