Giving Compass' Take:

• Independent Sector interviewed Clark Rachfal, director of advocacy and governmental affairs of American Council of the Blind (ACB), to understand more about advocacy work for disability rights. 

• How can donors identify advocacy funding opportunities to support disability rights projects?

• Learn more about how disability rights are central to social justice work. 

As a home for nonprofits, foundations, and corporate allies engaged in every kind of charitable endeavor, Independent Sector is proud to have a long history of working on public policy issues that impact nonprofits across the board. We are also fortunate that our efforts often entail working closely with many of our own members that are engaged in the public policy arena. One such member, American Council of the Blind (ACB), strives to increase the security, independence, equal opportunity, and quality of life for people who are blind and visually impaired. To learn about this aspect of their work, we spoke with Clark Rachfal, director of advocacy and governmental affairs.

Independent Sector: What are your organization’s goals in the public policy arena?

Clark Rachfal: In the 116th Congress, our legislative imperatives are improving the affordability and accessibility of low-vision devices and durable medical equipment for the blindness community, and enhancing personal independence and economic opportunity through equal access to all forms of transportation.

Q: Tell us one thing that policymakers are surprised to learn about you and the people you serve.

CR: Policymakers are surprised to learn that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness for working aged Americans, and yet, the durable medical equipment approved by the federal government to manage and treat diabetes is not accessible and cannot be used independently by a blind person with diabetes.

Q: What has been the most noteworthy area where you have seen progress lately?

CR: The most notable area of progress in recent years has been the acknowledgement by corporate America that disability rights are civil rights. Many companies understand the value of including people with disabilities in their workforce and as consumers of their products and services.

Read the full article about advocacy for disability rights by Micah Nelson and Lindsay Marcal at Independent Sector.