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#MoreThanMoney: The Role of Funders in Addressing Ableism

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 -
10:00am to 1:00pm PDT
Ed Roberts Campus
3075 Adeline | Berkeley, CA
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Ableism: a social attitude that having a disability makes someone a less valued member of society. It assumes that the ways able–bodied people live are the best ways to live. 

In addition to grantmaking, advocacy funders play a critical role in advancing social justice: agenda-setting and shifting narratives. But while more and more disabled people are being included in philanthropy, funders often overlook ableism as an area of structural discrimination, even here in the Bay Area where disability civil rights were born. Because many funders' understanding of ableism continues to lag, they have little motivation to push for ableism's inclusion on broader social and political agendas. This leaves disabled people cut off from the wealth of social and political capital, and the power to shape narratives, that funders bring to other areas of social justice work. This briefing aims to build a sense of community and engagement between funder allies and disabled funders/advocates by: 

  • Educating funders about ableism and the unmet funding needs for disability advocates to do anti-ableism work 
  • Looking at the cultural difference between two disability narratives in funding: charity and equity 
  • Discussing how funding disability cuts across most funding areas/priorities 
  • Motivating funders to see fighting ableism as a social justice issue 
  • Inspiring funders to advance access in the field of philanthropy by applying a disability inclusion lens to improve internal practices and in making funding decisions 
  • Including a "real talk" time for the group to talk more informally about ever-changing language usage and disability terminology

Accommodations and Transportation
The Ed Roberts Campus is wheelchair accessible. Sign language interpreters and real-time captioning will be request.  Please send request by Wednesday, Oct 2. Please refrain from using scented products. The Ed Roberts Campus is located at Berkeley's Ashby BART Station. Please click here for complete transportation and parking information.  


10:00 am – 10:45 am:  Panel Discussion, moderated by Nancy Wiltsek 
10:45 am – 12:00 pm: Speaker presentations and Q&A 
12:00 noon – 12:45 pm: Lunch and small group “real talk” discussion, led by Ingrid Tischer 
12:45 pm – 1:00 pm: Tour of Ed Roberts Campus (optional), led by Susan Henderson, Executive Director of Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)”

Target Audience

This program is open to NCG members and non-member funders. 


Ryan Easterly, Executive DIrector, WITH Foundation

Ryan Easterly is an experienced philanthropist, strategist, and advocate who has worked in philanthropy for more than 10 years. He has experience with private, public charity, and corporate foundations, and currently serves as executive director of the WITH Foundation. WITH Foundation is a private foundation that promotes comprehensive healthcare for adults with developmental disabilities. WITH provides in the range of 750K - $1.5 million each year to nonprofit organizations based within the United States. 

Outside of philanthropy, Ryan has previously worked for an internet startup company as well as in federal program and policy development. He currently serves on the board of Community Resources for Independent Living. In 2016, President Barack Obama appointed Ryan to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. 

Ryan is a nationally recognized expert on a variety of issues including education, leadership development, employment, and healthcare impacting communities of color, the foster care system, and the LGBT+ community. His perspective and experience have made him sought after as a facilitator of discussions that take place at the intersections of race, class, and disability.

Ingrid Tischer, Trustee, Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter

Based in the Bay Area, Ingrid Tischer has been a donor, non-profit professional, and disability rights activist with a focus on access to funding for 25 years. Changing the narrative around disability from charity to equity is a constant in her funding and communications work, and in her writing about ableism on her blog Tales From the Crip. She currently serves as a Trustee for the Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter, a disability-led, disability-centered micro-grant-making group of economically diverse disabled activists. She recently launched the Disabled in Development Project (DiD), a stigma-busting, story-telling outlet for disabled, chronically ill, and aging people who work in philanthropy and non-profit fundraising. DiD's goal is to amplify untapped expertise on how to put disability inclusion principles into practice. Ingrid is also advancing #FundDisAdvocacy, a critique of the comparative lack of advocacy funding for disability human and civil rights in grant-making. Ingrid is a graduate of the California Women’s Health Leadership program and has served on the faculty of California Asset-Based Community Development. She worked for the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, Breast Cancer Action, Equal Rights Advocates, Legal Aid at Work, SF LGBT Community Center, and as a consultant before joining Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) in 2011 as their Director of Development.


Tiffany Yu, CEO & Founder, Diversability 

Tiffany Yu is the CEO & Founder of Diversability, an award-winning social enterprise to rebrand disability through the power of community and the Founder of the Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter, a monthly micro-grant for disability projects that has awarded $29.5k to 30 projects in 6 countries. She also serves on the San Francisco Mayor’s Disability Council, appointed by San Francisco Mayor London Breed. Tiffany started her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, working on over $14 billion of announced transactions. She is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community, has been featured in Marie Claire, the Guardian, and Forbes, and has spoken at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, TEDx, and Stanford University.


Nancy Wiltsek, Executive Director, van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation (Moderator)

Nancy was named Executive Director at the van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation in September 2014. A graduate of U.C. Berkeley and the University of San Francisco’s Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) program, Nancy has trained and supported leaders and emerging leaders of NGOs here and abroad for more than 25 years. She has served with a variety of family, corporate and independent foundations, and created and taught in the online Nonprofit Management & Leadership Program at Golden Gate University. Her board service includes the Gagarin Trust, IGNITE: Political Power in Every Young Woman, and Co-Chair of the MNA Advisory Board at USF.  A third generation San Franciscan, Nancy has deep roots in the City and a passion for the cooking, making ceramics, and bringing people together for good food, drink and conversation.


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