Shrewd Awakening

November 22, 2021

After many years of excluding the disability community, philanthropy is starting to make changes. The Ford Foundation’s awakening on disability inclusion offers a model for the rest of the sector.

For years, Kristy Trautmann was the only one to speak up. Since 2010, she has been the executive director of the FISA Foundation, a small philanthropy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that takes an intersectional approach to improving the lives of women, girls, and people with disabilities. As part of her role, she often meets with funders and service providers working on a broad range of issues that affect these communities.

For too long, philanthropy has treated disability as a niche area for specialized foundations, an approach that is rooted in the ableist notion that disability is a separate issue that isn’t integral to work that addresses injustice and inequality. “We are so good at silos in philanthropy,” Trautmann says. “It has been challenging to get philanthropy to see disability not as some extra thing but as part of the equity agenda.”

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Stanford Social Innovation Review