Four disabled people of color with canes and prosthetic legs laugh while chatting. They are on a rooftop deck, in chairs of various height, with greenery and city high-rises in the background.

April 24, 2024- The Disability Inclusion Fund (DIF) at Borealis Philanthropy is excited to announce we are accepting applications for disability advocates to join the DIF’s participatory grantmaking committee. This is an opportunity to shape the direction of disability-focused philanthropy and support organizations led by people with disabilities who are working tirelessly to build a more inclusive, equitable, and joyful world for all. Please take a moment to review the details of this opportunity and consider applying to be part of this transformative work.

About Borealis Philanthropy

Borealis Philanthropy is a philanthropic social justice intermediary that works to resource grassroots leaders and social justice movements for transformative change. We help funders expand their reach and strengthen their impact through donor collaboratives that support a variety of issues, communities, and movements. Borealis is home to eight donor collaboratives, including the Disability Inclusion Fund.

About The Disability Inclusion Fund:

The Disability Inclusion Fund (DIF) supports U.S.-based groups led by people with disabilities, disabled people of color, disabled queer and trans folks, building a more liberatory world free from ableism. The Fund is supported by donors including the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy, which is comprised of foundation presidents who are committed to disability inclusion..

The Disability Inclusion Fund utilizes a participatory grantmaking process. All grantees will be selected by a grantmaking committee composed of a majority of disability advocates and invited funders.


All funding will be aligned with the Disability Inclusion Fund’s guiding values:

  • Participation: Movement funding is accountable to the disability justice movement. Those most impacted by injustice/exclusion should be involved in strategies to advance justice/inclusion.
  • Intersectionality: Acknowledging that disabled people have multiple and intersecting social and political identities that can influence their access and inclusion including race, gender identity, class, and sexual orientation.
  • Radical inclusion: Deeply committed to removing barriers and ensuring access so that those most affected by intersecting identities can participate, valuing lived experience.
  • Leadership of those most impacted: Emphasis is given to organizations led by disabled people of color, queer, gender nonconforming and women with disabilities.
  • Cross-movement solidarity: Intentional focus on collaboration and bridge-building amongst disability justice activists and across movements.
  • Sustainability: Resources and tools that support the growth of grassroots disabled-led organizations, and expand operational capacities for ongoing movement building.


The Disability Inclusion Fund Definition of Disability

Our Fund understands that there are many definitions of disabilities including the legal definition set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act. But many of the definitions in our laws and public policies can be limiting to our full understanding of disability as part of human diversity, happening across the lifespan, and can be a powerful identity that mobilizes disabled people to organize, advocate, and create. Disabilities can be apparent or non-apparent, a cause and consequence of poverty, and an identity that a person can acquire at any point in their life.

The DIF believes that our disability movement is made powerful because of the lived-experiences of our leaders and advocates we support. This movement includes but is not limited to people with developmental, mental illness, intellectual, hearing and vision, and chronic illness disabilities. When we say the DIF supports disability movement work, we mean the many ways that the disability movement builds greater access to political, social, cultural, and economic power, joy, and pride for the collective liberation of all people with disabilities. 


Grantmaking Committee Roles and Responsibilities

Purpose:

The purpose of the grantmaking committee is to work in partnership with the DIF team by providing guidance and cultivating the DIF’s 2024 grantee cohort. The focus of the Fund will be driven by movement priorities, feedback from current grantees, and the recent fund evaluation completed by Social Insights Research. 

Composition:

In order for us all to arrive at a more inclusive world, the Fund values radical inclusion and believes people with disabilities must be part of every decision-making process. Our grantmaking committee will include advocates from disability rights and justice movements as well as representatives from the broader philanthropic sector. 

Selection Process:

For Advocates: DIF staff will select advocates from an open application process that will include an interview with a DIF staff member. The DIF team will ensure our committee members reflect the movement and communities we fund. We strongly encourage and welcome applications from BIPOC community members who are champions of disability justice, people with disabilities who have backgrounds in underrepresented fields or issue areas, as well as activists and community organizers. You do not need to have previous experience in grantmaking, fundraising, or development to apply. Our selection will ultimately include a committee with a diversity of lived-experiences, socio-economic backgrounds, perspectives, identities, and geography. 

For Funders: The DIF team will identify funder representatives who are values-aligned and have a curiosity and interest in advancing the priorities of disability justice, rights, and inclusion. Funders will represent a variety of types and sizes of foundations, have a range of experience with disability inclusive grantmaking, and understanding of disability communities. 

