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Inclusive Philanthropy

Rice 360 Gets $15 Million Investment from MacArthur Foundation; Will Be Inclusive of People with Disabilities

An adult finger holding the hand of a baby that is lying down on a blanket.

Washington, D.C., March 19, 2018 – The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation joined a small cadre of exceptional champions for inclusion and equality by awarding $145 million in grants to groundbreaking projects that will include people with disabilities equally in their work. MacArthur’s initiative, 100&Change, asked grant applicants – no matter their sector or project goals – to review a series of questions and a check list to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities in multiple aspects of the grant recipients’ proposed projects. Never before has a grant program anywhere near this size asked grantees to address how they plan to ensure access to benefits for persons with disabilities.

The Rice 360° Institute for Global Health (Rice University) received $15 million to prevent newborn babies in Africa from dying. Indeed, every year, 1.1 million newborns die in Africa alone, mostly from preventable causes — pre-term birth, complications of labor and delivery, and infections. The grant from MacArthur will enable Rice and their partners to providing quality, comprehensive hospital care during birth, labor, and the first weeks of life with a goal of reducing newborn deaths in certain areas by 75 percent.

RespectAbility had the opportunity to ask the winners of the grants about how they ensured their project will include people with disabilities as equals. Professor Maria Oden, a Professor in the Practice of Engineering in the Department of Bioengineering at Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering and Director of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen at Rice University and co-director of Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health, gave us her insights: [continue reading…]

As Oksana Masters, a woman with disability adopted from overseas, wins U.S. Paralympic Gold, MacArthur Foundation paves way for other youth with disabilities in orphanages to have better future

Oksana Masters
Oksana Masters reacts to winning the women’s sitting cross-country 1.1-kilometer sprint at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 14, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Washington, D.C., March 15 – Oksana Masters won a long-awaited Paralympic gold medal yesterday in a thrilling day of action that saw Team USA win three medals in the cross-country sprint. Masters, who already owned five Paralympic medals (two silver and three bronze) in rowing and Nordic skiing, grabbed the title of Paralympic champion for the first time in her career.

But Masters’ life did not start out easily. Like more than 3 million other children with disabilities around the world, she had been abandoned to an orphanage. Indeed, more than 80 percent of the more than 8 million children living in orphanages around the world have a living parent who would prefer to care for their child if they had the resources to do so. Children with disabilities are often placed in orphanages because of stigmas, poverty and their families’ inability to access basic services such as education or specialized assistance for children with disabilities. Research demonstrates that residential care has a negative impact on children’s cognitive, physical, emotional, and intellectual development. In addition, well-meaning people donate millions of dollars to orphanages, while funds spent on orphanages could support integration of ten times as many children into families and achieve better results.

Thankfully for Masters, she found a “forever family” in the United States who adopted and believed in her. Now, thanks to a major investment by the MacArthur Foundation, many other children with disabilities and others at orphanages around the world will also have a chance to have a permanent family and home. That is because the MacArthur Foundation joining a wave of enlightened philanthropists by asking finalists for its major 100-million-dollar challenge to include people with disabilities in their work. Their initiative, “100&Change,” is a competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time. Never before has a grant anywhere near this size asked grantees to address how they plan to assure access to benefits for persons with disabilities. [continue reading…]

Nonprofits that treat people with disabilities equally awarded $145 million in funding from MacArthur Foundation

Washington, D.C., February 16, 2018 – The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation joined a small cadre of exceptional champions for inclusion and equality by awarding $145 million in grants to groundbreaking projects that will include people with disabilities equally in their work. MacArthur’s initiative, 100&Change, is a competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time. A part of the MacArthur Foundations’ review was a series of questions and a check list to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities in multiple aspects of the grant recipients proposed projects.

“Historically, major philanthropists have not asked potential grantees to see and treat people with disabilities equally,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility, a nonprofit that fights stigma and advances opportunities for people with disabilities. She is also the co-founder/director of the Mizrahi Family Charitable Fund. “Funders who would never imagine funding groups that discriminate due to race or gender sadly discriminate against people with differing abilities. Often, it’s not a question of will, but of skill, as even the best-intended philanthropists often do not know how to include people with disabilities. However, MacArthur has now raised the bar on equality by including the one-in-five people on earth who have a disability.”

