Getting Through the Front Door: A Campaign to Make Public Schools Accessible

Host Organization: Donors Education Collaborative


In 2016, an investigation by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York found that over 80% of the City’s elementary schools were not fully accessible.  The situation in middle and high schools was even worse.  These findings galvanized advocates, parents, and students to launch a campaign to fix this problem.

In June, New York City announced that it would devote $150 million over the next three years to make more public schools wheelchair accessible.  It is the largest investment for such modifications in recent memory and a major milestone for disability rights.  Please join us to hear from the parents, students, and advocates who brought attention to this issue and how they are working to turn the budget win into real opportunities for students and families with physical disabilities.


  • The current situation for students with physical disabilities
  • What made this campaign so successful in such a short amount of time
  • What promises New York City made on this issue
  • What remains to be done


  • Rebecca Kostyuchenko, Parent
  • Maggie Moroff, Special Education Policy Coordinator, Advocates for Children and Coordinator of the ARISE Coalition
  • Jaclyn Okin-Barney, Esq, Coordinator, Parents for Inclusive Education
  • Rue Zalia Watkins, Education Services Specialist, Vibrant Emotional Health
  • Shawn Morehead (Moderator), Program Director, Education & Human Justice, The New York Community Trust

Designed for
Funders of education, youth and family services, disability rights, and policy advocacy.

Registration is required by November 13th.

Members: To register yourself and/or a colleague at your organization, please log in and click the Register Now link above. (no fee)

Guests of organizers: Please email register@philanthropynewyork.org with your name, title, organizational affiliation, business mailing address, and phone number. Please indicate by which organizer you were invited. (no fee)

Non-Member Funders: Please email register@philanthropynewyork.org. ($150 fee)

Please email register@philanthropynewyork.org with any questions.

Please note: To ensure fairness among our members, we reserve the right to limit the number of attendees per organization for select professional development programs.

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