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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

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 February 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 we currently have 12 summer 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 February 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 120 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 10 Fellows in Fall 2017, and we currently have 12 spring 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 November 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 120 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 10 Fellows in Fall 2017, and we currently have 12 spring 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

Links:

Staff, summer fellows and Chairman Calvin Harris
Staff, summer fellows and Chairman Calvin Harris

RespectAbility Team Focuses on Keys to Success

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:


Started 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 have already begun to meet and partner with local leaders there. Before entering a community, we compile 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 identify 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 identify 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 often discover that the various stakeholders have never met and do not know of each other’s existence. Or they have never cooperated 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.

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, the states 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. 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 TV, 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. 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. Diversity in Hollywood should include Disability. 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 105 Fellows. 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.

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 has begun to fund in the disabilities field and is developing a plan for future investments.

 

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!

With Disability Activist Andy Imparato
With Disability Activist Andy Imparato
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 Political Consultant Dave Hoppe
With Political Consultant Dave Hoppe

Links:

Staff, summer fellows and Chairman Calvin Harris
Staff, summer fellows and Chairman Calvin Harris

RespectAbility Team Focuses on Keys to Success

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 May we have achieved the following:

Started building Communities of Practice in Hollywood and Long Beach. We aim to decrease stigma by organizing Communities of Practice in Long Beach, CA and in Hollywood. These communities involve stakeholders who care about people with disabilities (PwDs) – workforce organizations, employers, philanthropists, the media, Hollywood, the faith community, the healthcare industry and more. Working together, communities will work towards supporting PwDs in their local areas by increasing employment opportunities and access to opportunity and by decreasing stigma in the workforce and entertainment industry. The next series of events in California happened in August. One event focused on increasing education, skills, jobs and good health for youth with disabilities in Long Beach. The other events – a focus group in Los Angeles and event at an important TV studio - focused on changing the narrative in Hollywood so that it will be much more diverse and inclusive of diverse people with disabilities.

Raised public awareness of the abilities of people with disabilities (PwDs) through earned and paid media and constant promotion of positive images and stories that counter negative stereotypes. Our work includes identification of messaging and images that change perceptions, publication of articles and op-eds in national and local newspapers by well-known thought-leaders. We also championed A&E’s reality show Born this Way, which won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Series, and provided educational toolkits on key disability topics. This is the first time ever that a series starring a cast with disabilities has won an Emmy Award. The show recently finished its third season, began global syndication and is currently nominated for six Emmy Awards. RespectAbility has been involved in this show since the beginning, and a key part of it is to showcase people with disabilities who are in competitive integrated employment or who are becoming successful entrepreneurs. Indeed, we were on an episode this past season! Beyond Born This Way, RespectAbility held an event on Capitol Hill in July about fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for PwDs, especially through the entertainment industry. Speakers included Casting Director and Producer Leah Daniels-Butler, Golfer Tommy Morrissey and Television Host Marc Summers. This event was shown live on CSPAN nationally. They liked it so much that they re-aired it three more times!

Expansion of our National Leadership Program to bring in more talented young leaders into the disability space. This program is for people with and without disabilities who are interested in careers in public policy, communications, media, faith-based inclusion, fundraising and the nonprofit sector. Since being founded in 2013, RespectAbility has had several dozen fellows go into employment and higher education. This summer, we had 15 amazing young leaders in the fellowship, which was the largest cohort we’ve ever had. Fellows heard from more than 45 speakers who are active in disability, policy, communications, philanthropy, the faith community and more. The fellows’ work included researching potential partnerships and donor prospects, interviewing employers and foundations, managing social media, writing memos and blog posts, translating disability resources into Spanish, prepping for our summer events, educating staffers on Capitol Hill and more. Speakers included Photographer Rick Guidotti, Pollster Celinda Lake, AEI Fellow Gerard Robinson, and Journalists Eleanor Clift and Cal Thomas. Representatives from major foundations – such as Annie E. Casey, Joyce, Bill & Melinda Gates, Ford, JPMorgan Chase, Mitsubishi Electric America and Meyer – and philanthropists like David Trone and Ami Aronson spoke with our summer cohort as well. We will have ten fellows in the fall.

Gained traction in terms of encouraging major philanthropists to think about adding disability to their work. With our encouragement and involvement and that of others, Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, is making sweeping and very positive changes to include disability in their work. The news made it into the Chronicle of Philanthropy earlier this year. It is one of the first major anti-poverty foundations to think about disability. The breakthrough of the Ford Foundation has inspired other philanthropists to start connecting disability to their existing portfolios. So far this summer, we have interviewed four major foundations about their program areas, diversity initiatives and disability work. Even though these foundations do not focus explicitly on disability issues, we hope they will start thinking about how the disability community already overlaps with their issue areas. This fall or winter, RespectAbility will write a report on how foundations view disability and provide resources on how to include disability in their work.

 

We elected a fantastic new chair, Calvin Harris, added several new board members (https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-boards-of-directors-and-advisors/) and hosted a board meeting in July. Additionally, we continued to learn about the importance of diversity within the disability community, such as from a presentation from Floyd Mills at Council on Foundations. 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!

With Disability Activist Andy Imparato
With Disability Activist Andy Imparato
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 Political Consultant Dave Hoppe
With Political Consultant Dave Hoppe

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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
$21,936 raised of $25,000 goal
 
120 donations
$3,064 to go
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