Our Mission and the Independent Living Philosophy

Marin Center for Independent Living (Marin CIL) is a 45-year-old peer-led, community-based disability rights and services organization that promotes individuals of all ages with all types of disabilities to achieve their maximum level of sustainable independence as contributing, responsible, and equal participants in society.

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Photo of four young people posing together with hand gestures.
Illustration sketch of Marin CIL with the captions: A Storefront Base for Self-Sufficiency & Independence Since 1979.

About Marin CIL

Marin CIL provides peer-led, person-centered, one-to-one care navigation and other social services. Our Strategic Operating Plan includes six areas of focus: Meaningful Access to Care, Housing Support & Preservation, Youth and Family Supports, Community Resilience, Digital Equity, and Sustainable Caregiver Pipeline.

Located at 710 Fourth Street in San Rafael, a designated low-income community, we are a block away from a SMART commuter train stop, within local routes for Marin Transit, Paratransit accessible, bicycle friendly, and within walking distance to several city-run affordable parking lots.

Marin CIL is an employer of people living with disabilities with a base wage of $26/hr for all employees (Marin County's living wage benchmark). Our Services & Support team is diverse and representative of the communities we serve, including older adults, people living with disabilities, and their caregivers.

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Our History

Photo of Ed Roberts.
Photographed in 1976, Ed Roberts is known as a pioneer of disability rights advocacy.

Founded by a group of dedicated volunteers in 1979 and established formerly as a 501(c)3 non-profit in 1980, Marin CIL is the leading disability rights organization in Marin and, for the last four and a half decades, we've worked to provide our community with options and opportunities intended to help retain or re-establish independence on a person's own terms.

Our founding followed the world-changing movement for disability rights begun regionally in the 1960s when activist Ed Roberts, together with several other quadriplegic students, called for the opening of the University of California-Berkeley campus to students with disabilities. Roberts went on to lead the Department of Rehabilitation in Sacramento, and centers for independent living (CILs) began to proliferate nationally. This movement led by disabled people was a precursor to the passage in 1990 of one of the most important pieces of social legislation in the history of the United States: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The first CIL was founded in 1972 and, in California, twenty-eight counties have CILs that are united through the California Foundation of Independent Living Centers (CFILC).

Located in downtown San Rafael since the early 80s, Marin CIL was able to purchase our current location in 1986 to create a stable "resource hub" for all of Marin County.

In 1991, Marin CIL established its private caregiver registry to support disabled people in locating both independent and publicly-funding caregiving support. The late 90s brought "Agenda 2000" which was the establishment of standalone Public Authorities and the beginning of California's current In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) system.

Our Designations

501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization

As designated through the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Marin CIL is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our federal tax ID is 94-2605669.

Aging & Disability Resource Connection (ADRC)

Designated through the California Department of Aging (CDA) and in partnership with the County of Marin's Aging & Adult Services, Marin CIL supports children and adults of all ages living with disabilities in Marin.

As the sixth ADRC established in California and the first to be designated under CDA's new criteria, we are proud that our work is recognized nationally as a model for public/private sector partnerships between aging (Areas on Aging) and disability stakeholders (Independent Living Centers).

CalAIM Provider

Marin CIL is a designated CalAIM enhanced case management (ECM) and community supports (CS) provider through Partnership Healthcare.

Center for Independent Living (CIL)

Supported through California State funding authorized by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and via the California Foundation of Independent Living Centers (CFILC), Marin CIL provides services and supports to people living with disabilities and those aging into disability within Marin.

Disability Disaster Access & Resource Center (DDARC)

Via the California Foundation of Independent Living Centers (CFILC), Marin CIL assists individuals with disabilities and older adults in disaster readiness and recovery.

Family Empowerment Center (FEC)

Designated through the California Department of Education, Marin CIL serves the families of children and young adults with disabilities, ages 3–22 in Marin, Solano, and Sonoma Counties.

