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Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality

by RespectAbility USA
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
RespectAbility with Chairman of NCD
RespectAbility with Chairman of NCD

Dear Friends,

I cannot thank you enough for your support! I’d like to update you on key progress for people with disabilities that YOU helped make possible! Keep in mind that fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities is not an overnight project. Still, major foundations are being laid. Over the past year, here is some of the great outcomes we have achieved:

Policy and Practices

RespectAbility’s Policy Department has been able to develop crucial advocacy materials towards saving the Work Opportunity Tax Credit from elimination under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. We collaborated with local advocates to develop transformative resources in multiple languages and worked with Governors and other leaders in 37 states to make new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities. We have continued to lead as one of the Co-Chairs of the Employment and Training Task Force of the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). The Task Force works on issues relevant to the employment of people with disabilities as part of a 120-member strong advocacy coalition. Key work has included a strong focus on consensus building around competitive, integrated employment as well as working against proposed changes to the regulatory environment regarding the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Our Fellows have also written nationally distributed policy reports, which analyzed key regulatory challenges to disability employment at the Federal level and researched innovative best practices to improve education outcomes for students with disabilities.

RespectAbility also compiles and publishes data from the Disability Employment Compendium, detailing disability employment rates in each of the fifty states, on our website. To promote awareness of the Compendium’s findings, we visited all the offices of Congress and informed them on where their states stand in terms of employment for people with disabilities based on the Compendium’s statistics and provided them with information on how they could improve and what other states have done that has helped. Members of Congress were also encouraged to complete a survey indicating where they stand in terms of disability policies, which we will use the responses for to create a database on our website so prospective voters will know where their members of Congress stand since disabilities have been found to affect 74% of likely voters, through either personal or familial connections to disability.

National Leadership Fellowship

RespectAbility successfully recruited, trained and provided key skills for career advancement to 30+ Fellows. Fellows heard from 25+ speakers who are active in disability, policy, communications, philanthropy, strategic communications, Hollywood, the faith community, and more. Additionally, each cohort went to Capitol Hill and met staffers from both houses of Congress, and in some cases, members of Congress themselves. Fellows use this opportunity to discuss the importance of disability issues to public officials and their staff, focusing on either the impact legislation could have for people with disabilities in their district/state or asking them to complete our questionnaires which serve as a nonpartisan voting guide.

Over the past year RespectAbility fellows worked with Governors and other leaders in 32 states to make new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities. Fellows have also written nationally distributed policy reports, analysis of key regulatory challenges to disability employment at the Federal level, and researched innovative best practices to improve education outcomes for students with disabilities. Fellows have written drafts of grant proposals, assisted in prospect research, and successfully interviewed executives of foundations and other philanthropic organizations on diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, Fellows have aided our Hollywood Inclusion initiative by participating in script reviews, writing blog posts, and helping in the production of our Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit.

 Inclusive Philanthropy

RespectAbility gained major traction in terms of encouraging major foundation and philanthropists to think about adding disability to their work and their staff. We identified foundations that want to alleviate poverty, fund workforce programs, address racial disparities and injustices, focus on education attainment rates, and reform the justice system. Through one-on-one trainings, online webinars, free resources and other direct training, we educate funders about the correlation between poverty and disabilities, between low employment participation rates and poverty, and about intersectionality and disability. We help foundations develop their own inclusive hiring practices and make their websites accessible to those with hearing and vision impairments.

In 2018, we reached hundreds of philanthropic organizations and their staffers through in-person and online trainings. One of the largest trainings included a session at the Southern California Grantmakers regional association before 600 representatives of grantmaking organizations. We worked extensively this year in training in Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, New York City, and San Francisco. We also produced a toolkit for philanthropists who want to expand their impact through disability inclusion, and are continually updating and adding resources to the toolkit. As an example of the impact this work has, The Ford Foundation has made a permanent, multi-million dollar per year pledge to serve people with disabilities after conversation and trainings with RespectAbility. Finally, RespectAbility recently conducted a national survey of inclusion for people with disability in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. This study was the first of its kind and gives vital and current information on the strengths and weaknesses in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector and allows for informed next steps.