[continue reading…]

New Movement Among Grantmakers Sets Precedents on Inclusion & Equality

New Opportunities for 1-in-5 Living with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Dec. 7 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, recognizes the work of several foundations who are making inclusion and equality of people with disabilities a priority.

The Ford Foundation continues to take major steps to include disability in all their work. Led by their President Darren Walker, they have championed a complete evaluation and inclusion of disability in all the work of philanthropists. A major piece by Ford’s Noorain Khan recently detailed the foundation’s dramatic progress on this front. Additionally, Ford President Darren Walker just did a major interview on this topic with Sen. Tom Harkin in front of more than 200 disability activists/leaders. Harkin co-authored the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition, J.P. Morgan Chase’s philanthropy recently gave support to some of their grantees to ensure that their national conferences are accessible. At the same time, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has created a free online toolkit on disability inclusion that can be used by any nonprofit anywhere while the Chicago Community Trust is doing important work on disability inclusion through their ADA Compliance Guide for Nonprofits.

This coming Monday, December 11th, the MacArthur Foundation is joining the wave by asking finalists for its major 100-million-dollar challenge to include people with disabilities in their work. Their initiative, “100&Change,” is a competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time. Never before has a grant anywhere near this size asked grantees to address how they plan to assure access to benefits for persons with disabilities.

[continue reading…]

What it Means to be a Leader in a Nonprofit

A Conversation on Building a Board with Debbie Ratner Salzberg

All of the fellows and staff standing in a large group against the wall with the RespectAbility logo all over it

Debbie Ratner Salzberg with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

Rockville, Md., Sept. 18 – Debbie Ratner Salzberg has a sincerity that shines, and she starts the conversation by encouraging the RespectAbility Fellows to ask questions and participate in the discussion. She adds color to the conversation and engages us with her experiences in development and community building.

Debbie Ratner Salzberg speaking to RespectAbility Fellows seated around a large brown table

Debbie Ratner Salzberg speaking to RespectAbility Fellows

As past chair and current board member with the DCJCC, Ratner Salzberg envisions a community within the Washington, D.C., area where Jews and non-Jews can meet, socialize and help each other and the community. This is accomplished through community service planning, a theater company, a gym, educational classes and children’s programming, as well as welcome parties and family events.

“The DCJCC was trying to touch all parts of the community, and that was exciting for me because it was what I was looking for when I first arrived in DC,” she said.

Ratner Salzberg says that she watched this organization grow out of a small classroom in a synagogue and that the work that DCJCC is doing is something that she is very proud of.

[continue reading…]

Viewing the World Through a Kaleidoscope

Learning from The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Patrick McCarthy

All of the fellows and staff standing in a large group against the wall with the RespectAbility logo all over it

Patrick McCarthy with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

Rockville, Md., Sept. 13 – Do you remember playing with a kaleidoscope when you were a child? Or even recently? How about the excitement as the image changes and you gain a new perspective?

Patrick McCarthy speaking to RespectAbility Fellows seated around a large brown table

Patrick McCarthy speaking to RespectAbility Fellows

Patrick McCarthy, the CEO and President of The Annie E. Casey Foundation, brought RespectAbility Fellows and staff back to their childhoods. McCarthy reminded Fellows that the image changes as you turn it.

“It is all about how you use it and how you see it,” he said.

The ‘Kaleidoscope Perspective’ has played a significant role in how McCarthy guides The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Baltimore-based foundation is one of the largest in the United States, giving away more than $99 million dollars in 2015. As the website states, the foundation focuses on “strengthening families, building stronger communities, and ensuring access to opportunity, because children need all three to succeed.”

[continue reading…]

Investing in Inclusive Growth

JPMorgan’s Chase & Co., Corporate Responsibility Manager, Rodney E. Hood, talks about his efforts that are advancing successful disability inclusion.

All of the fellows and staff standing in a large group against the wall with the RespectAbility logo all over it

Rodney Hood with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

Rockville, Md., Sept. 6 – You may be familiar with the phrase, “nothing about us, without us,” a powerful message that symbolizes the disability rights movement and stance on disability inclusion. However, more than two decades have passed and disability oppression still is present today. It is relevant that acknowledging a problem and its solution does not compare to doing something about it, Rodney E. Hood shared with RespectAbility Fellows.

