ICYMI: Time for Philanthropy to Confront Ableism

"Philanthropy is no stranger to the ways that ableism is deeply embedded in the perceptions and treatment of disabled people. Historically, many charitable foundations have solicited or made donations intending to 'cure' disabled people, based on the so-called 'medical model' of disability," said Sandy Ho and Jen Bokoff for Stanford Social Innovation Review. "While some of these organizations enabled access to services, much of their work framed disability in a way that contributed to notions that disabled people are in pitiable positions and are in need of fixing—also known as the 'charity model' of disability. Both the medical and charity models portray people with disabilities as objects rather than subjects, which can contribute to ableism and impede the achievement of and access to rights and justice."

"Rooting out embedded systematic oppression will take more than one program officer, funding priority, or call for proposals. It requires a collaborative and dedicated multilayered strategy. Based on our experiences, here are seven ideas for philanthropy to consider:

  • Ableism doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
  • Hire, support, and promote disabled talent.
  • Ensure that your grantmaking processes and technologies are accessible.
  • Be in active partnership with disability communities.
  • Build data about disability.
  • Proactively support disabled-led initiatives and organizations.
  • Call peers and stakeholders into learning and constant improvement."

"Dismantling ableism in philanthropy is not a nice-to-do; it’s a must-do. Without concerted efforts to root out ableist oppression, we cannot meaningfully address injustice and inequality. The ideas we offer here are just some steps that philanthropy can take to become anti-ableist to move toward transformation."

Read the full article here.