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#ADA30 Summit: Ensuring Inclusive Communities

PART 1: Inclusive Philanthropy

The social sector (philanthropy, nonprofits and public agencies) is a leader in the movement for diversity, equity and inclusion in society. However, only recently has philanthropy identified the need to include people with disabilities in that effort. Learn with top experts who are moving this process forward.

Stacy Palmer smiling headshotStacy Palmer, Moderator, is the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. From deeply reported stories on the big ideas that shape the work of charities and foundations to the practical guidance in our online resource center, the Chronicle of Philanthropy provides nonprofit professionals, foundation executives, board members and others with the indispensable information and practical advice they need to help them change the world. Their news and opinion pages fuel the national conversation about the role nonprofits play in society. The Chronicle’s special reports, benchmarking data and popular webinars are essential information for nonprofit professionals.

Kym Eisner headshotKym Eisner is the Executive Director of the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation. The foundation’s vision is that individuals with spinal cord injuries, and those who care for them, live full and productive lives as active participants in their communities. Their work includes spinal cord injury research, creating opportunity and independence, psychosocial research, scholarships and fellowships, assistive technology, education, employment, independent living, rehabilitation, and arts, sports and recreation. Prior to her work in the scientific and disability communities, she worked with both emerging and established non-profits as well as serving on numerous boards focusing on education, social services, health system infrastructure development and the arts.

Stephanie Lomibao smiling headshotStephanie Lomibao is a member of the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) team and serves as a program manager for the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. As part of the enterprise program and strategy team, Stephanie helps deliver the bank’s ESG philanthropic initiatives and integrate these programs across global enterprise platforms including volunteerism and thought leadership. In her role, Stephanie also helps develop and implement the philanthropic platform that focuses on the economic mobility needs of individuals and families which includes hunger relief, services for the homeless, workforce development through social enterprises, as well as better money habits (financial education). The portfolio of global grantees she manages includes partners that provide programs and services for the formerly incarcerated, opportunity youth, disability, and other diverse communities.

Jose Luiz Plaza smiling headshotJose Luis Plaza is a manager at The California Endowment, one of the largest private health foundations, working on various statewide portfolios ranging from immigration, civic engagement, Latinos, and LGBTQ issues among others. Previously, he served as the Bill & Melinda Gates Higher Education Fellow with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) where he furthered his research and practice focusing on macro policy and political issues to ensure quality impact in his home base. He worked in the office of Congressman Raul Ruiz as part of his placement. Following his role at CHCI, Jose served as the national director for Latino engagement for Enroll America. Jose has served on the boards of the Latin American Youth Center, New Leaders Council- DC, and most recently was president and board chair of the Latino LGBT History Project.

Lisa Trygg headshotLisa Trygg is the Senior Program Officer – Adults and Transitioning Youth with Disabilities for the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust. The Trust achieves significant, lasting and positive changes that promote well-being for individuals and communities. It aims to strengthen supportive services for adults and youth transitioning to adulthood with intellectual, developmental or physical disabilities, enabling them to maximize their ability to live independently, gain economic security through a rewarding job and engage in an inclusive community through social and recreational opportunities. Their grantmaking in the Adults and Transitioning Youth with Disabilities program area addresses four strategies – independent living, employment, community inclusion, and support for caregivers, who help make all this possible. Trygg is recognized as a global expert on disability issues and has keynoted at the Zero Conference at the United Nations.

PART 2:  How to Include People with Disabilities: Key Tips from RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Learn how to welcome, respect and include the 1-in-5 people who live with a physical, sensory, cognitive, learning, mental health or other disability.

headshot of Vivian Bass smiling at the camera with long hair color photoVivian G. Bass was elected as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Jewish Women International (JWI) in July 2016. Bass has dedicated her career to improving the quality of life, independence and community inclusion and dignity of persons with disabilities throughout the Washington, D.C., area, nationally and internationally. She became the CEO Emeritus of The Jewish Foundation for Group Homes (JFGH) in June 2016 subsequent to serving for 30 years at the helm of the agency, which ultimately grew to 77 residential locations via a wide variety of models, two innovative transition youth programs, a staff of 260, and having $28 million in total assets.

Debbie Fink smiling in front of a buildingDebbie Fink, Moderator, is Director of Community Outreach and Impact for RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. She brings more than 15 years of diverse leadership experience in public health, education and arts programming to serve RespectAbility’s mission. Fink has a lifetime commitment to enabling people with disabilities to have a better future and is passionate about the constructive impact volunteers can make in the world.

