Dissemination Examples (Role 1)
In September 2005, The NEC Foundation of America (Melville, NY) funded DFN to work with a public relations firm to develop and disseminate a press release to raise the awareness of the public and the philanthropic community of the extent of the hardships faced by seniors and people with disabilities in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Most importantly, the press release pointed out specific areas of need that could be addressed by private dollars, pointed readers to the DFN Web site — which contained lists of needs and of organizations working to meet those needs — and announced a method of funneling funds to nonprofits ready, willing and capable of helping: The DFN Rapid Response Fund.
After the terrorist strike in 2001, The September 11th Fund was the primary source of foundation funding to focus on the immediate needs of seniors and people with disabilities in the weeks and months following the disaster. The Trust’s inclusion of the series of grants to the Center for Independence of the Disabled (CIDNY) in its widely disseminated Grants Newsletter helped to raise awareness of disability needs and the nonprofit response. This was of particular importance because there was much less media coverage of people with disabilities and seniors after 9/11 than during the 2005 hurricanes.
Dissemination Example 3: Resources for Working with the Media on Disability Preparedness and Raising Awareness of the Media’s Role
Many of the guides, reports and other material on emergency preparedness and disaster relief produced by disability and aging organizations, both private and public, note the crucial importance of the media in communicating vital information to people with disabilities and seniors before during and after disasters. Without exception, these publications also point to the countless failures of the media to use alternative formats to reach out to people with disabilities that affect their ability to see, hear or understand media announcements aimed at the general public. Following are some examples of resources containing information about what needs to be done by various media to inform people with disabilities about readiness and response needs:
- “Saving Lives,” National Council on Disability, 2004 www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2005/saving_lives.htm#disasters
- “Report to the New Mexico Department of Health, Best Practices Model, Including the Needs of People with Disabilities, Seniors and Individuals with Chronic Mental Illness in Emergency Preparedness and Planning,” April 2003. [Add link]
- Emergency Preparedness Initiative: Guide on the Special Needs of People with Disabilities for Emergency Managers, Planners and Responders, National Organization on Disability (funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the JM Foundation, the JC Penney Company and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation). http://www.nod.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=1430&nodeID= 1&FeatureID=1034&redirected=1&CFID=13087567&CFTOKEN=62144734
- The Federal Communications Commission has a number of advisories, including information for the media about what is required for disability accessibility during an emergency. See www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/emergency_access.html.
- Disabled People and Disaster Planning (DP2) was a group of people primarily from Los Angeles County who met during 1996 and 1997 and formulated recommendations to reduce or eliminate problems with accessibility that many disabled people experienced after the Northridge earthquake of 1994. Within the group were individuals with disabilities and individuals from the disaster planning and response professions. Individuals from the group still maintain a Web site. For the site’s information on media, communications and disasters go to http://citycent.com/dp2/communications.htm.
- For general information on people with disabilities and the media, see Tari Susan Hartman and Mary Johnson, Making News: How to Get News Coverage for Disability Rights Issues, The Avocado Press, 1993.
The John A. Hartford Foundation grant to the Florida Health Care Association to develop a new disaster planning guide and to support the development and testing of disaster training exercises for nursing homes also funds the dissemination of these tools across the country and will promote the incorporation of nursing homes and assisted living facilities into state emergency planning efforts so that authorities can recognize and respond to the unique needs of nursing homes during disasters. For more information, funders can contact Jim O’Sullivan at email@example.com.
Inclusion in Media Reporting Examples (Role 2)
During the weeks after the hurricanes of 2005, The NEC Foundation developed an opportunity for Marcie Roth, executive director of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, to participate in a discussion on the weekly radio program Newsweek On Air on September 25, 2005. Ms. Roth’s comments on the needs and situation of people with disabilities affected by Hurricane Katrina reached a national radio audience. For a transcript of the interview, go to www.disabilityfunders.org/kat-roth.html.
As the result of a letter to the editor of Foundation News & Commentary (FN&C) pointing out the lack of coverage of disability issues in an issue covering grantmakers’ response to the tsunami in Asia, DFN was asked to write an article for a special issue on grantmakers response to the Gulf and Atlantic hurricanes. As one of a number of articles covering a range of foundation and corporate philanthropy responses to the hurricanes, DFN’s article integrated disability and aging into the broader emergency preparedness context and reached a large readership of grantmakers. The article, “Hardest Hit and Least Protected,” appeared in the November/December 2005 issue of FN&C.
Media Accessibility Examples (Role 3)
Media Accessibility Example 1: Accessible Formats — DFN Information for Funders on Alternative Formats and Web Site Accessibility
The need to use a range of methods and formats to make information accessible to people with a range of disabilities is often overlooked by funders and a host of other organizations. In emergency situations this has particularly serious and sometimes life-threatening consequences. DFN has resources for funders on how to produce documents in alternate formats for people with visual disabilities and on how to make foundation Web sites accessible.
A number of disability organizations and agencies provide resources to help funders and others make emergency information accessible. Some examples:
- The National Organization on Disability’s Emergency Preparedness Initiative, Guide on the Special Needs of People with Disabilities for Emergency Managers, Planners and Responders, contains resources for making Web sites accessible and producing alternate materials for people with low vision.