Communications

RespectAbility has a strong Communications team that works tirelessly on promoting our name and accomplishments. Our Vice President of Communications, Lauren Appelbaum, brings more than 15 years of experience in strategic communications, writing, video and web production, news gathering and social media to the disability agenda. Through her leadership and connections with press outlets, we can successfully broadcast our accomplishments.

RespectAbility has developed many important resources that promote how to create opportunities for people with disabilities. In partnership with more than 40 individuals and organizations, we created the first Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and have been able to advance best practices by developing substantive relationships with the entertainment industry’s leading professional and labor union organizations. Additionally, within Hollywood, we have conducted trainings for ABC/Disney, NBC/Universal, Netflix and Pixar on the importance of accurate inclusion of characters with disabilities on screen and better hiring practices of people with disabilities in all areas behind the screen. We also worked with Bunim/Murray Productions to launch the Emmy-winning reality show Born This Way to show an accurate portrayal of individuals living with Down syndrome.

We are hard at work continuing and expanding our projects. However, it is worth noting that RespectAbility still is hampered by the fact that we are understaffed and under-resourced. We are eagerly reaching out to make new relationships with potential funders. We are deeply grateful for your earlier investment in our work. Please email me at jenniferm@respectability.org with any questions or comments that you may have. Thanks for your investment in our work – and for the other amazing work you are doing on so many fronts!

I hope that you will continue to invest in the ground-breaking work. Thank you for joining with us in creating a better future for people with disabilities!

RespectAbility with Former White House Press Aid
RespectAbility with Former White House Press Aid
Spring 2019 with Speaker Ming Canady
Spring 2019 with Speaker Ming Canady
RespectAbility with Cal Harris, Chair Emeritus
RespectAbility with Cal Harris, Chair Emeritus

Dear Friends,

I cannot thank you enough for your support! I’d like to update you on key progress for people with disabilities that YOU helped make possible! Keep in mind that fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities is not an overnight project. Still, major foundations are being laid. Over the past year, here is some of the great outcomes we have achieved:

Policy and Practices

RespectAbility’s Policy Department has been able to develop crucial advocacy materials towards saving the Work Opportunity Tax Credit from elimination under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. We collaborated with local advocates to develop transformative resources in multiple languages and worked with Governors and other leaders in 37 states to make new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities. We have continued to lead as one of the Co-Chairs of the Employment and Training Task Force of the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). The Task Force works on issues relevant to the employment of people with disabilities as part of a 120-member strong advocacy coalition. Key work has included a strong focus on consensus building around competitive, integrated employment as well as working against proposed changes to the regulatory environment regarding the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Our Fellows have also written nationally distributed policy reports, which analyzed key regulatory challenges to disability employment at the Federal level and researched innovative best practices to improve education outcomes for students with disabilities.

RespectAbility also compiles and publishes data from the Disability Employment Compendium, detailing disability employment rates in each of the fifty states, on our website. To promote awareness of the Compendium’s findings, we visited all the offices of Congress and informed them on where their states stand in terms of employment for people with disabilities based on the Compendium’s statistics and provided them with information on how they could improve and what other states have done that has helped. Members of Congress were also encouraged to complete a survey indicating where they stand in terms of disability policies, which we will use the responses for to create a database on our website so prospective voters will know where their members of Congress stand since disabilities have been found to affect 74% of likely voters, through either personal or familial connections to disability.

National Leadership Fellowship

RespectAbility successfully recruited, trained and provided key skills for career advancement to 35 Fellows. Fellows heard from 25 speakers who are active in disability, policy, communications, philanthropy, strategic communications, Hollywood, the faith community, and more. Additionally, each cohort went to Capitol Hill and met staffers from both houses of Congress, and in some cases, members of Congress themselves. Fellows use this opportunity to discuss the importance of disability issues to public officials and their staff, focusing on either the impact legislation could have for people with disabilities in their district/state or asking them to complete our questionnaires which serve as a nonpartisan voting guide.

