Our History

A brief history of Ability Montana and advocacy for independence for people with disabilities

Advocacy Groups Unite


Two Montana advocacy groups wrote grants to the Department of Education for Independent Living and received their grants in 1981. These advocacy groups became known as Montana Independent Living Project and Summit Independent Living Center.

Montana Independent Living Project (mILp) Established Across Montana


Montana Independent Living Project establishes offices in Helena, Bozeman, and Butte. mILp services 14 counties in southwest Montana, including Beaverhead, Broadwater, Deer Lodge, Gallatin, Granite, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Madison, Meagher, Park, Powell, Silver Bow, Sweet Grass, and Wheatland.

North Central Independent Living Services (NCILS), Inc. & Living Independently for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT), Inc. Open


North Central Independent Living Services (NCILS) opens in Great Falls and Living Independently for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT) opens in Billings.

The Capitol Crawl Protest


The “Capitol Crawl” protest takes place on March 12, 1990. Over 60 disabled activists deserted mobility devices and crawled up the steps of the Capitol to advocate for civil rights and equality for people with disabilities.

Photo Credits: Tom Olin/Disability History Museum

Source: share.america.gov

The ADA Amendments Act is Signed


The ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed by President George W. Bush on September 25, 2008. This act made a number of significant changes to the meaning and interpretation of the ADA definition of “disability” to ensure that definition would be broadly construed and applied without extensive analysis.

Photo Credit: White House Archives

Source: ADA.gov

mILp as a Center for Independent Living in Montana


mILp is one of four Centers for Independent Living in the State of Montana and is governed by a consumer-controlled Board of Directors whose lives have been personally impacted by a disability. We are funded in part by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended in 1992 (Title VII- Independent Living Services), and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (Disability Services Division).

mILp is now Ability Montana!