Inclusive Grantmaking: how to make a strong commitment to disability inclusion in your grantmaking

A commitment to disability-inclusive grantmaking begins with recognizing two key facts:

  1. No matter what issues your work may focus on, from civic engagement to climate justice to arts and culture, disability is deeply interconnected.
  2. Disability does not exist in a vacuum and cannot be considered in isolation. As such, we must understand and address the ways in which disability issues and identities intersect with all other facets of a person, such as race, immigration status, and LGBTQIA+ identities.

This means that it’s important to embed disability-inclusive practices in every aspect of the grantmaking process, regardless of whether it’s a disability-specific program or not. Further, disability-inclusive grantmaking should intentionally seek to ensure that people with disabilities are considered in the programs and operations of grantees, regardless of the focus of their work.

As you engage in this work, ask yourself who’s missing from the conversations and who needs to be front and center. (Hint: it’s people with disabilities!)

Focus on how your grantmaking can support disabled leadership among grantees, collaborations with the disability community, and overall greater inclusion. Talk to your grantees about who they partner with in the disability community.

It’s also important to ensure that disabled people are leading the way within philanthropy. In order for our grantmaking to be truly disability-inclusive, we must recognize and look to the people who identify as disabled who are already part of the field while opening pathways that empower more disabled people to become part of it.

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Your Learning Journey

Here are some questions to keep in mind throughout this part of your learning journey: how can I meaningfully center the disability community in my grantmaking? And how can I ensure grantees are doing the same? Look to the resources in the topic area for guidance to reflect on these questions and how to take action.