Guest Post: Donors Forum + ADA 25 Chicago Offer Free Sessions on Increasing Opportunities + Inclusion for Those with Disabilities

Monday, August 31, 2020

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act -- landmark legislation that sparked a new era of civil rights for people with disabilities. Despite huge progress, 25 years later too many people with disabilities still face lives of poverty rather than opportunity. And unfortunately, the employment rate for people with disabilities today is no different than what it was back in 1990.

The way to break that cycle for the more than 800,000 people with disabilities in Metropolitan Chicago is through robust strategies that recognize that disability is a natural part of the human experience, and expand opportunities for people with disabilities. Nonprofits can lead the way by making programs, services, and policies more inclusive and accessible.

Donors Forum, in partnership with ADA 25 Chicago, will present five sessions that will provide practical, hands-on advice for nonprofits on how they can increase inclusion for people with disabilities in the Chicago region. Read more and register for any of the sessions via these links:


At the first event on Sept. 15, Donors Forum will feature the author of The Chicago Community Trust’s revised inclusion and accessibility guide, “Renewing the Commitment: An ADA Compliance Guide for Nonprofits” by Irene Bowen. Ms. Bowen, a national expert who has served on the Federal Access Board, will discuss how the guide and its practices can better your nonprofit and the community simultaneously.

The four additional workshops highlighting key topics from the guide will be led by Robin Jones, Ph.D., Director of the Great Lakes ADA Center, who is also on the faculty of the UIC Institute on Disability and Human Development and has extensive experience training business, government and nonprofit leaders on issues related to the ADA.

We hope you can join us for one or more of these important and educational discussions.

An additional forum in October for grantmakers will address the role of philanthropy in providing leadership on these issues.

-- Emily Harris, Executive Director, ADA 25 Chicago at The Chicago Community Trust

Emily Harris is Executive Director of ADA 25 Chicago, a one-year initiative to leverage the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act to advance full participation of people with disabilities in metropolitan Chicago.  Led by a steering committee of organizations and businesses from all walks of life, ADA 25 Chicago has nearly 200 program partners who are raising awareness of the impact of this civil rights legislation and taking action to expand inclusion. Emily was formerly Vice President of Metropolis Strategies (previously called Chicago Metropolis 2020) and served as Executive Director of the Burnham Plan Centennial. She is also Principal of Harris Strategies, LLC, which specializes in strategic planning and civic initiatives for non-profit organizations and public agencies. Past positions include program director for Leadership Greater Chicago, Principal of Emily J. Harris Consulting, Executive Director of the Canal Corridor Association, and Vice President of ActiveLife Retirement Communities. Emily has a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Chicago.