Celebrate #OurDisabledLaborDay With the Disabled in Development Project

DiD’s first Storyteller goes live on Monday, 9/2/19 – and all I’m going to say about them is, “They’re AWESOME.”

We’re taking the whole thing easy ’cause it’s Labor Day! Our next Storyteller will follow the next Monday.

The Disabled in Development Project (DiD) is about advancing disability equity in philanthropy and fundraising. Because access to funding is an equity issue.

Our representation matters because access to funding is a critical component in dismantling structural ableism.
Telling our stories matters because we need to make philanthropy more effective and thus more powerful by centering more disabled people from multiply-marginalized communities.
DiD is our storytelling place to both celebrate advances in disability inclusion and to testify to the ableist structural barriers we’ve encountered, and that may have halted our career advancement or forced us out. Tell your truth about our disabled labor to transform philanthropy!

1 in 4 people in the US has a disability. 3% of folks in philanthropy identify as disabled. 3% of funding goes to disability-related work. Which all adds up to the reality that disabled people don’t typically win in the funding arena.

Though just around 3% of people self-identity as disabled in philanthropy, there are many more of us than that, in addition to disabled, chronically ill, and/or aging non-profit fundraisers.
That’s a lot of experience and a lot of it is untapped in current equity and inclusion work.

That’s where you telling your stories comes in.

Contact Ingrid@talesfomthecrip.org to be a Storyteller if you:

Work/volunteer in philanthropy, work as a development non-profit professional, or hold fundraising responsibilities in your non-profit senior-level position on its staff or board.


Live with one or more disabilities, chronic illnesses, and/or aging-related issues. (The term “disability” need not be used by you but here is used as a catch-all word that includes learning differences, neuro-divergencies, addiction/recovery, and mental health issues.)

DiD’s stories – collectively! – will aim to:

1. Dismantle philanthropy’s charity model and replace it with the social justice model.
How? By improving philanthropy’s understanding of ableism, and getting disability civil and human rights in funding portfolios and on agendas.
2. Increase the representation in decision-making positions of disabled fundraisers and philanthropic professionals from multiply-marginalized communities.
How? By providing a safe and accessible space for sharing  disability cultural fluency and expertise on how to move access and inclusion from principles to practice.
3. Draw attention to the concept of a “work-disability balance” to prevent an effective “special track” from leading disabled, chronically ill, and aging people to “hitting the porcelain ceiling,” aka being demoted, blocked from advancement, or forced out from fundraising and philanthropy.
How? By connecting the concepts of the ideal worker and unconscious bias to workplace policies and norms around disability, chronic illness, and aging.

Workplace stories about our disabled labor are a big part of what’s behind the Disabled in Development Project and how, when viewed collectively, they add up to system failures and structural ableism that is well beyond any individual’s ability to “overcome.” While DiD’s also about sharing stories of the significant progress toward inclusion being made in philanthropy and fundraising, giving space to testify openly about ableism in our own sector is essential for context.

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