Board Roster, Vision and Mission

Our Vision

WNYIL Inc. family of agencies is a catalyst for systems and individual change, enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities while respecting diversity and promoting choice and alternatives for independent living in our societies.

Our Mission

WNYIL Inc. is a multi-cultural, grass roots, peer directed, civil rights organization that provides a full range of assistance, programs and services to enhance the quality of life for all individuals with disabilities.

What is an independent Living Center?

An independent living center is a consumer controlled, community based, cross disability, nonresidential nonprofit agency that is designed and operated by and for people with disabilities. Independent Living Services offer people with disabilities the opportunity to live independently in the environment and community that he or she decides.

Western New York Independent Living, Inc. is comprised of a family of regional Independent Living Centers with main and satellite locations throughout Niagara, Erie, Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans Counties. As an Independent Living Center, we are mandated to offer the five core services as described within the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Title VII, Chapter 1. 

As a family of six agencies, Western New York Independent Living, Inc. aligns all of its services and programs with the five core services of Independent Living, which are:

  1. Peer Counseling

  2. Independent Living Skills

  3. Transitioning

  4. Community/Individual Advocacy

  5. Information & Referral


Born in the nationwide independent living and civil rights movement, college students with disabilities who were fed up with discrimination and the lack of access for people with disabilities, decided to make their own opportunities and assist their peers to do the same. In 1979 “The Independents,” a group of students with disabilities at the State University of New York at Buffalo, investigated the independent living movement and began operating the Western New York Independent Living Project (ILP). The agency was awarded a Federal Title VII grant in 1980 and opened its own facility early in 1981.

Where the peer environment embraces, enhances, and empowers people every day, improving our lives as people with disabilities, on the local, State, and national level.

WNYIL Board of Directors 2020

Paul Beakman, Sr., President

Richard Dread, Vice President

Richard Koch, Treasurer

Sue Ann Sehl, Secretary

Barbara Gaetano

Ellen Lawson

Donald Le Ber

Michael May

Juan Santiago

Miguel Santos

John Schappacher

Ann Scherff

Gary Paruta

Matt Carlucci

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