Mission and Vision


Our mission is to promote and facilitate the development of Microboards and Cooperatives for the benefit of individuals with disabilities so they may live fulfilling lives as valued members of their communities.


We carry out this mission by providing information, advocacy, support and training that will assist persons with disabilities and their families/friends to create alternatives that will allow the persons to live self-directed lives through the use of person-centered planning, community supports, and resource management.


Our vision is every person empowered to live a quality life, included in and valued by their communities.

What Are Microboards and Cooperatives?


Microboards and Human Service Cooperatives were introduced to Illinois as an alternative to (or in addition to) traditional choices in care 5 years ago, thanks to the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities. The purpose of these small corporations is to manage the supports and services of people with disabilities.


A Microboard serves one or two people (siblings or a married couple), and a Cooperative serves three or more unrelated individuals who come together to share in the decision-making about their services. Currently in Illinois, there are more than 35 incorporated Microboards and 7 Cooperatives serving more than 125 individuals, with many more in development.


Each Microboard and Cooperative is a unique entity designed to support the individual(s) served.  As a result, no two Microboards or Cooperatives are the same.  Some support one-person CILAs or other creative housing options.  Some support a micro-enterprise or community jobs, and others focus on community inclusion, relationships, friendships or combinations of those areas.


Microboards and Cooperatives are different from traditional care in several ways:


First, they are structured in a way that puts the people they serve in control of determining what services they need and how they will be provided.  They are grounded in self-determination – even for those with the most significant disabilities.


Second, Microboards and Cooperatives are not places.  A primary goal of each is to assist individuals to build quality lives in the community – not just to be IN the community but OF the community.


Third, Microboards and Cooperatives have the ability to perpetuate quality of care for a family member with disabilities long after parents are gone.  Parents of children with disabilities often say they need to live “one day longer than my child with a disability”.  When we create Microboards and Cooperatives, we are creating structures that will, if built correctly, be there for the long haul.

Underlying Beliefs


  • We recognize the inherent value of each unique individual.  We seek to overcome societal barriers that limit opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enjoy full participation in life and community.  Our goal is that the individuals we serve enjoy a quality life with all of the rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of any other individual in the community.


  • The mission of a Microboard or Cooperative is based on the unique hopes, dreams and needs of the individual(s) being served.


  • The focus of Microboards and Cooperatives is on the individuals’ full participation in community.


  • The individuals’ consent, ownership, and governance are essential to the operation of a Cooperative or Microboard.


  • A Microboard can be thought of as a think-tank of champions utilizing their own networks and resources for the good of the individual.


  • Community, for our purposes, means the world at large.


  • We believe that: 

    • Everyone has unique gifts and talents to share.

    • Everyone deserves dignity, respect and the opportunity for choice with responsibility.

    • Everyone deserves the opportunity to try, to fail, to learn from unsuccessful attempts, and to try again.

    • Everyone has something to say and deserves the right to be heard by their own means of expression – including verbal, gestures, signs, behavior, etc.

    • Everyone deserves the right to live in the home of their choice and to have control of their own environment.

    • Everyone deserves the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to their community through income-producing work, volunteering, recreation, memberships, and the like.

    • When we come together in celebration of diversity, recognizing the unique gifts of each individual, everyone benefits from new, sometimes unexpected, outcomes; from greater strengths within the community; and from a variety of mutually-beneficial authentic relationships based on shared experiences and interests.