Disabilities Fund

Disabilities Fund logo

The Disabilities Fund of The Chicago Community Trust promotes the development of programs, policy and public action that expands the empowerment, equal opportunity, inclusion and participation of diverse persons with disabilities in the Chicago region. The Fund partners with and advises The Chicago Community Trust about disability inclusion and priorities for data-driven actionable solutions in the areas of employment, education, community inclusion and technology.

The Disabilities Fund was established thanks to the generosity of Shawn Donnelley and the Naomi Williams Donnelley Fund.

Advisory Board Members

  • Adam Ballard, Access Living (Co-Chair)
  • Kathy Ryg, Former State Representative (Co-Chair)
  • Jack Catlin, Honorary Board Member
  • Zully Alvarado, Causes for Change
  • Lore Baker, Association for Individual Development
  • Jackie Burgess Bishop, National Kidney Foundation of Illinois
  • Deborah Grisko, Almost Home Kids
  • Kevin Irvine, Rush University Medical Center
  • Alexa James, NAMI Chicago
  • Jerry Kendall, Lake County Center for Independent Living
  • Kathy Lavin, Gateways to Learning
  • Ben Lumicao, Allstate
  • Erin Smith, Kemper Total Rewards

Recent Work

Accelerate Disability Inclusion

On July 26, 2020, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Disabilities Fund launched Accelerate Disability Inclusion, a digital campaign that raises awareness for disability advocacy and issues. The campaign uses social media to highlight important data, showcase interviews with leaders across the public and corporate sectors, and encourage ways for people to foster change in their own communities and workplaces.

Learn more: https://acceleratedisabilityinclusion.org/.

Inform and Act Series

Did you know that almost half of people with disabilities in the Chicago region are people of color? Did you know that students with disabilities in the region are suspended at twice the rate of students without disabilities—and that only 30% will graduate high school? Stay informed on how disability intersects with your work by perusing the following topical briefing papers and resources below.

Disability in the Chicago Region – Learn more about the intersection of disability in your community and our region.

Fact Sheet – Color PDF

Fact Sheet – Black and white PDF

Fact Sheet – Word version

Disability and the Racial Wealth Gap – Learn how segregation, discrimination and long-term disinvestment in communities of color have created a growing racial wealth gap—particularly for people with disabilities.

Fact Sheet – Color PDF

Fact Sheet – Word version

The Business Case for Disability Employment – Learn how inclusive hiring practices give companies a competitive edge.

Fact Sheet – Color PDF

Fact Sheet – Black and white PDF

Fact Sheet – Word version

Youth and Disability – Learn more about the challenges facing youth with disabilities in our region.

Video version with audio description also available on YouTube

Fact Sheet – Color PDF

Fact Sheet – Black and white PDF

Fact Sheet – Word version

What can you do? Take disability into account. Want to know more about the challenges facing our youth with disabilities? This addendum includes supporting statistics, references and more information on our Youth and Disability Fact Sheet. Stay tuned for more on this series!

ADA 25 Chicago

ADA 25 Chicago was a year-long initiative celebrating and leveraging the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2015. As the leader supporter, the Chicago Community Trust has continued its legacies with ADA 25 Advancing Leadership and other programs. To learn more about ADA 25 Chicago, please visit the archived website.

Renewing the Commitment Guide

The Renewing the Commitment Guide is for nonprofits to review and evaluate their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The guide provides general guidelines as well a tip sheets and interactive evaluations.

ADA Compliance Guide, PDF Format

Guide summary, PDF format

This guide was originally created in 2010 at the 20th anniversary of the ADA, and has been updated with current information for 2015.

Quest for Equality: Breaking the Barriers for People with Disabilities

The 2010 white paper identifies three areas with the most opportunities since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act for full inclusion of people with disabilities; education, employment, and community living. The paper outlines goals within each area, all of which are still applicable seven years later.

Read and share the white paper (PDF format)

Contact Us
Anna Lee


If you would like to help promote healthy, inclusive communities, you can make an online donation to the Disabilities Fund.

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