Rodney Hood speaking to RespectAbility Fellows seated around a large brown table

Rodney Hood and RespectAbility Fellow Ricky Rendon

“People with disabilities need to be present because it’s the right thing that needs to happen,” said Hood, who joined RespectAbility Fellows on the day before Independence Day.

Despite his impressive career as a banker and policy maker, Hood takes most pride in his work engaging in the disability space around financial inclusion. An opportunity he says began by saying “yes” to the question, “Would you have an interest in doing this?” has turned into a job he is deeply passionate about and invested in.

[continue reading…]

How to Make Real Change: Philanthropy & Nonprofit

Learning from Meyer Foundation Program Officer Julian A. Haynes

All of the fellows and staff standing in a large group against the wall with the RespectAbility logo all over it

Julian A. Haynes with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

Rockville, Md., Sept. 6 – How is it that income for Wisconsin’s wealthiest one percent grew by 120 percent between 1979 and 2013, while the income for the remaining 99 percent grew by just 4 percent? Why is it that 12.8 percent, twice the national average of 6.7 percent, of Wisconsin’s African-American men are incarcerated in state prison or local jails while only 1.24 percent of white men are imprisoned? More importantly, how can I help solve these problems of inequality?

Julian A. Haynes speaking to RespectAbility Fellows seated around a large brown table

Julian A. Haynes speaking to RespectAbility Fellows

The courage to ask these uncomfortable questions is what led Julian A. Haynes, a passionate advocate from Madison, Wisconsin, to pursue work focused on addressing the unfortunate reality of racial and economic disparities.

Haynes began his work in the nonprofit sector as a project coordinator with the United Way of Dane County in Madison, Wisconsin where he worked to ensure county residents had ready access to a variety of social services and programming. He later continued his career as a program associate on the education team at the Kresge Foundation, and then as an associate director of programs and policy at Achieving the Dream, a national reform network dedicated to community college student success and completion. He is currently a program officer at the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation.

[continue reading…]

Disability as a Philanthropic Niche

A Conversation with the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation’s Kevin Webb

All of the fellows and staff standing in a large group against the wall with the RespectAbility logo all over it

Kevin Webb with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

Rockville, Md., Aug. 21 – Armed with a long history in nonprofit work, Kevin Webb gave a group of RespectAbility National Leadership Fellows key information about the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF). Not only is he donating his time to speak to and empower a group of young disability advocates, but he also is representing one of the few foundations that focuses its grantmaking toward youth with disabilities. The match is unparalleled.

He describes a picture on his powerpoint to make it more accessible for visually impaired attendees: “Here we have [an example of the employee volunteer program in which] people with disabilities work alongside employee volunteers installing solar panels for low income housing.”

[continue reading…]

Finding Your Place in the Melting Pot of Diversity

A Conversation with the Council on Foundation’s Floyd Mills

Floyd Mills pictures with the whole RespectAbility team, so the staff, and all of the fellows are posed in front of the wall that has the RespectAbility logo printed on it. The photo is in color.

Floyd Mills with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

Rockville, Md., Aug. 2 – Growing up, Floyd Mills, the vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for the Council on Foundations, pictured his dream job in any field but diversity. Yet, Mills has been promoting workplace diversity and inclusion for the past two decades.

Everyone’s path is different,” Mills said. “This is just my story.”

Image of a few fellows sitting at the conference room table. Mills is resting his elbow on the table and the fellows' computers and laptops are visible on the table.

Floyd Mills speaking to the Fellows

Upon graduation at the University of Maryland, College Park, Mills started his career with Accenture, where he specialized in informational technology. Working for Accenture gave Mills the chance to travel around the country and the world. Living and working in Atlanta, San Francisco, London and Melbourne provided Mills with amazing experiences. Upon being assigned to a city that, for Mills, did not offer the same level of appeal, he realized that the job was not his passion and made the decision to pursue a position elsewhere. His job search led him to apply for a Human Resource position at the same firm. Little did Mills know that application would completely alter his career path in the long-term.

[continue reading…]

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