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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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Hurricane Katrina and Disability: The DFN Rapid Response Fund: Fact Sheet

What Is the DFN Rapid Response Fund?

A mini-grants effort to meet the immediate and long-term needs of people with disabilities in the Gulf region as a result of hurricanes, storms and other severe weather conditions.

Initially, grants from the fund will focus on immediate needs of disabled survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It is anticipated that future awards will be made to address long-term needs, as well. Grants will continue to be awarded until funds are depleted.

Rationale for the DFN Rapid Response Fund

  1. People with disabilities are disproportionately affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
  2. People with disabilities are not being adequately served by conventional relief organizations.
  3. Grass-roots, personal efforts are proving to be the most effective approach in meeting the critical needs of people with disabilities.
  4. Disability experts at the national level are in direct, daily contact with grass-roots service providers and are aware of the lack of necessary consideration and resources for people with disabilities.
  5. Organized philanthropy is having a difficult time identifying where to place grants in order to be assured of direct impact on people with disabilities.
  6. On-the-ground service providers do not have the resources necessary to prepare conventional proposals to appeal to foundations for support.

Examples of Unmet Needs Reported by Service Providers

  • Hearing Assistive Technology
    • Teletypewriters (TTYs)
    • Voice carry-over TTYs
    • Relay conference captioning (important for hard of hearing-using just PCs and telephones)
    • Captioned telephones
    • Video communication devices (known as video phones, web cameras, et al.)
    • Signaling cevices (for use with telephones, door bells, alarms)
    • Assistive listening devices
    • Hearing/speech amplification devices
    • Closed caption decoders
  • Communication Access/Interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (e.g. qualified sign language interpreters and CART Reporters)
  • Durable Medical Products
    • Mobility aids (wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, etc.)
    • Medical supplies (injection supplies, incontinence and urological products, nutritional products, pads, etc.)
    • Adaptive accessories (wheel chair packs and cushions, utensils, clothing, grips and handles, medical warning jewelry)
    • Hearing aids (aids, batteries, etc.)
    • Other (oxygen, hospital beds, transfer lifts, air mattresses, etc.)
  • Products for People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
    • Clothing
    • Toiletries
    • Cleaning supplies
  • Personal Assistance Services Providers

Dimensions of the DFN Rapid Response Fund

The fund will be available for transportation, shelter, medication and medical equipment, assistive technologyand other identified needs.

  • Grants of $5,000 will be the norm
  • All grants will be payable to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, not to individuals
  • While we encourage unrestricted contributions, donors may specify grantmaking categories — e.g., technology, transportation, durable medical equipment and supplies, etc.

Governance of the DFN Rapid Response Fund

  • The Rapid Response Fund will be administered by DFN as a restricted account in its general ledger.
  • A five-person advisory committee will review proposals and allocate funds:
    • Susan Daniels, Ph.D., Committee Chair — Former deputy director, Social Security Administration, and current DFN trustee. Dr. Daniels is a polio survivor and a native of New Orleans.
    • Marcie Roth — Executive director, National Spinal Cord Injury Association and a national disability leader who has surfaced as a “nerve point” during Katrina.
    • Harilyn Rousso — Director of Disabilities Unlimited and project consultant on DFN’s ongoing Emergency Preparedness project.
    • Nancy Starnes — Vice president & chief of staff, National Organization on Disability.
    • Elaine Katz, M.S. — Director of development and grant program, The Henry H. Kessler Foundation.The committee will maintain close contact with disability leaders though bi-weekly calls which have been ongoing since the beginning of September. The committee will report monthly to the DFN board of trustees.
  • DFN has disseminated and posted on its website an RFP calling for 1-page proposals and assemble proposals for a weekly conference call of the Advisory Committee. Allocations will be made weekly.
  • See the application form.