Today, approximately 60 million adults in the United States live with some kind of disability. In the future, a demographic shift in the aging American population will substantially increase the number of people most at risk for disability. Building an equitable future depends on disability inclusion-making sure everybody has the same opportunities to participate in every aspect of life to the best of their abilities and desires.
In July 2020, the Presidents' Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy and the Disability & Philanthropy Forum launched the Disability Inclusion Pledge with the goal of supporting foundations and philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) on a disability inclusion learning journey, starting with preliminary disability inclusion action steps that will take them beyond the minimum legal requirements. If the philanthropic sector is to advance social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, then we must recognize disability is a key element in every aspect of our work.
Your peers at Maryland Philanthropy Network, Philanthropy West Virginia, SoCal Grantmakers, and the United Philanthropy Forum signed the pledge along with 50+ foundations and other PSOs from across the country. During this 90 minute session, Emily Harris, Executive Director, Disability & Philanthropy Forum, will provide a disability inclusion framework and moderate a panel of representatives from these PSO's will share reasons why they signed the pledge as well as changes they've made in the first year to their culture, operations, and mindsets to move closer to disability inclusion. As philanthropy-serving organizations, we must engage on a learning journey that centers the perspectives of disabled people and deepens our understanding of disability as a natural part of the human experience. In this dynamic conversation, our goal is to demystify the pledge and help other members understand what it is and it should be a vital part of their equity and inclusion work.