Disabled in Development Project Storyteller #3: Alice Wong

There needs to be targeted outreach to the disability community to recruit people into philanthropy. Philanthropy has to deal with its elitism, classism, and lack of diversity.


Photo courtesy of Alice Wong.








Multi-colored hexagonsThe philanthropic field has a lot of work to do to learn and reflect on systemic ableism, and take concrete steps (not just lip service) on how their actions and policies reflect their commitment to anti-ableism.


Name:  Alice Wong
Please share how you prefer to introduce yourself:
I’m a disability activist, media maker, and consultant based in San Francisco. I’m the Founder and Director of the Disability Visibility Project® (DVP), an online community dedicated to creating, sharing and amplifying disability media and culture created in 2014. Currently, I’m the Editor of Disability Visibility, an anthology of essays by disabled people, coming out summer 2020 by Vintage Books. I also work as an independent research consultant as part of my side hustle. You can find me on Twitter: @SFdirewolf.
Or just think of me as:
“Night owl, picky eater, disabled activist living in San Francisco”

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Disabled in Development Project Storyteller #2: Heather Watkins

I was once asked to serve on an evaluation committee that didn’t mention an honorarium and when asked, they replied that they didn’t generally pay volunteers. My response to that absurdity was that this was a policy they should revisit because evaluating applications is a good deal of work…Long story short, they gave my feedback consideration and their parent funder freed up more funding so that they were able to pay the entire evaluation committee. I was asked again and agreed to take on the evaluation responsibility under paid conditions that valued my time as a disabled person.


ight complected black woman with dark brown hair pulled up into a bun on top of head, wearing light makeup and blue earrings, shown chest up, smiling and looking at camera, wearing blue and white patterned blouse and open button-up olive-colored jacket.

Photo Courtesy of Heather Watkins


Sometimes I feel like there is a lack of racial and cultural understanding/comprehension that does become a barrier.”


Name: Heather Watkins
Please share how you prefer to introduce yourself:
I am a Black disabled woman who is a disability advocate, author, blogger, mother, and graduate of Emerson College with a B.S. in Mass Communications. I was born with muscular dystrophy, serve on a handful of disability-related boards, and am a former Chair of the Boston Disability Commission Advisory Board.
I’m also a co-founder of “Divas with Disabilities Project,” a supportive sisterhood network representing women of color with disabilities. My publishing experience includes articles in MDA’s Quest magazine, Mass Rehab Commission’s Consumer Voice newsletter and I’ve blogged for Our Ability, Artoflivingguide.org, Disabled Parenting, Grubstreet, Rooted In Rights, Womens Media Center, and Thank God I.
My short story, “Thank God I have Muscular Dystrophy” was published in 2013 as part of compilation in the Thank God I…Am an Empowered Woman ® book series. My blog Slow Walkers See More includes reflections and insight from my life with disability.

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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.

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