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Webinar – Disability and the Care Economy

Date: September 19, 2024
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET

More than 1 in 5 Americans are caregivers. Many disabled Americans need care: approximately 7% of U.S. adults have an independent living disability, and 3.6% of U.S. adults have a self-care disability. However, many professional caregivers are underpaid, and the 53 million American family caregivers are unpaid altogether. Disability justice requires a care economy infrastructure that is created by and for disabled people, who both need and provide care.

This panel discussion will address questions such as:

CART and ASL interpretation will be provided. If you require another accommodation to fully participate in the webinar, please note it in your registration, or contact us at This free webinar is presented by the Disability & Philanthropy Forum, in partnership with the Care for All with Respect and Equity (CARE) Fund.

About the Panelists

Anna Wadia is a woman with light brown skin and shoulder length wavy dark brown and grayish hair, wearing glasses, a turquoise, blue, and purplish scarf around her neck, and a maroon button up long-sleeve shirt. She is smiling at the camera.

Moderator: Anna Shireen Wadia, Executive Director, Care for All with Respect and Equity (CARE) Fund

Anna Shireen Wadia is the Executive Director of the Care for All with Respect and Equity (CARE) Fund. At the Ford Foundation, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and her own consulting practice, Anna has nurtured and propelled movements for care and built bridges among funders and advocates across the care continuum. As Senior Program Officer for the Ford Foundation’s Future of Worker(s) program, her grantmaking focused on improving the quality of jobs for low-wage workers and supporting movements for equitable and universal caregiving policies. At the Ms. Foundation for Women, Anna co-directed the program division and managed a funder collaborative focused on women’s economic development. Anna began her career supporting women’s and other community-based organizations working on income generation and relief efforts in West and Southern Africa. She holds a master’s degree in public affairs from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University.

Maria Town, a white woman with brown hair, smiles brightly while wearing red lipstick and a green top.

Panelist: Maria Town, President and CEO, American Association of People with Disabilities

Maria Town is the President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities. In this role, she works to increase the political and economic power of people with disabilities. Prior to this, she served as the Director of the City of Houston Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, where she advocated for the rights and needs of citizens with disabilities; served as a liaison between the mayor, city council, city departments and other public and private entities on matters pertaining to people with disabilities in Houston; and established local and national partnerships to advance inclusion. Town is the former Senior Associate Director in the Obama White House Office of Public Engagement where she managed the White House’s engagement with the disability community and older Americans. Prior to this, Town was a policy advisor at the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. While at ODEP, Town led and coordinated numerous efforts to improve employment outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities. She was recently named to the Susan Daniel’s Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame and to the inaugural class of Emory University’s 40 Under 40.

Panelist: Rahnee Patrick, Director of the Division of Rehabilitation Services, Illinois Department of Human Services

Rahnee Patrick is Director of the Division of Rehabilitation Services at the Illinois Department of Human Services and holds a Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Her father is an Air Force veteran who met her mother, a native of Thailand, during the Viet Nam Conflict. Rahnee graduated from Indiana University at South Bend, with a Bachelor of Arts in English writing and a Women’s Studies minor. In 2008, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) awarded Rahnee the Paul Hearne Award, as an emerging national disability rights leader. Subsequently, she served for two years on AAPD’s board of directors. Since 2006, Rahnee and her spouse Mike Ervin live in downtown Chicago with their two small dogs.