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Webinar – Grantmaking for Disability: Where are the Dollars?

Photos of Grantmaking for Disability webinar moderator Emily Harris and panelists Catalina Devandas, Steven Lawrence, and Amoretta Morris. The date of the event is April 4 at 1:30pm ET.

U.S. foundations have an urgent opportunity to expand equity and social justice by increasing their focus on disability. One in four adult Americans and an estimated 1 billion people globally experience disability, but foundation funding for disability only represents approximately two cents of every foundation dollar awarded. Disabled leaders have long been told by grantmakers that they “don’t fund disability.” Unfortunately, the data shows this is true.

Meanwhile, disabled people regularly encounter ableism that limits their social and economic prospects, well-being, and human rights. Through both data and storytelling, this session will illuminate why philanthropy cannot ignore funding for disability rights and justice.

CART will be provided. If you require another accommodation to fully participate in the webinar, please note it in your registration, or contact us at or 407-917-6864. This free webinar is presented by the Disability & Philanthropy Forum.

About the Panelists

A white woman with short dark curly hair wearing glasses and a maroon top standing in front of several trees.

Moderator: Emily Harris, Executive Director, Disability & Philanthropy Forum

Emily Harris, Executive Director of the Disability & Philanthropy Forum, was the founding Executive Director of Disability Lead, the nation’s first disability civic leadership program, and a Senior Director at the Chicago Community Trust. In previous positions she focused on regional economic growth, open space conservation, early childhood education policy, non-profit strategy, and urban planning. Emily earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.A. from the University of Chicago. She is President of Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation and serves on Forest Preserves of Cook County Conservation and Policy Council, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago Advisory Board.

Panelist: Catalina Devandas, CEO, Disability Rights Fund

Ms. Devandas is the CEO of the Disability Rights Fund. She has more than 20 years’ experience advocating for disability rights in multilateral fora in multiple capacities. She participated in the negotiation process of the UN CRPD and served as the first UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities (2014-2020). During her mandate she conducted several country visits, including the first official visit of a human rights expert to the DPRK. She served as Ambassador of Costa Rica to the UN in Geneva and recently joined the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees.

Steven Lawrence is wearing a brown pin-striped suit with a blue shirt and brown patterned tie. He has on glasses.

Panelist: Steven Lawrence, Independent Consultant

Steven partners with funders, philanthropy-serving organizations, nonprofits, and others to develop the knowledge they need to make well-informed, strategic decisions. An expert on trends in U.S. and global philanthropy, he offers deep experience in creating custom research and learning resources, including landscape analyses, surveys, interview studies, literature reviews, and more. Throughout his career, Steven has led ground-breaking research on philanthropic support for priorities such as human rights, social justice, health equity, education reform, peace and security, and mission investing.

Panelist: Amoretta Morris, President, Borealis Philanthropy

Amoretta Morris is the president of Borealis Philanthropy. For the last 20 years, Amoretta has worked to build power, equity, and justice by supporting community-led change. She has innovated across sectors in philanthropy, nonprofits and local government. Prior to joining Borealis, Amoretta led national community change work at the Annie E. Casey Foundation for nearly a decade, partnering with local communities to build change from the ground-up. She serves on the boards of the Neighborhood Funders Group and Black Swan Academy. Morris earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and African studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s in public policy from Harvard University.