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Photos of Shelly Christensen speaking at a synagogue, four Policy team members smiling together, and a Lab event at Nielsen.

Advancing Opportunities

Advancing opportunities means that we take down barriers to education, employment, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement and create pipelines to enable disabled individuals to lead the lives of their choosing. In 2022, we advanced opportunities across our four pillars: Policy and Workforce Development, Entertainment and News Media, Faith Inclusion and Belonging, and Leadership Development.

icons for RespectAbility's four pillars: Entertainment and News Media, Policy, Leadership, and Faith Inclusion and Belonging

Our Policy team kicked off two major new initiatives to build know-how and remove barriers to employment. Our Entertainment and News Media team deepened its partnerships and secured employment opportunities for Lab alumni. Our Faith Inclusion team expanded beyond the Jewish community to reach new faith and spiritual communities in our inclusion work. And our Leadership team placed Apprentices in externships and mentored an Apprentice of their own. Below, we’ve captured some of these highlights.

Headshot of Wally Tablit. Quote: "Since joining RespectAbility, I have enjoyed playing a part in creating collective impact on the disability community in so many ways - both big and small. I have appreciated the collaborations and synergy that make this organization thrive and succeed."

In 2022, our team…Quote from Board member Craig Leen with his headshot: "I'm very proud of my association with RespectAbility, as I feel it is an organization that does great good in the world and that is making a significant impact in favor of disability inclusion, conjunction with DEIA and intersectionality, all principles that are fundamental to building a more equitable and just society."

  • Developed a model Medicaid buy-in plan in partnership with the United Spinal Association to allow disabled employees to maintain their personal care or other medical benefits while also working, saving states money
  • Built partnerships with experts in vocational rehabilitation and entrepreneurship at state agencies and the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) to create best practices
  • Deepened our partnership with Nielsen Research, including a new study on closing the inclusion gap for people with disabilities in media representation and a new initiative to track on-screen disability representation as part of its inclusion dataQuote from Steve Bartlett, immediate past chair of board of directors, with his headshot: "The solution is inclusion - in employment, education, and the media. Inclusion of those with a disability makes the country a better place, and more to the point, dramatically improves the lives of each individual who is included."
  • Worked with the California Film Commission to place alumni in paid internships, including two to work in post-production for an Amazon Studios project
  • Successfully transitioned the former Jewish Inclusion department to the Faith Inclusion and Belonging department to serve as a convener, collaborator, and content developer in multi-faith disability inclusion
  • Produced several new resources to help faith communities be more inclusive, including our Inclusive Congregations Guide and the Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) 2023 program guide
  • Added partnerships with the Institute on Theology and Disability and American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Religion and Spirituality Interest Network
Five RespectAbility Lab alumni on the set of "Best Foot Forward." Text is a New York Times headline reading "Best Foot Forward is a story about, and by, people with disabilities"

We placed Entertainment Lab alumni in a variety of productions, including on the crew of the Apple TV+ series “Best Foot Forward.”

Return to the 2022 Annual Report Table of Contents

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Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.

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Office Number: 202-517-6272

Email: [email protected]

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