Family Resource Center (FRC)

Designated through the California Department of Developmental Services, Marin CIL serves the families of infants and toddlers, ages 0 – 3 in Marin, Solano, and Sonoma as these counties' FRC.

Parent Training & Information Center (PTI)

Designated through the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education, Marin CIL serves the families of children and young adults with disabilities, ages 0 – 26, in Marin, Solano, Sonoma, and Napa.

About Independent Living

Independent living ideology postulates that people with disabilities are the best experts on their needs, and, therefore, they must take the initiative, individually and collectively, in designing and promoting better solutions and must organize themselves for political power. Besides de-professionalization and self-representation, independent living ideology comprises the de-medicalization of disability, de-institutionalization, and the power of cross-disability representation.

A considerable body of research, training materials, and examples of good practice exist on such themes as transition from institutional to community living, transition from school to employment or self-employment, community organizing and advocacy, disability culture, girls and women with disabilities, and disability and development.

People with disabilities have the same right to participation, the same range of options, the same degree of freedom, control, and self-determination in everyday life and life projects that non-disabled people take for granted. Independent living activism demands the removal of infrastructural, institutional, and attitudinal barriers and the adoption of Universal Design principles to support access for all.

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Photo of four young people posing together with hand gestures.

Accessible Path for Life

Our vision encompasses all disabled people within all intersecting identities, living independently across their lifespans in a world where humanity and dignity are priorities.

Since 1983, Matrix Parents has empowered families of children with special education needs to understand and access the systems that serve them across Marin, Solano, Sonoma, and Napa counties. As of July 2024, this work is part of the Youth & Family Supports programs at Marin CIL, through a binding legal merger agreement unanimously approved by both organizations' boards. This merger will create a larger, multi-generational disability rights organization that centers on "whole family care" and begins the work of crafting an accessible path for life for all people living with disabilities in the North Bay.

Our Team

Services & Support Team

Ana Acosta Manager of Bilingual Parent Services

Mary Botelle Registry Manager

Briana Carrasco Care Team Navigator

Armin Damani Transitions Navigator

Erika Erzberger Parent Advisor & Data Associate

Julie Feliz Director of Parent Services

Blanca Gonzalez Bilingual Parent Advisor

Priscilla Jimenez Community Care Navigator

Andrea Caro Community Living Navigator

Margaret Johnston Senior Bilingual Parent Advisor

Coleman McDonough Data Specialist

Tonique McNair Assistive Technology Advocate

Mara Mkhitaryan ADRC Short-Term Service Navigator

Hill Pashalides Parent Advisor

David Posechl Parent Advisor

Julio Rebollar Community Care Navigator

Karen Robles Bilingual Parent Advisor

Chris Saroch Community Resiliency Navigator

Birgit Switenki Manager, FRC Community Navigator

M. Kelly Tyler Independent Living Advocate

Administration & Operations

Eli Gelardin Chief Executive Officer

Nancy Geisse Chief Strategic Officer

Susan Malardino Deputy Director

Christopher Kahl Director of Development & Marketing

Ted Jackson Director of Public Policy & Community Engagement

Anna Khachatryan Community Care Administrator

Gloria Ochoa Office & Information Manager

Jocelyne O'Toole Grants & Finance Manager

Angie Jackson Office Coordinator

Angela Dowd Communications Coordinator

Evan Milburn Systems Change Community Organizer

Olivia Glaubiger Project Associate

Maryam Zavieh Administrative Associate

Board of Directors


Lee Uniacke

Vice Chairperson

Nikki Cavalier


Ruth Vosmek


Debbie Levy

Non-Voting Member

Eli Gelardin


Kat Fahy
Heather Johnson
Jason Lau, Ph.D., CPRE.
Linda Lippstreu
Sarah Ponsford
Marty Rubino
Dario Santiago
Bob Sonnenberg
Barbie Ternlund
Nicole Wehr