Over the past year RespectAbility fellows worked with Governors and other leaders in 32 states to make new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities. Fellows have also written nationally distributed policy reports, analysis of key regulatory challenges to disability employment at the Federal level, and researched innovative best practices to improve education outcomes for students with disabilities. Fellows have written drafts of grant proposals, assisted in prospect research, and successfully interviewed executives of foundations and other philanthropic organizations on diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, Fellows have aided our Hollywood Inclusion initiative by participating in script reviews, writing blog posts, and helping in the production of our Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit.

 Inclusive Philanthropy

RespectAbility gained major traction in terms of encouraging major foundation and philanthropists to think about adding disability to their work and their staff. We identified foundations that want to alleviate poverty, fund workforce programs, address racial disparities and injustices, focus on education attainment rates, and reform the justice system. Through one-on-one trainings, online webinars, free resources and other direct training, we educate funders about the correlation between poverty and disabilities, between low employment participation rates and poverty, and about intersectionality and disability. We help foundations develop their own inclusive hiring practices and make their websites accessible to those with hearing and vision impairments.

In 2018, we reached hundreds of philanthropic organizations and their staffers through in-person and online trainings. One of the largest trainings included a session at the Southern California Grantmakers regional association before 600 representatives of grantmaking organizations. We worked extensively this year in training in Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, New York City, and San Francisco. We also produced a toolkit for philanthropists who want to expand their impact through disability inclusion, and are continually updating and adding resources to the toolkit. As an example of the impact this work has, The Ford Foundation has made a permanent, multi-million dollar per year pledge to serve people with disabilities after conversation and trainings with RespectAbility. Finally, RespectAbility recently conducted a national survey of inclusion for people with disability in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. This study was the first of its kind and gives vital and current information on the strengths and weaknesses in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector and allows for informed next steps.

Communications

RespectAbility has a strong Communications team that works tirelessly on promoting our name and accomplishments. Our Vice President of Communications, Lauren Appelbaum, brings more than 15 years of experience in strategic communications, writing, video and web production, news gathering and social media to the disability agenda. Through her leadership and connections with press outlets, we can successfully broadcast our accomplishments.

RespectAbility has developed many important resources that promote how to create opportunities for people with disabilities. In partnership with more than 40 individuals and organizations, we created the first Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and have been able to advance best practices by developing substantive relationships with the entertainment industry’s leading professional and labor union organizations. Additionally, within Hollywood, we have conducted trainings for ABC/Disney, NBC/Universal, Netflix and Pixar on the importance of accurate inclusion of characters with disabilities on screen and better hiring practices of people with disabilities in all areas behind the screen. We also worked with Bunim/Murray Productions to launch the Emmy-winning reality show Born This Way to show an accurate portrayal of individuals living with Down syndrome.

We are hard at work continuing and expanding our projects. However, it is worth noting that RespectAbility still is hampered by the fact that we are understaffed and under-resourced. We are eagerly reaching out to make new relationships with potential funders. We are deeply grateful for your earlier investment in our work. Please email me at jenniferm@respectability.org with any questions or comments that you may have. Thanks for your investment in our work – and for the other amazing work you are doing on so many fronts!

I hope that you will continue to invest in the ground-breaking work. Thank you for joining with us in creating a better future for people with disabilities!

