Disability-Led Nonprofit RespectAbility Receives $1 Million Grant From the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- RespectAbility, a diverse disability-led nonprofit organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so all people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of community, is thrilled to announce a $1 million donation from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The funds will be leveraged through an existing 1-1 matching campaign to enable RespectAbility to achieve the paradigm-shifting goals of its new strategic plan.

"As we look to the future to envision the full scope of what is truly possible for people with disabilities, we are deeply grateful to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for its $1 million investment, which will enable us to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow," said Ollie Cantos, the recently elected Chairman of RespectAbility's Board of Directors. Cantos, who is blind himself, is a civil rights attorney who shared recognition as ABC News Persons of the Week with his adopted triplets who also are blind when they broke barriers by becoming Eagle Scouts. "When philanthropy, individuals, organizations, private sector companies, and government agencies at all levels come together to achieve concrete and measurable outcomes that truly matter, everyone benefits."

"In 2020, the Hilton Foundation established the Equity Fund to combat bias and injustice across multiple dimensions, including for people with disabilities," said Peter Laugharn, president, and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. "We recognize that solutions for addressing the root causes of inequities often come from those with lived experience. The Foundation is proud to support RespectAbility, a disability-led organization doing transformative, comprehensive work to fight stigmas for people living with disabilities."

"With the generosity of the Hilton Foundation and other donors, RespectAbility is well-positioned to play a leading role in pioneering cutting-edge innovation to foster real and lasting impact on behalf of people with all types of disabilities," Cantos added.

Already, the Milbank Foundation has generously added $100,000 to the fund, as have two anonymous donors of $50,000 each and two of $20,000 each.

RespectAbility's core programmatic focus areas work together in synergy to advance major progress for the 1-in-5 people who live with a physical, sensory, cognitive, mental health, chronic pain, or other, disability. RespectAbility's key programmatic areas are:

  • ENTERTAINMENT AND NEWS MEDIA: Increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people in media, both on-screen and behind the camera/keyboard, so they are seen for what they can do instead of what they cannot.
  • LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: Enable diverse people with disabilities to participate fully in decision-making and have seats at decision-making tables.
  • PUBLIC POLICY AND PRACTICES: Break down barriers and promote best practices in education, employment, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and access.
  • FAITH INCLUSION: Ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities in faith-based communities.

RespectAbility's founder and CEO Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi said, "We are deeply grateful to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for this significant game-changing donation. We hope that other philanthropists and activists will join with us to create a better future on behalf of all people with disabilities."

Mizrahi, who herself is dyslexic and has ADHD, founded RespectAbility in 2013. She let the RespectAbility staff and board, as well as the Hilton team, know earlier this year that she will rotate off as CEO in spring 2022. The CEO search is being led by David Hinsley Cheng of DHCSearch.com.

Media Contact:
Lauren Appelbaum, VP Communications

Related Images

Image 1: RespectAbility Board

A group of disabled individuals and allies seated and standing posing for a photo wearing gray polos with RespectAbility logo

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RespectAbility Board