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The Importance of Incorporating Disability in DEI Initiatives

Monday, April 18, 2022 2:04 PM | Anonymous

By Katie Edson, IDEA Committee Member

While foundations and nonprofit organizations have made meaningful advances in diversity, equity, and inclusion, the concentration is often focused on ethnicity, gender, race, and LGBTQ+ diversity, rarely does the conversation include disability as an area of focus in board, leadership, and staff positions. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (, 1 in 4 adults in the United States live with some type of disability. So why is disability missing, even among organizations who have strong DEI initiatives? To find an answer, RespectAbility, “A diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, and that advances policies and practices that empower people with disabilities to have a better future,” conducted a study in 2018 on disability in philanthropy and nonprofits. Their study, assisted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The Nonprofit Times, looked at foundations and nonprofits, assessing the state of disability inclusion. The full study can be found on RespectAbility’s website. RespectAbility’s website also has a free Inclusive Philanthropy Tool Kit which provides tips and simple steps nonprofits, and foundations can take to make their organizations more inclusive.

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AFP Southern Colorado Chapter
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