New Fund: Borealis Philanthropy and Ford Foundation Launch $1 Million Disability x Tech Fund to Advance Leadership of People With Disabilities in Tech Innovation

From the Ford Foundation: "Today, Borealis Philanthropy and the Ford Foundation announced the launch of the $1 million Disability x Tech Fund, the only national fund supporting disability-led groups working to bring about transformational change at the intersections of disability rights, justice and technology."

"The Disability x Tech Fund’s inaugural cohort of grantees is comprised of five disability-led organizations and two individual fellows addressing fieldwide harms that occur when people with disabilities are excluded from the development, deployment and governance of tech. Those include algorithmic bias that undermines access to necessary benefits, biometric surveillance that disproportionately punishes people with disabilities and barriers to participation in the digital economy, among others. The Fund’s grantees seek to address these harms through research, litigation strategies, accessible content creation and interpretation, and frontline community-developed open source platforms."

"The Disability x Tech Fund was born out of a yearlong process led by an advisory committee made up of people with disabilities, representing a wide range of expertise and backgrounds at the intersection of technology, disability rights and justice. This advisory committee informed philanthropic investments from Borealis and Ford on strategies to address harms at the intersection of disability and technology, and it nominated and selected the inaugural cohort of grantees. In doing so, the Disability x Tech Fund models a vision for the world where the leadership of people with disabilities is not only considered but prioritized in technology development."

"'Many people with disabilities live at the intersections of inequity, bias and discrimination, but we are often siloed from broader equity and justice movements,” said Sandy Ho, director of the Disability Inclusion Fund. “The Disability x Tech Fund intentionally supports disabled leaders who are most directly impacted by systems of oppression and who understand that we all do or will experience disability at varying times, to varying degrees. We fundamentally believe that disabled perspectives, innovation and expertise will strengthen efforts to advance technology solutions, eliminating ableism — which hinders broad and necessary possibilities for all human beings now and especially into the future.'"

"The Disability x Tech Fund will expand the participation, leadership and thought partnership of overlooked and under-resourced people with disabilities across the tech sector. The Fund is grounded in the belief that designing solutions for a more just and inclusive technology future requires an investment in the leadership, expertise and experiences of those who are most directly impacted by technology bias and discrimination. To that end, the Disability x Tech Fund supports organizations that are disability-led and disability-serving, particularly those led by Black, Indigenous and people of color; queer and gender nonconforming people; and women."

Read the full announcement here.