A Message to Our Community Regarding COVID-19

Dear Friends and Partners of the Disability Rights Fund and Disability Rights Advocacy Fund,

Like many of you, the staff and Board of the Disability Rights Fund (DRF) and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF) are closely following the news about COVID-19 and its progression around the world. As we come to terms with what this means especially for persons with disabilities, we at DRF/DRAF are mindful that many of our friends, partners, and grantees are struggling to cope during these challenging times.

As the situation rapidly evolves, we want to share some steps we are taking to protect and support our team, our grantees and partners, and persons with disabilities who are beneficiaries of our funding:

Working Remotely: We are committed to our collective health and well-being. During this time, this has meant suspending travel for all DRF/DRAF staff and consultants and curtailing in-person meetings until these activities can resume. Beginning March 13, 2020, we have closed the Boston office and our staff (both inside and outside the U.S.) are being supported to work from home.

DRF/DRAF Grantmaking: We have not only continued, but expanded our grantmaking in the pandemic. Please visit the “For Grantseekers” page for eligibility information and guidance on submitting a proposal.  

Broader Philanthropic Response to COVID-19: Many of you have asked about how and when philanthropy will respond to this crisis, and how persons with disabilities can be included. Local, regional, and international funders have begun conversations – individually and collectively – about how best to support the organizations that are on the front lines of addressing the impact of this pandemic. We will contribute to these conversations to ensure that the voices and perspectives of persons with disabilities are included, and share information as it becomes available, including on our website at the COVID-19 Response page.

DRF/DRAF Grantees Respond to COVID-19: Many of our grantees have already taken advantage of opportunities to advocate in this time of crisis. In Indonesia, grantees recently wrote an open letter to the President pushing for accessible dissemination of COVID-19 response information — and sign language interpretation has started to appear in televised coronavirus-related announcements! In Rwanda, grantees are undertaking outreach efforts to ensure that all persons with disabilities are aware of public health guidance to limit the risk of exposure. We are heartened by these examples and many more, while also remembering achievements previously won by our grantees that are evident as current strategies unfold to include marginalized groups in the COVID-19 response. We are happy to share strategies to inform this critical work towards inclusive response in other places.

Importantly, and though we may be out of the office, we are still working and available by email. And we want to hear from you – our broader community. We welcome your continued engagement, and want to know if there are ways we can assist you to formulate inclusive responses to COVID-19 or reach persons with disabilities in the Global South. Please contact us at info@disabilityrightsfund.org.

For future information about DRF/DRAF, including ways in which our grantees are creatively responding to COVID-19 in their local communities, and resources, please sign up for our newsletter by visiting our website and filling out the form at the bottom of the page.

Finally, we welcome donations to help us continue to support persons with disabilities during this time of crisis.  Please clickhere to make a donation, or click the ‘Donate’ buttons at the top or bottom of our website.

Thank you for your steadfast commitment to our communities even in times of grave challenges and rapid change.

With gratitude,

The Disability Rights Fund and Disability Rights Advocacy Fund