Conflict of interest: 

We anticipate that committee members may be closely connected with Fund applicants that are being reviewed. We have a process to disclose any conflict of interest in advance and will ask committee members to recuse themselves from scoring or weighing in on groups with whom they have a conflict of interest (e.g. on staff, board, or other formal leadership body).

Application for Advocates are due May 17, 2024 by 9pm ET

If you have questions about the application please email DIF@borealisphilanthropy.org


Advocate Committee Members’ Compensation and Expenses

In recognition of the advocate committee members’ time, we will provide a stipend to each member paid out at the end of each year of service, up to 2-years. We will also cover any related travel expenses, access accommodations and materials.

Responsibilities and Time Commitment

For advocates this will be a two-year commitment. In 2024 we will be meeting virtually for all sessions. In 2025, the grantmaking committee will be meeting in a hybrid format and members of the committee will have the option to participate either in-person or remotely. If it is needed the DIF will pivot to a fully virtual format. The Fund will adhere to the public health guidance and protocol as required by Borealis Philanthropy to ensure the health and safety of committee members. The DIF team will work closely with committee members to support their full participation, access, and inclusion. 

The grantmaking committee will convene virtually for decision-making between September 3-October 18th 2024 (with specific times identified based on group availability). A more detailed schedule will be provided once we determine all members availability.

In 2024 we anticipate the duration of the committee’s work will span approximately 3-4 months starting around July 2024. We estimate a total time commitment of about 40 hours.

We expect the following responsibilities and time commitment: 

+ Attend Grantmaking Committee Kick-Off Meeting (~ July 2024 – estimated time: 2 hours via Zoom)

    – Introductions, overview of committee roles and responsibilities, grantmaking process & timeline. 

    – Grantmaking and program strategy recommendations based on landscape analysis findings.

+ For Advocates only: an introduction to philanthropy training (~ August 2024 – estimated time: 2 hours via Zoom before the virtual meeting)

    – What is philanthropy and how do I fit in? 

    – My role and responsibilities as a grantmaker.

    – What is participatory grantmaking?   

+ For Funders only: introduction to the DIF and political education about disability justice (~ August/September 2024 – estimated time: 2 hours via Zoom before the virtual meeting)

    – How does disability justice move us closer to social justice values? 

    – The role and responsibility of philanthropy to practice disability inclusive grantmaking

+ Proposal Review Period: (~ July 26th -Sept 4, 2024 estimated time: 10 – 12 hours)

    – Independent proposal review and scoring in the prepared rubric. 

+ Grant Recommendations Meetings: (September 9-30, 2024 – October 4th estimated time:  4-5 days of virtual convening 90 minutes each, with breaks)

    – Community-building with the grantmaking committee and DIF team to foster relationships and connections. 

   – Review grantmaking recommendations from staff based on committee input from the proposal review period and agree on final recommendations for Borealis board approval. 

+ Miscellaneous (Estimated time: 4 hours)

   – Scheduling, administrative, communications requests, ad-hoc feedback, etc. 

   – Fill out survey evaluating grantmaking process

In 2025, we will convene in a hybrid format in the fall for 4-5 days in a location to be determined to make grantmaking decisions.

Application for Advocates are due May 17, 2024 by 9pm ET

If you have questions about the application please email DIF@borealisphilanthropy.org

Please email your answers to the application in a word document OR you may submit via the jotform. If you require accommodations to complete the application, please reach out to our team using the email above.

Participatory Grantmaking Committee Questions

Background Information

Name:
Pronouns (if any):
Organization and Title (if affiliated): 
Email: 
Phone Number: 
Physical Address:
Do you identify as a person with a disability and/or disabled person (y/n)? 

Experiences and knowledge of disability justice, rights, and inclusion

The Fund prioritizes support to organizations led by and for people with disabilities who are people of color, femmes, LGBTQIA+, and/or immigrants. What is your relationship to historically marginalized communities? (150 words max)

Why are you interested in serving on the DIF’s participatory grantmaking committee? (150 words max)

What do you believe philanthropy’s role should be in the disability movement and disability communities? (It is not required to have a previous role or background in fundraising, development, or grant writing to serve on this committee. 150 words max)

Please share a past example of how you have engaged in collective power-building or decision-making. (200 words max)

Please review the guiding values of the DIF above and tell us how your work and/or life aligns with these guiding values? (200 words max)