Often called the mother of the disability rights movement, Judy Heumann was instrumental in the development and passage of key pieces of legislation–the Rehabilitation Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities–all integral in advancing the inclusion of disabled people in the U.S. and around the world. 

Our disability inclusion journey as a foundation would not be at the stage it is today without her graceful counsel and generosity. She was appointed a Ford Senior Fellow in 2017, helped to establish the President’s’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy, and insisted that the social justice sector recognize the importance of disability rights in ending inequality. In 2021, Ford became the first foundation to establish a program dedicated to U.S. Disability Rights.

Heumann shaped our approach to one of the most significant civil and human rights issues of our time, and her career spanned decades and continents as she worked tirelessly for disability rights around the globe. In 2020, a new generation learned about Heumann’s groundbreaking activism through Crip Camp, the Ford-supported, Oscar-nominated documentary that captured Heumann—her fundamental decency, unrelenting character, and enduring spirit.

To learn more about Judy Heumann’s life and legacy, visit: Being Heumann, Crip Camp, and The Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. 

And to learn more about Ford’s work on disability inclusion, explore Disability Demands Justice.