A message from DRF/DRAF Board of Directors

You may have seen the announcement on 4th May from our Founding Executive Director, Diana Samarasan, that after 14 years of dedicated service, she will be stepping down from leadership of DRF/DRAF at the end of 2021. As with any thoughtful succession, Diana and the Board of Directors have been preparing for this moment for some time. Together, we feel we are ready for transition; we are confident in the organizations’ sustainability and excited about its next chapter.

Diana has been instrumental in ensuring that – through DRF and DRAF – nascent disability rights movements around the world have gained much needed funding and recognition in their work to promote the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. As a Board, we are proud of those achievements. It is also impressive and gratifying to see how the principle of ‘nothing about us without us,’ which undergirds our model, has been increasingly adopted by the philanthropic sector, in large part because of Diana’s passion and commitment. It has been a privilege as a Board to serve and support Diana’s dedication to the disability rights movement globally and her leadership, and we thank her for her perseverance and the organizations’ success.

Together with Diana and staff, the Board is working closely on management of next steps. We have established a Transition Team that includes current and former Board members and senior staff to collaborate on this next phase of the organizations’ development. Importantly, we welcome applications for a new Executive Director and are excited to talk to candidates who have the vision to take DRF/DRAF into the next phase of growth.

Diana will remain as Executive Director throughout the leadership transition and is committed to a thoughtful, thorough onboarding of new leadership. And, we will continue to share information as we move through the process. With thanks for your ongoing support for the vision of DRF/DRAF, and with solidarity in building forward towards a better world for all,

Lorraine Wapling, Board Co-Chair
Andy Ferren, Board Co-Chair
On behalf of:
The DRF/DRAF Board of Directors