RespectAbility with Chairman of NCD

RespectAbility with Chairman of NCD

Spring 2019 with Speaker Ming Canady

Spring 2019 with Speaker Ming Canady

RespectAbility with Former White House Press Aid

RespectAbility with Former White House Press Aid

RespectAbility with Cal Harris, Chair Emeritus

RespectAbility with Cal Harris, Chair Emeritus
2019 Spring Fellows at US Capitol Building
2019 Spring Fellows at US Capitol Building

Dear Friends,

I cannot thank you enough for your support! I’d like to update you on key progress for people with disabilities that YOU helped make possible! Keep in mind that fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities is not an overnight project. Still, major foundations are being laid. Since August we have achieved the following:

POLICY

RespectAbility’s Policy Department has been able to develop crucial advocacy materials towards saving the Work Opportunity Tax Credit from elimination under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. We collaborated with local advocates to develop transformative resources in multiple languages and worked with Governors and other leaders in 37 states to make new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities. We have continued to lead as one of the Co-Chairs of the Employment and Training Task Force of the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). The Task Force works on issues relevant to the employment of people with disabilities as part of a 120-member strong advocacy coalition. Key work has included a strong focus on consensus building around competitive, integrated employment as well as working against proposed changes to the regulatory environment regarding the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Our Fellows have also written nationally distributed policy reports, which analyzed key regulatory challenges to disability employment at the Federal level and researched innovative best practices to improve education outcomes for students with disabilities.

RespectAbility also compiles and publishes data from the Disability Employment Compendium, detailing disability employment rates in each of the fifty states, on our website. To promote awareness of the Compendium’s findings, we visited all the offices of Congress and informed them on where their states stand in terms of employment for people with disabilities based on the Compendium’s statistics and provided them with information on how they could improve and what other states have done that has helped. Members of Congress were also encouraged to complete a survey indicating where they stand in terms of disability policies, which we will use the responses for to create a database on our website so prospective voters will know where their members of Congress stand since disabilities have been found to affect 74% of likely voters, through either personal or familial connections to disability.

FELLOWSHIP

RespectAbility successfully recruited, trained and provided key skills for career advancement to 35 Fellows. Fellows heard from 25 speakers who are active in disability, policy, communications, philanthropy, strategic communications, Hollywood, the faith community, and more. Additionally, each cohort went to Capitol Hill and met staffers from both houses of Congress, and in some cases, members of Congress themselves. Fellows use this opportunity to discuss the importance of disability issues to public officials and their staff, focusing on either the impact legislation could have for people with disabilities in their district/state or asking them to complete our questionnaires which serve as a nonpartisan voting guide.

Over the past year RespectAbility fellows worked with Governors and other leaders in 32 states to make new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities. Fellows have also written nationally distributed policy reports, analysis of key regulatory challenges to disability employment at the Federal level, and researched innovative best practices to improve education outcomes for students with disabilities. Fellows have written drafts of grant proposals, assisted in prospect research, and successfully interviewed executives of foundations and other philanthropic organizations on diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, Fellows have aided our Hollywood Inclusion initiative by participating in script reviews, writing blog posts, and helping in the production of our Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit.

 

INCLUSIVE PHILANTHROPY

RespectAbility gained major traction in terms of encouraging major foundation and philanthropists to think about adding disability to their work and their staff. We identified foundations that want to alleviate poverty, fund workforce programs, address racial disparities and injustices, focus on education attainment rates, and reform the justice system. Through one-on-one trainings, online webinars, free resources and other direct training, we educate funders about the correlation between poverty and disabilities, between low employment participation rates and poverty, and about intersectionality and disability. We help foundations develop their own inclusive hiring practices and make their websites accessible to those with hearing and vision impairments.

In 2018, we reached hundreds of philanthropic organizations and their staffers through in-person and online trainings. One of the largest trainings included a session at the Southern California Grantmakers regional association before 600 representatives of grantmaking organizations. We worked extensively this year in training in Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, New York City, and San Francisco. We also produced a toolkit for philanthropists who want to expand their impact through disability inclusion, and are continually updating and adding resources to the toolkit. As an example of the impact this work has, The Ford Foundation has made a permanent, multi-million dollar per year pledge to serve people with disabilities after conversation and trainings with RespectAbility. Finally, RespectAbility recently conducted a national survey of inclusion for people with disability in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. This study was the first of its kind and gives vital and current information on the strengths and weaknesses in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector and allows for informed next steps.

