We cannot effectively challenge inequality—or advance our social justice mission—unless we address the needs, concerns, and priorities of the one billion people around the world who live with disabilities. While we have always complied with relevant laws regarding disability access and accommodation, in recent years we have sought to go beyond legal standards, and toward greater inclusivity. In this ADA year, we're also celebrating the historical efforts of the disability community and the work left to do.
Guided by the disability movement’s mantra, “Nothing about us without us,” we’ve been working to confront ableism and expand participation and inclusion on both the institutional and individual levels. These efforts—which are tied to our broader commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion—are ongoing, and we’re learning more every step of the way. We are pleased to have made progress in a number of areas, including:
- Launching the foundation's first-ever U.S. Disability Rights Program with input from about 200 disability leaders.
- Incorporating a disability lens across all our grant making, and supporting organizations and projects that are directly focused on disability issues.
- Moving toward greater accessibility in our grant making process.
- Ensuring that our building, and our events, meet or exceed every standard for accessibility.
- Expanding digital accessibility on our platforms, including Able Player, a fully accessible media player that supports a range of controls to customize the video experience for visitors to our website.
- Developing best practices around event accessibility, including accessible invitations, providing access guides in advance along with a variety of accommodations (CART, ASL, and captioning) during the event, and following-up with captioned videos.
- Reviewing every aspect of our hiring process—from how we draft job descriptions and advertise our jobs to how managers are trained—with attention to disability inclusion.
We know we still have work to do, and are committed to deepening our understanding and expanding these efforts. We are grateful to our grantees, community members, and advisors for their guidance, ideas, and partnership.
Disability inclusion menu: A variety of ways donors can explore and strengthen disability inclusion in their grant making, operations, and organizational culture.
Accessible Social Media Guide from the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities: A guide to making social media more accessible through language and detailed image descriptions.
An introduction to web accessibility: A guide to designing and developing websites, tools, and technologies so that people with disabilities can use them.
If you’re a funder interested in learning more, check out the Disability Philanthropy Forum, an online resource for peer learning, resource sharing, and funding for disability inclusion. Note: This is an online community for funders, and a login is required. Requests are generally approved within 48 hours.