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Disability Inclusive Grantmaking is the mission of DFN: inclusion of disability in grantmaking programs and inclusion of people with disabilities in grantmaking organizations.

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Dr. Nelson I. Colón and Puerto Rico Community Foundation Honored

Dr. Nelson I. Colón, flanked by DFN Executive Director, Dr. Jeanne Argoff (left), and DFN Chair, Sylvia Clark (right), beams as he accepts DFN’s first annual William Diaz Memorial Award.

April 28, 2003, Dallas, Texas — The Disability Funders Network (DFN) today recognized the first recipient of its William Diaz Impact Award. DFN chair Sylvia Clark presented a $500 check and a plaque to Dr. Nelson Colón, president of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation (PRCF), citing the foundation’s grantmaking to the disability community of Puerto Rico and the impact of Dr. Colón’s work on the field of economic development for people with disabilities.

Clark, who is also executive director of NEC Foundation of America, explained that the new award is to honor the memory of Bill Diaz, former member of the DFN Board and one of the founders of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation. Diaz died of a brain tumor a year ago. He was a tireless ambassador for disability funding and helped to raise awareness among foundations of the range of issues relevant to people with disabilities, including social justice, economic development and housing. At the request of Bill Diaz’s family, DFN’s recognition of his impact on disability funding is being used to further the mission of DFN to expand and enhance the philanthropic world’s support of disability issues.

In his acceptance remarks, Dr. Colón said, “Bill brought to the radar screen of PRCF), the entrepreneurial capacities of people with disabilities. The Foundation’s Board of Directors responded by establishing the Bill Diaz Memorial Fund to support entrepreneurship among people with disabilities.” He closed by paying tribute to Bill as a groundbreaker, a community advocator, a challenger of the status quo, a voice of the invisible, a catalyst to great initiatives and a mentor.

In subsequent years, the William Diaz Impact Award will be made on a competitive basis to an individual funder or grantmaking organization whose work encourages the foundation community to be more inclusive of disability, especially those whose work has a significant impact on people with disabilities who are also members of other minority groups.

Disability Funders Network (DFN) is a grantmakers’ affinity group whose mission is to promote awareness, support and inclusion of people with disabilities and disability issues in grantmaking programs and organizations.