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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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The Manual D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation: “Inclusion Is a Matter of Human Decency”

April 7, 2005 — The Disability Funders Network (DFN) is pleased to announce the selection of the Manual D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation as the recipient of its 2005 William Diaz Impact Award for disability grantmaking. The award will be presented on April 10, 2005, at the Council on Foundations’ annual meeting in San Diego, Calif.

The award honors the memory of Bill Diaz, former member of the DFN board, the first Latino program officer at the Ford Foundation, a founding director of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, a director of the Council on Foundations and a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. At the request of Bill’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.

The Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation supports the inclusion of people of every ability in the life of the communities in and around the foundation’s home in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since its creation in 1989, the foundation has invested in the community through a disability-specific program area and a philosophy about inclusion that permeates every area of interest including arts, children, community and Judaism.

Ten years ago, the foundation created The Inclusion Network, a 501(c)3 organization that provides training, technical assistance, information/referral and advocacy for more inclusive practices. In addition to numerous grants to organizations, the foundation recently began a program called INSite, a coalition of private and public funders that make “inclusion audits” — comprehensive and professionnal studies of the inclusive aspects of capital projects — a part of every project for which it provides funding.

“The Mayerson Foundation focuses on helping people be their best. Our Foundation’s interest in the area of disabilities is specifically on inclusion — on helping to ensure that people with disabilities have opportunities to participate in community life along with others,” says Dr. Neal H. Mayerson, president of the foundation.

“Inclusion is a matter of human decency and human rights. While legislation aims to ensure human rights, our foundation’s work tries to engage the human decency that resides in most all of us. With some forethought and consideration, most people can be included in most activities. We’re encouraged by the recognition of our work from other funders; we applaud the efforts of the other nominees and welcome the participation of growing numbers of philanthropists in helping our communities be the best they can be for all people,” Dr. Mayerson added.

The Diaz Award, including a plaque and a $500 check, will be presented by last year’s awardee, Gloria Rubio-Cortes of the Community Technology Foundation of California (CTFC), to Arlene Mayerson, trustee of the Mayerson Foundation and founding director of the Disability Rights and Education Defense Fund (DREDF, based in Berkeley, Calif.). This year’s award is sponsored by the Marguerite Casey Foundation of Seattle, Wash.

The award ceremony, officiated by Sylvia Clark, chair of DFN’s board of directors, will take place at the close of a session on Film, Advocacy and Systems Change at the Balboa Marriott (Level 3, South Tower). The session begins at 9:00 a.m., and the 15-minute award ceremony will begin at 10:45 a.m.