COMMUNICATIONS

RespectAbility has a strong Communications team that works tirelessly on promoting our name and accomplishments. Our Vice President of Communications, Lauren Appelbaum, brings more than 15 years of experience in strategic communications, writing, video and web production, news gathering and social media to the disability agenda. Through her leadership and connections with press outlets, we can successfully broadcast our accomplishments.

RespectAbility has developed many important resources that promote how to create opportunities for people with disabilities. In partnership with more than 40 individuals and organizations, we created the first Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and have been able to advance best practices by developing substantive relationships with the entertainment industry’s leading professional and labor union organizations. Additionally, within Hollywood, we have conducted trainings for ABC/Disney, NBC/Universal, Netflix and Pixar on the importance of accurate inclusion of characters with disabilities on screen and better hiring practices of people with disabilities in all areas behind the screen. We also worked with Bunim/Murray Productions to launch the Emmy-winning reality show Born This Way to show an accurate portrayal of individuals living with Down syndrome.

We are hard at work continuing and expanding our projects. However, it is worth noting that RespectAbility still is hampered by the fact that we are understaffed and under-resourced. We are eagerly reaching out to make new relationships with potential funders. We are deeply grateful for your earlier investment in our work. Please email me at jenniferm@respectability.org with any questions or comments that you may have. Thanks for your investment in our work – and for the other amazing work you are doing on so many fronts!


I hope that you will continue to invest in the ground-breaking work. Thank you for joining with us in creating a better future for people with disabilities!

RespectAbility with Chairman of NCD
RespectAbility with Chairman of NCD
Spring 2019 with Speaker Ming Canady
Spring 2019 with Speaker Ming Canady
RespectAbility with Former White House Press Aid
RespectAbility with Former White House Press Aid
RespectAbility with Cal Harris, Chair Emeritus
RespectAbility with Cal Harris, Chair Emeritus

Dear Friend,

You subscribed to email updates from Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality by RespectAbility USA, a project on GlobalGiving. Here's the unedited update from the field: 

Empowering People with Disabilities - February 2019
By Jennifer Mizrahi - President


Board, spring fellows and staff
Board, spring fellows and staff


Dear Friends,

I cannot thank you enough for your earlier support! I’d like to update you on key progress for people with disabilities that YOU helped make possible! Keep in mind that fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities is not an overnight project. Still, major foundations are being laid. Since November, we have been working on the following:

Continued building Community of Practice in Long Beach. Our National Employment Program consists of Communities of Practice for local stakeholders to work collaboratively on improving education and employment rates for people with disabilities. The Long Beach Community Foundation provided seed funding to Respectability to work in California, and we are connecting and partnering with local leaders there. We have compelling and credible data on the number of working-age people with disabilities, employment participation rates, high school graduation rates, and racial disparities among people with disabilities. We identified how many job training programs exist in the community and if any of them are placing and retaining people with disabilities in competitive employment. We identified the employers and educate them about the value to a company’s bottom line of employing qualified, conscientious workers with disabilities. We also address barriers to employment for qualified people with disabilities: accessibility, reasonable accommodations, mentoring, and transportation. When gathering key local leaders, employers, government agencies, local workforce boards, vocational rehabilitation services, and job training programs, we might bring stakeholders together who have never worked together before. We recommend best practice employment programs such as Project Search and Bridges to Work, and we bring in experts to teach a community how to expand school-to-work transition programs and entrepreneurship opportunities for people with disabilities.

The intermediary goal is to create strategic alliances and increase the number of community champions engaged in disabilities employment. We prepare for each community toolkits and resource guides, convene press conferences, and events which can drive progress. Success is defined not only as cooperation among stakeholders, strategic alliances, and increased public awareness but an increase in the number of new minimum-wage (and above) jobs for people with disabilities over time in that community. Our Long Beach resource guide is very well-received in the community, and we plan on expanding the geographic scope to cover all of Los Angeles County.

