Disability 101: Let’s Talk about the I in D.E.I.

Host Organization: Philanthropy New York


The disability community, comprised of more than 1 million people, is New York City’s largest and most diverse minority group. Despite efforts to make practices and policies more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, foundations often leave disability entirely out of these conversations. Now, as people with disabilities successfully advocate to make the City accessible for all residents, the philanthropic community must self-assess using the same lens.

Join us for a discussion to better understand the primary concerns and issues affecting the disability community, learn how foundations can encourage their boards, staff, and grantees to incorporate disability into their DEI discussions, and begin to make incremental changes to improve accessibility. The session will provide a safe, non-judgmental space to ask questions and learn from foundation staff working in this area and those with lived experiences.


  • Why accessibility should be a consideration for ALL funders, not just those with a disability focus
  • What key issues and concerns are affecting the disability community
  • What foundations can do to make their practices and those of their grantees accessible for all New Yorkers


  • Christina Curry, Executive Director, Harlem Independent Living Center
  • Catherine Hyde Townsend, Disability Inclusion Advisor, Ford Foundation
  • Ruth Lowenkron, Director, Disability Justice Program, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
  • Rachel Pardoe (Moderator), Program Officer, People with Disabilities, The New York Community Trust


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