Our work is built on the belief that policies and progress must be informed and led by those affected by injustice. That’s why the Disability Inclusion Fund practices a participatory grantmaking model. Alongside funders, our grantmaking committee has equal representation from disability inclusion, rights, and justice leaders from the field to ensure a range of experiences, perspectives, identities, and geographies inform all grantmaking decisions. The grantmaking committee provides guidelines on the Disability Inclusion Fund’s focus, including working closely with the DIF staff to determine grant recommendations for Borealis Philanthropy’s board approval.
Meet the six incredible advocates serving on the Disability Inclusion Fund 2021-2022 grantmaking committee below!
Keidra Chaney is Digital Engagement and Accessibility Manager at National Network of Abortion Funds and a freelance writer. As a communications professional, writer, and educator, she endeavors to create equitable, just, and safe online environments for marginalized people. She is the founding publisher of pop culture website The Learned Fangirl and the founder of the TLF Emergency Fund for freelance writers.
Keidra holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She started her publishing career as an editor for award-winning movement publication Clamor Magazine. More recently, she worked with the Citizen Engagement Lab’s Cultural Pulse Project, connecting nonprofits and organizers with online communities to organize for social change through pop culture storytelling. She is a 2020 Disability Lead Fellow and a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC). Her writing has been featured in The Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Reader, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, Uncanny Magazine, Prism, and other publications.
Sneha Dave graduated from Indiana University in May 2020 where she majored in chronic illness advocacy and journalism. She founded the Health Advocacy Summit (HAS) and the Crohn’s and Colitis Young Adults Network (CCYAN) to create support systems for adolescents and young adults with chronic medical disabilities across the U.S. and internationally. She is proud to work with a team composed entirely of young adults with chronic medical disabilities and is committed to keeping HAS and CCYAN independent from the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
Sneha completed an undergraduate research fellowship in health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as a national policy fellowship at RespectAbility, where she now serves on the board. Her speaking engagements include a wide range of venues and forums, including on Capitol Hill, at the Democratic National Convention, Stanford Medicine X, and the National Academies of Medicine, as well as contributions to U.S. News and World Report and C-SPAN. Sneha served on the Democratic National Committee Disability Policy Subcommittee and recently joined the Midwest Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council. Sneha was recognized as one of the most influential teenagers in 2019 by the We Are Family Foundation, and as an American Association of People with Disabilities Emerging Leader in 2020.
Jason P. Harris
Jason Harris is the Director of Strategic Operations for Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (LADD), a service organization dedicated to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion for the success of people with disabilities. An Autistic adult and disability advocate, Jason joined the leadership team at LADD to share insights into the development of long-term innovative initiatives and advance transformational change to include and empower individuals with disabilities. Prior to joining LADD, Jason was a research associate at Burton Blatt Institute, an international disability rights, and human justice think tank.
Jason has long been passionate about advancing justice and giving voice to individuals in the disability community on all matters affecting their lives. In 2013, he founded Jason’s Connection, an online platform focused on disability culture, acceptance, and identity for adults in the disability, mental health, and aging communities. The site includes a searchable, national resource directory, and serves an active Facebook community with over 300,000 followers. Jason is on the board of Saul Schottenstein Foundation B, and speaks frequently at events about cultural and social dynamics and how they impact the disability community, including the need to recognize the intersectional lives of people with disabilities. Jason was awarded an M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education and a Certificate of Advanced Disability Studies from Syracuse University. A Cincinnati native, Jason enjoys walking nature trails, exploring historic sites, and rooting for local sports teams.
Alexandra (Alex) McArthur
A seasoned nonprofit professional, Alex McArthur is National Director at the Taproot Foundation, where she leads a team to advise Fortune 500 companies and philanthropic organizations on implementing high-impact, skills-based volunteer programs. Previously, she was the National Director of Young Adult and Community Engagement with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and has managed External Affairs at LRN, a firm improving business ethics and culture change.
She graduated from Davidson College in 2009, was named a Davidson Alumni Game Changer in 2014, and served as the Chair of the Davidson Ne Ultra Young Alumni Society. In addition to being named Ms. Wheelchair America in 2011 and a White House Champion of Change in 2014, Alex is an advocate in the disability community and is the Chair Emeritus of the Board for the National Disability Institute and the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities. Alex serves as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Visual Arts Exchange, and an Awesome Foundation Disability Trustee. She is passionate about improving systems and attitudes which affect people with disabilities and always laughs at a good pun.
Alex Perez-Garcia is a current Master in Public Policy candidate at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Her academic interests lie at the intersection of social and health policy with an emphasis on mental health and disability. Previously, Alex was Associate Director of Development and Communications at Disability Lead, a grassroots nonprofit organization that connects leaders with disabilities with civic engagement opportunities. Since 2019, she has worked with underrepresented, first-time progressive political candidates to build the capacity of their campaigns by providing compliance, financial, and fundraising services. She started her career at The Chicago Community Trust, where she managed several projects related to the Trust’s commitment to racial equity, disability inclusion, and strategic growth for diverse populations and disinvested neighborhoods.
She was a 2021 New Leaders Council Fellow and has been honored with several professional affiliations, including as a 2020 Disability Lead Fellow and an inaugural member and ambassador of the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps. She served as Co-Chair of the Chicago Foundation for Women’s Young Women’s Giving Council. She is an avid public speaker, sharing her experience and expertise in mental health and disability. Alex graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Policy.
Adela Ruiz-Olivo is a professor, grantmaker, strategist, and lifelong New Yorker with proud Dominican/Afro-Caribbean roots. Her experiences as a member of historically excluded communities drive her commitment to actualize equity and expand opportunities for disabled, Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (QTBIPOC), women, and immigrant families. She is a values-driven leader who has worked in philanthropy, nonprofits, and higher education for over a decade, leading sector-wide initiatives that uplift disability justice, racial equity, and inclusive approaches to grantmaking and programming, most recently at the NBA and Ford Foundation.
Adela has been a fellow with highly respected groups like Hispanics in Philanthropy and The Rockwood Institute for Leadership, among others. She prides herself on centering equity, justice, and joy in her work and has worked with hundreds of students and grantees. Adela earned her B.A. and M.A. in Sociology and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center.