The Successful Implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) WIOA was passed in 2014. Now states can invest in programs that have been proven to work. Another new law, Section 503, has an aspirational goal for federal contractors to have at least 7% of their workforce be people with disabilities. Indeed, a new study shows that only 12% of employers include people with disabilities in their diversity programs. Additionally, some cities and employers have no idea how to recruit, train, accommodate, and retain employees with disabilities. The incentive for stakeholders from other cities to cooperate with RespectAbility is simple: if the states and cities do not adopt effective workforce programs for people with disabilities, they risk losing millions in federal funding, employers miss out on key talent, and people with disabilities are denied the opportunity to achieve a better future.

Raised public awareness of the abilities of people with disabilities through earned and paid media and constant promotion of positive images and stories that counter negative stereotypes. Diversity in Hollywood should include disability. Our stigma reduction program is a media campaign to raise public awareness of the ABILITIES of people with disabilities through the promotion of positive images and stories on television, in films and the media via our #RespectTheAbility campaign. While one in five Americans has a disability, fewer than 2% of scripted television characters (15 in total) have disabilities. Actors with disabilities do not play most of these characters, and diversity is missing. We deliver compelling data and positive stories to directors, producers, casting agents, show runners, media journalists, and studio heads. Indeed, we have had fruitful conversations with these stakeholders, and we are already seeing more characters with disabilities on screen. Success is defined by an increase in the number of positive media representations of people with disabilities and an increase in the number of new jobs for people with disabilities in front and behind the Hollywood cameras. RespectAbility also writes and publishes success stories on employers who have hired people with disabilities. RespectAbility also wants to change the limited employment of people with disabilities in Hollywood movies and in other media.

Expansion of our National Leadership Program to bring in more talented young leaders into the disability space. Our National Leadership Program is a semester-long fellowship that prepares college and graduate students and recent graduates to become future leaders and advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. The Fellows are taught development, policy and practices, strategic communications including social media campaigns, and effective writing strategies. The Program has high-level executive coaching, and by the second week of the program, National Leadership Fellows are preparing their first press releases, attending conferences on Capitol Hill, and writing Letters of Inquiry and PowerPoint decks to major stakeholders. We have already trained 132 Fellows since 2013. More than half of the Fellows self-disclose as having a disability. Success for our Fellows is defined as finding full-time employment or attending graduate school, and 92% of them have achieved this goal. Their success reflects RespectAbility’s commitment to expanding jobs for people with multiple disabilities. Our Fellows have secured jobs at such diverse places as AmeriCorps; the National Disability Institute; Easter Seals; the White House; the World Bank; the Departments of Treasury, Education and Defense; and the Veterans Administration. We had 12 Fellows in spring and summer each, and we currently have 11 autumn Fellows.

Gained traction in terms of encouraging major philanthropists to think about adding disability to their work. This education and fundraising program is designed to educate other philanthropists, especially major foundations, about disabilities employment and to increase funding to disabilities organizations. We identify foundations that want to alleviate poverty, fund workforce programs, address racial disparities and injustices, focus on education attainment rates, and reform the justice system. If these funders have not yet added the disability lens to their philanthropy, we meet with them and offer free tools and training. We educate funders about the correlation between poverty and disabilities, between low employment participation rates and poverty, and about intersectionality (double discrimination) and disability. We help foundations develop their own inclusive hiring practices and make their websites accessible to those with hearing and vision impairments. By convincing other foundations to support the disabilities field overall, we strengthen the base of support for changes in policy, practices, and behavior. The goal is to attract more funding to all disabilities nonprofits—not only RespectAbility. Success is defined by the number of foundations that never funded disabilities or never had plans for inclusion practices within the foundation but now invest in disability workforce issues and practice internal inclusion (hiring staff with disabilities). Because of our efforts and those of others, the Ford Foundation now funds in the disabilities field as a part of their already existing portfolio. We are developing partnerships with various other large foundations as well.

