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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 Foundation Center and the Disability Funders Network: Embark on a Yearlong Collaboration

New Project Improves Access to Disability Funding Sources

Oct. 5, 2006, New York, NY — The Foundation Center of New York, the nation’s leading information hub for philanthropy, and the Disability Funders Network (DFN), a membership association of grantmaking organizations, have been collaborating since May 2006 on a project to improve the quality and availability of information about funding for disability-related issues and causes.

The goal of the joint effort is to make disability funding information as useful and accessible as possible to grantmakers and grantseekers. Based on recommendations by DFN, the Foundation Center has begun the process of incorporating the most widely used, generally accepted disability terminology into its grants classification system. The Center will soon begin to update its vast storehouse of funding data with information supplied in part by the funders in the DFN membership. In addition, the Center and DFN will jointly develop training materials for disability organizations and funders to promote a better understanding of the information available and to maximize its usefulness. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by May 2007.

“Disability Funders Network has recognized that good information used effectively plays a key role in helping both funders and nonprofit service organizations pursue their missions,” said Rick Schoff, senior vice president for publishing and information services at the Foundation Center. “It’s inspiring to work with partners who are both passionate and practical-minded about advancing their cause — in this case, the important work of helping people with disabilities.”

The two organizations are also working together to reach out to grantmakers to make them aware of these enhanced information resources, to educate them about the standard terminology in the disability field, and to encourage them to report regularly to the Foundation Center on their disability funding activities in order to maintain and provide the most comprehensive information possible.

According to DFN Executive Director Jeanne Argoff, the new disability terminology and training materials will provide a critical service to grantseekers by enabling them to find grant information that reflects current, cutting-edge practices. “The updated information and outreach to funders will show, as nothing else can, that disability funding does not exist in a silo but that disability-inclusive grants can be an essential part of all philanthropic programs,” she said. “We applaud the Foundation Center for its vision and its commitment to inclusion and the expansion of knowledge in this field.”

Funding for this project has been provided by NEC Foundation of America, American Express Foundation, Community Technology Foundation of California, AT&T, IBM and Cingular Wireless.

About the Foundation Center

Established in 1956, and today supported by more than 600 foundations, the Foundation Center is the nation’s leading authority on organized philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants and conducts research on trends in foundation growth and giving. It also operates education and outreach programs that help nonprofit organizations obtain the resources they need. More than 37,000 people visit the Center’s Web site each day, and thousands more are served in its five regional learning centers and through its national network of more than 280 Cooperating Collections. For more information, visit foundationcenter.org or call 212-620-4230.

About the Disability Funders Network (DFN)

DFN is an association of foundations and corporations whose mission is to promote awareness, support and inclusion of people with disabilities and disability issues in grantmaking programs and organizations. Its major goals are to increase funding for disability issues and demonstrate to grantmakers how disability concerns can be an essential part of all philanthropic programs. Since its creation in 1994, DFN has established a reputation for research and publications focused on the needs of the disability funders and as a bridge between organized philanthropy and the disability community. For more information, go to www.disabilityfunders.org or call 703-795-9646.