Disability Participation: Demographic Tracking and Self-Identification
One in four American adults have some type of disability, but few people working in philanthropy self-identify as disabled. Some foundations include disability in demographic tracking of board, staff, and grantees, but little information has been reported for philanthropy as a whole. Philanthropy has much to learn from the corporate and government sectors. Kathy Martinez, President and CEO of Disability Rights Advocates, and Chai Feldblum, a civil rights advocate and scholar, took part in a conversation moderated by Mona Jhawar, Senior Learning and Evaluation Manager at the California Endowment, to discuss how setting a diversity goal and implementing policies that create a disability friendly workplace have made a difference for federal contractors.
This free learning session was open to members of the Disability & Philanthropy Forum. It is the third of a four-part series designed to address key steps on the journey to disability inclusion, made possible by the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy.
About the Speakers
Mona Jhawar, Senior Learning and Evaluation Manager at the California Endowment
With over 20 years of experience within the public health sector, Moninder-Mona K. Jhawar currently serves as Senior Learning and Evaluation Manager at the California Endowment (TCE). Since 2008, she’s worked within this role to leverage opportunities for learning, synthesize contributions towards achieving impact throughout TCE’s Building Healthy Communities strategy, manage and communicate L&E activities, and utilize lessons for continuous improvement and organizational learning. As the daughter of Indian immigrants, Mona’s deep commitment to fostering growth, equity, social justice, and transformation drives her work including leading TCE’s diversity, equity, and inclusion audit, creating feedback loops for current grantee partners, and serving on TCE’s inaugural Advancing Racial Equity Leadership Council. Additional areas of focus include justice reinvestment, school discipline, and population health. Mona earned her B.S. in Environmental Toxicology and minor in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Davis, and her Master’s in Public Health from UCLA. These days you’ll find her channeling her Grandmother as she rediscovers her kitchen while finding ways to laugh out loud and dance, sometimes simultaneously.
Kathy Martinez, President and CEO, Disability Rights Advocates
Kathy Martinez, an internationally recognized and disability rights leader, joined Disability Rights Advocates as President/CEO in March 2021 after having spent six years as SVP, Head of Disability and Accessibility Strategy for Wells Fargo. While with Wells Fargo, Kathy helped to weave disability into the overall diversity agenda to expand the bank’s capabilities and programs to better serve both employees and customers with disabilities. Previously, she served as Assistant Secretary of The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the U.S. Department of Labor. Martinez led ODEP in putting policy priorities into practice through several innovative grant programs. These include Add Us In, through which a nationwide consortia worked to increase the capacity of small businesses to employ people with disabilities. The grant program also included the Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program, through which several states received support to promote community-based, integrated employment as the primary outcome for people with significant disabilities. She is currently serving on the board of The American Association of People with Disabilities and has served on the boards of The National Council on Disability, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the State Department’s advisory committee on disability and foreign policy. A graduate of San Francisco State University, Martinez speaks and publishes on a wide array of topics related to disability employment, including the emergence of disability as an essential component of workplace diversity and inclusion and the importance of expectation in ensuring youth with disabilities grow up with an assumption of work—a topic on which Martinez, who herself was born blind, offers compelling and personal perspective.
Chai Feldblum, Civil Rights Advocate and Scholar
Chai Feldblum is a long-time civil rights advocate and scholar. Chai played a leading role in drafting and negotiating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and later the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. As a law professor at Georgetown Law in Washington, DC for 18 years, Chai created a Federal Legislation Clinic where she and her students helped non-profit organizations advance their legislative social justice goals. From 2010 to 2019, Chai served as a Commissioner of the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) where she helped advance employment civil rights, including for LGBTQ people (establishing their protection under sex discrimination laws), people with disabilities, and women. She also led a proactive effort to prevent harassment in the workplace. For two years, Chai was a partner at the law firm of Morgan Lewis, where she helped employers work proactively to create safe, respectful, diverse and inclusive workplaces. In 2021, Chai became a freelance civil rights advocate and scholar. She assists with legislative and regulatory work regarding civil rights, particularly for LGBTQ people, people with disabilities and women, and she consults on the full range of diversity, equity and inclusion matters.