We are hard at work continuing and expanding our projects. However, it is worth noting that RespectAbility still is hampered by the fact that we are understaffed and under-resourced. We are eagerly reaching out to make new relationships with potential funders. We are deeply grateful for your earlier investment in our work. Please email me at jenniferm@respectability.org with any questions or comments that you may have. Thanks for your investment in our work – and for the other amazing work you are doing on so many fronts!

I hope that you will continue to invest in the ground-breaking work. Thank you for joining with us in creating a better future for people with disabilities!
Fall 2017 fellows with staff
Fall 2017 fellows with staff
With Pras Ranaweera from the Ford Foundation
With Pras Ranaweera from the Ford Foundation
With Attorney Ollie Cantos
With Attorney Ollie Cantos
With Board Member Linda Burger
With Board Member Linda Burger
With Board Member Eleanor Clift
With Board Member Eleanor Clift

Board, spring fellows and staff
Board, spring fellows and staff


Dear Friends,

I cannot thank you enough for your earlier support! I’d like to update you on key progress for people with disabilities that YOU helped make possible! Keep in mind that fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities is not an overnight project. Still, major foundations are being laid. Since August we have achieved the following:

Continued building Community of Practice in Long Beach. Our National Employment Program consists of Communities of Practice for local stakeholders to work collaboratively on improving education and employment rates for people with disabilities. The Long Beach Community Foundation provided seed funding to Respectability to work in California, and we are connecting and partnering with local leaders there. We have compelling and credible data on the number of working-age people with disabilities, employment participation rates, high school graduation rates, and racial disparities among people with disabilities. We identified how many job training programs exist in the community and if any of them are placing and retaining people with disabilities in competitive employment. We identified the employers and educate them about the value to a company’s bottom line of employing qualified, conscientious workers with disabilities. We also address barriers to employment for qualified people with disabilities: accessibility, reasonable accommodations, mentoring, and transportation. When gathering key local leaders, employers, government agencies, local workforce boards, vocational rehabilitation services, and job training programs, we might bring stakeholders together who have never worked together before. We recommend best practice employment programs such as Project Search and Bridges to Work, and we bring in experts to teach a community how to expand school-to-work transition programs and entrepreneurship opportunities for people with disabilities.

The intermediary goal is to create strategic alliances and increase the number of community champions engaged in disabilities employment. We prepare for each community toolkits and resource guides, convene press conferences, and events which can drive progress. Success is defined not only as cooperation among stakeholders, strategic alliances, and increased public awareness but an increase in the number of new minimum-wage (and above) jobs for people with disabilities over time in that community. Our Long Beach resource guide is very well-received in the community, and we plan on expanding the geographic scope to cover all of Los Angeles County.

The Successful Implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) WIOA was passed in 2014. Now states can invest in programs that have been proven to work. Another new law, Section 503, has an aspirational goal for federal contractors to have at least 7% of their workforce be people with disabilities. Indeed, a new study shows that only 12% of employers include people with disabilities in their diversity programs. Additionally, some cities and employers have no idea how to recruit, train, accommodate, and retain employees with disabilities. The incentive for stakeholders from other cities to cooperate with RespectAbility is simple: if the states and cities do not adopt effective workforce programs for people with disabilities, they risk losing millions in federal funding, employers miss out on key talent, and people with disabilities are denied the opportunity to achieve a better future.

