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Virginia’s CNI: The Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative Trust Fund

Virginia’s CNI-The Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative Trust Fund

In the state of Virginia is the incredibly important state agency known as the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative (CNI) Trust Fund. Established in 1997, this state agency was created for the sole purpose of helping people with neurotrauma in Virginia. Neurotrauma encompasses all conditions stemming from spinal cord dysfunction and brain injuries, including but not limited to those with spinal cord injuries.

Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury

Like similar state agencies created for paralysis survivors, this trust fund was established for two explicit reasons. The first reason is to fund spinal cord injury research, with nearly half of the funding for this trust fund going to research each year. Many similar state agencies also fund spinal cord injury research. The second initiative for the fund is to support the rehabilitation of those with neurotrauma.  

Rehabilitation can encompass a variety of needs including anything not covered by insurance. Inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, alternative therapy like activity-based therapy, medical equipment, home modifications, and vehicle assistance. For Virginians with spinal cord injuries and brain injuries, this trust fund is indispensable for helping with these critical costs.

Woman with TBI and Seizure driving a car

Like similar state agencies as well, the CNI is funded by fees that come from drivers who need their driver's license reinstated from various driving offenses, including DUIs hit and run, reckless driving, failure to comply with conditions imposed on license probation for driving offenses, and others fines. The state of Virginia collects an additional $30 to reinstate each driver's license, and $25 of this fee goes to the CNI.

The CNI operates its budget by disbursing money to a wide array of Virginia-based organizations, institutions, and researchers. Each organization must apply through a competitive grant process that is administered by DARS (the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services). The CNI makes their decisions through an Advisory Board that awards grant funds between $5,000 to $150,000 per year, and for up to three years in alternating cycles. The grant money must go to either neurotrauma-related research or community-based services grants to help people with spinal injuries or brain injuries.

If you're interested in those who've received grants from the CNI, you can do so on their website. You'll see that all of the spinal cord injury research that is funded by CNI is based in Virginia. If you are interested in applying for a grant, you must be based in Virginia. The principal contact for the CNI is Wanda Allen. She can be contacted at (804)-662-7154.

- Learn more: https://vacni.org/ 

Topics: Spinal Cord Injury, Paralysis, Traumatic Brain Injury, Brain Injuries, Spinal Cord, Trust Fund

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