Funding Disability Matters!

By , May 28, 2015

In Think Beyond the Label’s hometown of Chicago, The Chicago Community Trust, the region’s largest community philanthropic foundation, celebrated their 100th anniversary by holding a unique, philanthropic event called On the Table.  On the Table was a region wide conversation to discuss the ways that we can continue to support our communities. On May 12th, 2015 events were held simultaneously around Chicago to explore how philanthropists, both big and small, can commit to strengthening their communities.

As a valued partner of the Chicago Community Trust, Think Beyond the Label used a virtual format for our On the Table event – a Twitter Chat – to examine a variety of disability related topics including: challenges and opportunities in the Chicago region for increasing employment of people with disabilities; access and social inclusion; and how the ADA and other public policies have advanced opportunities for people with disabilities.

To stimulate conversation, we created a YouTube video series with videos from thought leaders in Chicago’s disability and philanthropy communities. They shared their thoughts on several relevant topics including:

  • A discussion of the ADA and how its implementation has helped empower people with disabilities through inclusion by Marca Bristo, President and CEO of Access Living.
  • Eric Lipp, Executive Director of Open Doors Organization, discussed the many different disability advocacy programs and how to better integrate different funding sources to sustain them.
  • A conversation with Emilia DiMenco, President and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Center, about the importance of access for women Veterans with disabilities.
  • And finally,  Emily Harris, Executive Director of ADA 25 Chicago, talked about the ADA in the context of its 25th anniversary and challenged us to look forward to innovate and take action to make our community more inclusive, including creating new ways to increase employment for people with disabilities.

Using this great content, TBTL started the online conversation using the hashtag #DisabilityMatters. The event’s discussion generated some great ideas on how to better support disability programs and initiatives, especially disability outreach, recruiting and hiring.

Even though the live event is over, the discussion is ongoing and we want the TBTL community’s voice to be heard. To see the full conversation from the May 12 Twitter chat and the video series, check out our Storify on Funding Disability Matters. The conversation continues, so please join us today by tweeting @BeyondTheLabel with #DisabilityMatters.

Author: Laura Wilhelm

Laura Wilhelm has served as the Program Director of Think Beyond the Label since the brand's launch in 2010. She has years of experience in health and disability policy at Health & Disability Advocates, the parent organization of Think Beyond the Label.