Raised public awareness of the abilities of people with disabilities through earned and paid media and constant promotion of positive images and stories that counter negative stereotypes. Diversity in Hollywood should include disability. Our stigma reduction program is a media campaign to raise public awareness of the ABILITIES of people with disabilities through the promotion of positive images and stories on television, in films and the media via our #RespectTheAbility campaign. While one in five Americans has a disability, fewer than 2% of scripted television characters (15 in total) have disabilities. Actors with disabilities do not play most of these characters, and diversity is missing. We deliver compelling data and positive stories to directors, producers, casting agents, show runners, media journalists, and studio heads. Indeed, we have had fruitful conversations with these stakeholders, and we are already seeing more characters with disabilities on screen. Success is defined by an increase in the number of positive media representations of people with disabilities and an increase in the number of new jobs for people with disabilities in front and behind the Hollywood cameras. RespectAbility also writes and publishes success stories on employers who have hired people with disabilities. RespectAbility also wants to change the limited employment of people with disabilities in Hollywood movies and in other media.

Expansion of our National Leadership Program to bring in more talented young leaders into the disability space. Our National Leadership Program is a semester-long fellowship that prepares college and graduate students and recent graduates to become future leaders and advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. The Fellows are taught development, policy and practices, strategic communications including social media campaigns, and effective writing strategies. The Program has high-level executive coaching, and by the second week of the program, National Leadership Fellows are preparing their first press releases, attending conferences on Capitol Hill, and writing Letters of Inquiry and PowerPoint decks to major stakeholders. We have already trained 132 Fellows since 2013. More than half of the Fellows self-disclose as having a disability. Success for our Fellows is defined as finding full-time employment or attending graduate school, and 92% of them have achieved this goal. Their success reflects RespectAbility’s commitment to expanding jobs for people with multiple disabilities. Our Fellows have secured jobs at such diverse places as AmeriCorps; the National Disability Institute; Easter Seals; the White House; the World Bank; the Departments of Treasury, Education and Defense; and the Veterans Administration. We had 12 Fellows in spring and summer each, and we currently have 11 autumn Fellows.

Gained traction in terms of encouraging major philanthropists to think about adding disability to their work. This education and fundraising program is designed to educate other philanthropists, especially major foundations, about disabilities employment and to increase funding to disabilities organizations. We identify foundations that want to alleviate poverty, fund workforce programs, address racial disparities and injustices, focus on education attainment rates, and reform the justice system. If these funders have not yet added the disability lens to their philanthropy, we meet with them and offer free tools and training. We educate funders about the correlation between poverty and disabilities, between low employment participation rates and poverty, and about intersectionality (double discrimination) and disability. We help foundations develop their own inclusive hiring practices and make their websites accessible to those with hearing and vision impairments. By convincing other foundations to support the disabilities field overall, we strengthen the base of support for changes in policy, practices, and behavior. The goal is to attract more funding to all disabilities nonprofits—not only RespectAbility. Success is defined by the number of foundations that never funded disabilities or never had plans for inclusion practices within the foundation but now invest in disability workforce issues and practice internal inclusion (hiring staff with disabilities). Because of our efforts and those of others, the Ford Foundation now funds in the disabilities field as a part of their already existing portfolio. We are developing partnerships with various other large foundations as well.

We are hard at work continuing and expanding our projects. However, it is worth noting that RespectAbility still is hampered by the fact that we are understaffed and under-resourced. We are eagerly reaching out to make new relationships with potential funders. We are deeply grateful for your earlier investment in our work. Please email me at jenniferm@respectability.org with any questions or comments that you may have. Thanks for your investment in our work – and for the other amazing work you are doing on so many fronts!

I hope that you will continue to invest in the ground-breaking work. Thank you for joining with us in creating a better future for people with disabilities!
Fall 2017 fellows with staff
Fall 2017 fellows with staff
With Pras Ranaweera from the Ford Foundation
With Pras Ranaweera from the Ford Foundation
With Attorney Ollie Cantos
With Attorney Ollie Cantos
With Board Member Linda Burger
With Board Member Linda Burger
With Board Member Eleanor Clift
With Board Member Eleanor Clift

 

 

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Organization Information

RespectAbility USA

Location: Rockville, MD - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Respect_Ability
Project Leader:
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Rockville, MD United States
$21,900 raised of $25,000 goal
 
119 donations
$3,100 to go
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