5 Amazing Organizations & Individuals Raising Disability Awareness
Disabilities can make it harder to do activities ranging from travelling to getting a job, but the more society becomes aware of these obstacles and prioritizes accessibility, the easier it becomes for all people to thrive. This list, presented in no particular order, shares some groups committed to supporting and uplifting those with disabilities.
Kicking off our list at #1 is Disability Rights Advocates. This nonprofit legal center is dedicated to securing the civil rights of people with disabilities. DRA advocates for this population through litigation, research, and education. All of its services are provided pro bono.
DRA maintains the Wolinsky Fellowship Program, which aims to educate the next generation of public interest attorneys. The two-year program was named in honor of the organization's co-founder, Sid Wolinsky, who was known for using the law as a tool to challenge discrimination and secure equal rights for people with disabilities.
Coming in at #2 we present Simply Emma, a travel and disability blog focused on accessible life experiences from a wheelchair user’s perspective. The blog was created to encourage others, with or without a disability, to travel more and make new discoveries, either locally or abroad.
The creator, who calls Scotland home, aims to combine her personal stories with accessible travel guides, accommodation and event reviews, as well as general travel tips and resources. The blog has several articles about how to navigate special transportation requests as a person with limited mobility.
The #3 entry is the FISA Foundation, a grantmaking organization based out of Pittsburgh. Its mission is to build a culture of respect and improve the quality of life for three populations in southwestern Pennsylvania: women, girls, and people with disabilities. It is the largest grantmaking foundation in the country governed by women.
FISA has several priorities when deciding which nonprofits should receive its grants. It looks for organizations that aim to improve the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities and address the epidemic of abuse, specifically sexual assault and domestic violence, that disproportionately impacts women, girls, and people with disabilities.
At #4, we have the World Institute on Disability. WID aims to advance the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities worldwide, bringing research and policy into action and operationalizing inclusion. Its work centers around digital tools that help community living and employment, accessibility solutions, emergency preparedness, and more.
The organization addresses wellness disparities for people with disabilities by working to improve access to quality, culturally competent healthcare and related services. To do this, it conducts research, trains medical professionals, and fights for better access to fitness, nutrition, and peer-support activities.
Last but not least, at #5, we have The Valuable 500, a business-to-business initiative urging corporations to create employment and leadership opportunities for those with disabilities. The organization works with US-based and multinational enterprises to help them better unlock the social and economic value of people living with disabilities.
Some of the businesses that have signed on to the initiative include Sony, Adobe, Citibank, and Airbnb. The Valuable 500 asserts that by prioritizing the hiring of people with disabilities, corporations will see heightened innovation, an increased customer base, improved experiences for all workers, and better workplace productivity.