CILNCF Executive Director Receives 2014 ABLE Trust Leadership Award

The Center for Independent Living of North Central Florida (CILNCF) is extremely proud to announce that our Executive Director, William Kennedy has been selected as The Able Trust’s 2014 recipient of the Dr. George Spelios Leadership Award.  Also known as the Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation, the Able Trust’s mission is to provide Floridians with disabilities opportunities for successful employment.  This award is a recognition of Mr. Kennedy’s many years of advocacy and leadership as a model of excellence to the business and disability communities.

After over 20 years of involvement with the CILNCF, with 14 of those years spent as its Executive Director, Mr. Kennedy has recently announced his retirement.  This award is a wonderful opportunity for the organization to say farewell to Mr. Kennedy and to thank him for many years of dedication to the CILNCF.  Mr. Kennedy’s presence and vision are largely responsible for making the CIL the force for disability rights that it is today.

Those familiar with Mr. Kennedy are aware that he leads the CILNCF consumers and staff by his example.  Mr. Kennedy is a person living with quadriplegia resulting from a spinal cord injury in his youth.  His desire for empowerment and independence led him to the independent living and disability rights movement and its goal to enable all persons with disabilities to fully participate in society.

During his tenure as Executive Director, the CILNCF has faced budget cuts from government grant programs, the unprecedented sequestration funding reductions and changes caused by the downturn in the economy.  Throughout that time, the CILNCF has continued to advocate for and serve people with disabilities in the community of North Florida and indeed has expanded its role wherever possible.  The CILNCF’s enduring success in advocacy and support is due in large part to the perseverance and determination Mr. Kennedy has exhibited throughout his life.

The Able Trust’s 2014 Dr. George Spelios Leadership Award is not only an opportunity for the community to recognize William Kennedy for his many years of service, it is also a chance for the CILNCF Board, Mr. Kennedy and the community as a whole to praise the CILNCF staff for the important work that happens at the Center every day.  The CILNCF will continue to provide their many important services like sign language interpreting, employment services, paratransit support, awareness training, wheelchair ramp construction and their High School High Tech program for teens for many years to come.

For more information, contact CILNCF Business Manager Colette Gromoll ( or Interim Executive Director Amy Tharpe ( or by phone (352) 378-7474.