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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.

Smithsonian IDEA Event: DFN Galvanizes Foundation Leadership

The Smithsonian Institution Accessibility Program will host the Smithsonian IDEA Celebration event on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007, for 200 local D.C.-area students with disabilities, ages 12–22, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

The event honors the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and offers four activity modules that support the students, build awareness, create networks, provide resources and empower the students to take a more active role in mapping out their success at school, work and in their communities. The event is also the D.C. site this year for Disability Mentoring Day, an annual event that was created and is driven by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD; www.aapd.com).

The IDEA Celebration would not be possible without the participation, support and guidance of DFN and its leadership. We value and appreciate these dynamic collaborators:

  • NEC Foundation of America, through the auspices of its Executive Director Sylvia Clark (past president of the DFN board of directors) is exclusive partner of the Assistive Technology (AT) Activity Module.
  • The HSC Foundation, thanks to Son Park, director, Grants and Network Development, is exclusive sponsor of the Transitions, Advisors, Leadership, Employment (TALE) Activity Module. This includes a year-long “virtual community” Web portal for the students.
  • Kevin Bradley, director of Inclusion and Diversity for the McDonald’s Corporation, is the co-partner of the Fitness/Activity/Nutrition Module, which features U.S. Paralympic athletes. He is also the mastermind behind this event.
  • Rayna Aylward, executive director, and Kevin Webb, program officer of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, are sponsoring outreach and participation of “The Goodfellas” — two African-American youth performers with disabilities who will kick off the program.
  • The Museum Activities Module that includes a disability history timeline is being supported by DFN colleague Judy Heumann, who is now director of the Department on Disability Services for the D.C. mayor’s office.
  • We would also like to recognize other DFN foundation members still considering support for this year, and next year when we hope to bring the event to other cities by matching Smithsonian Affiliates with DFN member foundations, local disability organizations and schools.

The Smithsonian Accessibility Program greatly appreciates DFN, founding Executive Director Jeanne Argoff and current Executive Director Kim Hutchinson for their support, leadership and guidance in making this event a success, in addition to all our government partners (U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy; U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; U.S. Department of Defense’s Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program [ CAP]; U.S. Department of Agriculture’s TARGET Center; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Disability; National Council on Disability’s Youth Advisory Committee; and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), disability community partners (National Federation of the Blind; Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.; Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities; National Youth Leadership Network; Kids As Self-Advocates; Entry Point; and National Center on Physical Activity and Disability), and of course, the U.S. Paralympics and their world-class athletes with disabilities.

We welcome any DFN members to the event. If you are interested in attending, please contact DFN member and consultant Tari Hartman Squire, president of EIN SOF Communications, at 310-473-5954 or tari@einsofcommunications.com or Beth Ziebarth, director of the Smithsonian Institution Accessibility Program, at 202-633-2946 or ziebarth@si.edu for more information.

Thank you, and we hope to see you on October 3 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.