Emily Harris is the executive director of the Disability & Philanthropy Forum. She began this work in late 2019 as a consultant to the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. She is proud to work alongside foundation leaders and the disability community to build a philanthropic network that will dismantle ableism by increasing disability grantmaking and leadership, and building a culture of inclusion in philanthropy.
Emily was the founding Executive Director of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership (now Disability Lead), the nation’s first disability civic leadership program. As a Senior Director at the Chicago Community Trust, she led ADA 25 Chicago, and engaged more than 200 local organizations in doing one thing to advance disability inclusion in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. At the Trust, she also directed the Disabilities Fund, and facilitated a roundtable multi-sector coalition to advance equity in the construction industry. As Vice President of Metropolis Strategies, Emily focused on regional economic growth, open space conservation, early childhood education policy, and served as Executive Director of the Burnham Plan Centennial. Through her consulting firm, Harris Strategies LLC, Emily helped non-profit organizations, public agencies, businesses, and philanthropies to develop strategic plans and move their ideas to action.
Emily earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.A. from the University of Chicago. She serves on the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago Advisory Board, and is Immediate Past President of the Board of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation. A member of Disability Lead, she is proud to be a part of the disability community. Click here to read Emily’s story, “Shifting My Mindset: From Internalizing Ableism to Dismantling It.”
Gail Fuller is the senior program and communications director for the Disability & Philanthropy Forum. Prior to her current role, she served as the communications strategist for the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. As a black woman with a non-apparent disability, Gail is committed to aligning her professional experience and personal commitment. She works to deliver on the Forum’s mission to mobilize philanthropy to dismantle ableism by increasing funding for disability inclusion, rights, and justice; amplifying the leadership of disabled people in the philanthropic sector; and educating philanthropy to build a culture of inclusion.
With more than 35 years of experience, Gail’s career has spanned several industries, including nonprofit, corporate, publishing, sports, and philanthropy. Her philanthropic career has included serving as vice president of marketing and communications for the San Francisco Foundation and director of communications for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. During her days in sports, she developed and spearheaded the Orlando Magic’s first corporate communications strategy. Early in her career, she served as a public relations consultant for AT&T.
Gail holds a Master of Business Administration from Nova University and a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications from Wake Forest University. As a recipient of the Central Florida YMCA Black Achiever Award and the YMCA Greater New York-Harlem Branch’s Black Achievers in Industry Award, she is a two-time YMCA Black Achiever honoree recognized for her accomplishments in her field and community. Click here to read Gail’s story, “Black and Disabled: I Have Lived in the Shadows.”
Emily Ladau is the digital content manager for the Disability & Philanthropy Forum. She serves as editor-in-chief for all Forum publications and hosts the Forum podcast, “Disability Inclusion: Required.” Emily is a passionate disability rights activist, writer, storyteller, and digital communications consultant. In 2021, her first book, Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally, was published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Emily’s career began at the age of 10, when she appeared on several episodes of Sesame Street to educate children about her life with a physical disability. A native of Long Island, New York, Emily graduated with a B.A. in English from Adelphi University in 2013 and now serves on their Board of Trustees. In 2017, she was named as one of Adelphi’s 10 Under 10 Young Alumni. In 2018, she was awarded the Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities. In 2022, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism honored her with their Disability Advocate of the Year Award and the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities honored her with the Frieda Zames Advocacy Award.
Emily’s writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, CNN, Vice, and HuffPost and she has served as a source for outlets including NPR, Vox, and Washington Post. Emily has spoken before numerous audiences, from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. At the core of her work is a focus on disability identity, sharing our stories, and harnessing the powers of communication and social media as tools for people to become engaged in disability and social justice issues.
Sarah Napoli is the learning services director at the Disability and Philanthropy Forum. From 2019-2023, she acted as the lead disability inclusion project officer within the people and culture Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity team at Open Society Foundations (OSF), where she developed and facilitated disability inclusion learning and embedded proactive disability inclusive practices throughout the global network. In addition to OSF, she has over 20 years of experience teaching and conducting training on social justice and advocacy in higher education and nonprofits, most recently as the director for the inaugural Center for Inclusion at Manhattanville College and as the assistant head of Goodricke College at the University of York, England. She specializes in facilitating engaging workshops and designing curriculum that challenge and encourage participants to foster a culture of inclusion.
She holds two MA degrees, one in social justice in intercultural relations from the SIT graduate institute and one in applied human rights from the University of York.. She identifies as a proud disabled person and enjoys chatting about Geek culture—all things fantasy and sci/fi and her former life as a hip hop researcher and dancer. Her research on how hip hop creates human rights identities was recently published in the University of Michigan press text, For the Culture: Hip Hop and the Fight for Social Justice.
She has conducted workshops and training all over the USA and in the world, including Japan, Guatemala, throughout Europe, South Africa, and Canada. Click here to read Sarah’s story, “The Disabled Mindset: Embracing My Disability Identity.”
Olivia Williams (she/her) is the Senior Program and Communications Associate for the Disability & Philanthropy Forum. She is excited to insert the lenses of race, LGBTQIA+ identities, and socioeconomic status into the Forum’s mobilization toward disability inclusion, rights, and justice in the philanthropy sector.
Olivia’s background in philanthropy includes executing content creation and communications strategies for the Ewing M. Kauffman Foundation and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. During her time with the Kauffman Foundation, the op-ed that she wrote on local systemic racial inequity led to increased donations for small, Black-led organizations. She is a trained writing consultant and has provided freelance services to aspiring and published authors.
Olivia holds a Bachelor of Arts in African and African-American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. There, she supported disabled students in a role with the Disability Resources Center and engaged in her own disability learning journey through seminar courses centering members of the local disabled community. Olivia is also a published writer of short fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. Her work has been featured in Periphery Art and Literary Journal, The Common Reader, elementia, and the Kansas City NPR show, Up To Date. Click here to listen to Olivia’s podcast episode, “Reflections on Ableism, Anti-Blackness, and Honoring Black Disabled Ancestors.”
Noor Al-Ahmadi (she/her) is the Member Relations Manager for the Disability & Philanthropy forum. Before joining DPF, Noor was the Operations Coordinator for Programs at Youth Rise Texas, a non-profit in Austin, TX dedicated to uplifting the voices of youth impacted by parental removal through incarceration and deportation. As a disabled Palestinian American, Noor is unrelenting in her vision for a post-abolition world aligned with disability justice.
Noor’s belief in abolition led to co-founding “Lasting Empowerment for Teen Success”, a non-profit in Austin whose mission was to empower incarcerated youth by providing creative outlets, fostering self-worth, and building sustainable support systems in their community. The relationships she built through community organizing and art encouraged her to work with ATX Interfaces, a community initiative that nurtures and amplifies marginalized artists, as Accessibility Director.
Noor graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a degree in Arabic & Journalism. Noor is a published poet and spends her time growing her relationships in Austin, Texas in order to fulfill her dream of creating inclusive arts and music spaces for folks with disabilities and other accessibility needs.