Financial Management for CILs

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Online Course

About the Training

This online course is designed to instruct centers for independent living in the critical importance and "know how" of sound fiscal management.

Student Orientation

April 4 & 5, 2018

Course Level

Introductory to intermediate

Target Audience

CIL executives, financial managers, and other managers, as well as board members. The course may also be of benefit to SILC staff and members.

Course Objectives

Upon completion, you will have learned 1) key components of sound fiscal management; 2) appropriate roles for board and staff financial oversight; 3) how to develop budgets; 4) how to understand fiscal reports and use them in effective program management; and 5) how to identify fiscal risk management controls.


Participants will read assignments in the online course manual, complete exercises assigned by the instructor, and interact daily with the instructor and other students in an online discussion forum. Participants can access the course Web site at any time of the day or night. This can be done from any computer with an Internet connection. Participants should plan on spending 1-2 hours each day reading assignments, completing course work and participating in the discussion.


Maria Stepanyan has more than 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, primarily in financial management and operations oversight. Her career in human rights organizations started in 2001 in Moscow, Russia, where she was part of the management team for an Art Rehabilitation Studio for orphans. She is also the founder and board member of the Colorado Chapter of Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief. Currently, she is the Executive Director of Center for People With Disabilities, where she was the Director of Operations previously. In her 8 years at the Center for People With Disabilities, Maria has spearheaded development and implementation of Indirect Cost Rate, effective systems for grant tracking, budgeting, internal controls and financial reporting. She is a graduate of the Moscow Financial College and 2017 graduate of the Leadership Academy by Georgetown University. Maria speaks three languages, enjoys hiking and volunteering in the community.

Paula McElwee is the Technical Assistance Coordinator for the IL-NET and SILC Training and Technical Assistance projects at Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU). In addition to providing individualized technical assistance, Paula moderates training calls monthly for new CIL Executive Directors and Program Managers and for SILCs. Her blog, is a repository of technical assistance questions and answers from CILs and SILCs. Paula was the first Director of Link, Inc. in Kansas (one of the first states funded through the Rehabilitation Act) beginning in 1979. She worked in the disability field in Kansas for 25 years, and was appointed by two governors to serve three terms on the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas before moving to California in 2000.  She previously served on the board of Resources for Independence of the Central Valley and served as interim executive director for four CILs in California, assisting the boards to transition to their next executive director. Paula has provided training, facilitation and consultation with state associations, SILCs, and numerous centers throughout the country. 

Additional Information on Taking an Online Course

Pay Online and complete registration

Pay by check by contacting ILRU directly at or 713.520.0232