Lachi smiling headshot in front of a sign for the Grammy AwardsLachi is a member of RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau: Women’s Division. She is also an award nominated recording artist and songwriter with releases on SONY, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Warner Music. Lachi is a voting member of the Recording Academy and member of the Grammy Advocacy committee. Her songs have aired on TV, radio and feature film. She is prolific in Pop EDM and Soul, with songs featured on Oprah Radio, Huffpost, YourEDM, CBS, NPR, MTV, CW, Oxygen and more. Legally blind, Lachi does not allow her disability to limit her creative endeavors: she is also an author, voice-over actress, performing artist, musical director and record producer.

Lauren Arena headshot smiling wearing a sash that says Ms. Wheelchair New York on itLauren Arena is a member of RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau: Women’s Division. She is also Ms. Wheelchair NY 2020, an accomplished Wheelchair Ballroom Dancer, and a certified dance therapy teacher. In 2021, Arena plans to compete for Ms. Wheelchair America. Her platform as Ms. Wheelchair NY is to encourage others to hold tight to never give up on their dreams; to share her passion for wheelchair ballroom dancing; and to raise awareness and funds for MEAK (Myoclonic Epilepsy and Ataxia). Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Arena was teaching a dance therapy program in nursing homes and hospitals – and looks forward to resuming this vital work.

Sasha Ross Becker smiling headshotSasha Ross Becker is a graphic designer, illustrator and newly-minted speaker. Ross Becker was born in the great green hills of Middlesex, Vermont, and moved from the plant-filled hills of Vermont to the people-filled streets of New York City a few years ago. She underwent several surgeries due to a brain tumor, with resulting disabilities. A dedicated advocate for all people with disabilities, one of Ross Becker’s illustrations was selected and hung in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ congressional office in Washington, D.C., promoting disability inclusion. Through her graphic design work, illustrations and typography, Ross Becker demonstrates her keen ability to craft the message that a client is looking to convey.

Ketrina Hazell headshot smiling wearing a sash that says Ms. Wheelchair New York on itKetrina (“Trina”) Hazell is a member of RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau: Women’s Division. She is also the former Ms. Wheelchair NY 2018. She resides in Brooklyn, NY. Hazell’s platform is to bring self-advocacy into schools and make them more inclusive. A strong self-advocate, motivational speaker, blogger and college student, Hazell graduated from Partners in Policymaking in 2014. Hazell is the founder of her own advocacy group called Voices of Power. She is affiliated with many disability-related organizations. Hazell serves on many disability related councils.

Zazel-Chavah O’Garra smiling headshot with her hand next to her faceZazel-Chavah O’Garra is a member of RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau: Women’s Division. She is also a brain tumor survivor, disability advocate, social worker, dancer, actress, model, and founder and artistic director of ZCO/DANCEPROJECT. O’Garra holds a Master’s degree in social work from Fordham University, and currently works with the Brain Injury Association of New York State and YAI/National Institute for people with disabilities.

Nelle Richardson headshotNelle Richardson is a member of RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau: Women’s Division. Born in the Caribbean, she is an ordained pastor, motivational speaker, counselor, life coach and self-advocate. Richardson lives with nonvisible disabilities due to two accidents. As a motivational speaker, she addresses disability and racial bias. She has worked for the Federation Employment and Guidance Services / NYC LINKS for two decades as a counselor in its Mental Health Unit, and as a case manager for the Criminal Justice Department. Dr. Richardson’s volunteer work includes addressing suicide prevention among youth in the LGBTQ community.

Abigail Shaw smiling headshotAbigail Shaw is a member of RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau: Women’s Division. She is a transplant to New York from North Carolina, and strives to educate the public on persons with disabilities through her hobbies and work. Shaw works at Learning Ally in NYC, an educational solutions organization primarily serving individuals with print-related disabilities. At Learning Ally, Shaw serves as the College Success Program’s mentorship coordinator for college students who are blind, and she contributes her skills with audio and recording to the production process of Learning Ally’s audio books.

Meet the Author

Eric Ascher
Eric Ascher

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility. He is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Communications Director in developing and implementing advocacy efforts and communications of various types. Ascher manages RespectAbility’s social media channels, website and emails; organizes and develops webinars; and supervises Communications Fellows.

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