Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy

Respectability

Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.

aka RespectAbilityUSA, TheRespectAbilityReport.org

Rockville, MD

Mission

RespectAbility's mission is to fight stigma and advance opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. We are unique in our national focus on enabling people with disabilities to get the education, skills, and opportunities they need to achieve competitive, integrated employment and independence.

Notes from the Nonprofit

Our team includes people with disabilities. Our president has dyslexia, and our staff has included people with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and polio, as well as people with hearing and vision impairments. Our diverse Board of Directors is led by a graduate of Morehouse college and Brandeis University. RespectAbility's Board members include a congressional coauthor of the Americans with Disabilities Act, an inventor of reality television, a former presidential appointee in charge of disability programs, and leaders in philanthropy, disability, communications, and business. Our National Leadership Program is a fellowship program for college students who are interested in policy, communications, advocacy, development, and nonprofit management. The director of the program has a disability. Since our founding in 2014, we have trained 105 Fellows, with more than half self-identifying as having a disability.

Ruling Year

2014

CEO and President

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

Main Address

11333 Woodglen Drive, #102

Rockville, MD 20852 USA

Keywords

disability, advocacy, job coach, education, stigma reduction, philanthropy

EIN

46-2840232

 Number

5164910696

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Disabled Persons' Rights (R23)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

RespectAbility is a nonpartisan nonprofit that connects national policy and best practices to inform, engage, and advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. We are on the front lines in the battle to advance education, skills and economic opportunities in the open job market for youth with disabilities and the 22 million working-age people with disabilities. We do not lobby; we educate and advocate. We foster collaboration among multiple communities of practice from foundations to other disabilities organizations, from governors to mayors, from Hollywood producers to New York City media executives. We train the next generation of self-advocates in our National Fellowship Program. All these efforts are designed to create equitable economic opportunities for people with a variety of disabilities who can and want to work.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

National Leadership Program - Fellows

National Employment Program

Stigma Reduction

Education and Fundraising

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of participants who gain employment

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

People with disabilities

Related program

National Leadership Program - Fellows

Context notes

We have had over 125 fellows come through our program. We are very excited for the opportunity to better prepare our fellows through professional development and career advancement experiences.

Number of stories successfully placed in the media

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

People with disabilities

Related program

Stigma Reduction

Context notes

•Raised public awareness of the abilities of PwDs through earned and paid media and constant promotion of positive images and stories that counter negative stereotypes.

Number of Social media participants/like on Facebook, Twitter, and through our free webinars.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

People with disabilities

Related program

National Employment Program

Context notes

#RespectTheAbility, shows employers, society, and PwDs the benefits and successes that can be achieved from hiring those with disabilities. We also have a huge presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

As an education and advocacy nonprofit, we seek to reshape attitudes and change behavior so that people with disabilities can have a better future. Our intermediary goals are to convene and educate stakeholders, build alliances, collect and share compelling data, and disseminate best employment practices. Our long-term goal (impact) is to increase the number of people with disabilities working in the open job market at minimum wage and above. Rather than advocate for more benefits for people with disabilities, RespectAbility shows policy makers and employers that most people with disabilities prefer to work, want to work and can be the best talent for many jobs.

2. We train the next generation of leaders and advocates on behalf of people with disabilities. To the best of our knowledge, we operate the only internship and leadership program for college and graduate students and recent graduates with disabilities that includes high-level coaching and hands-on training in development, policy and practices, media campaigns, and effective writing and public speaking. Our location next to Washington D.C. allows Fellows to attend legislative briefings and press conferences and to meet policy makers and legislators.

3. We strive to increase the number of people with disabilities working in the movie and media industries--from actors with real disabilities to camera operators to post-production computer animation. Our goal is to encourage Hollywood and New York to present positive portrayals of people with disabilities—their motivation, grit, and humanity. And we want an increased number of scripts/shows/movies with positive disability storylines and characters with disabilities

4. We aim to increase the number of philanthropists giving in the Disabilities field. We educate donors how to apply the disabilities lens to their other philanthropic goals from reducing poverty to developing job training programs.

Strategy 1: Working with State Governors and Employers
As the only non-profit or advocacy organization that has established close working relationships with 44 governors and their staff, RespectAbility is the advisor that many governors rely on to help them with disabilities employment. We are focused on using education and training to help ensure that governors are aware of best employment practices, and employers are more willing and able to hire people with disabilities.

Strategy #2: Communities of Practice
We enter communities with low employment participation rates for people with disabilities, and we create alliances called communities of practice. Strategy #3: National Leadership Program
Our long-term strategy is to educate the next generation of self-advocates and leaders in the disabilities field who know how to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. Our National Leadership Program has already trained 105 Fellows (half of whom have a variety of disabilities) in skills such as advocacy, policy and practice, strategic communication, and effective writing and public speaking.

Strategy #4: Anti-Stigma Media Campaign
Our Anti-Stigma Campaign works with Hollywood and Media leaders to change negative portrayals of people with disabilities in movies and TV and to encourage the employment of more actors with disabilities and production workers with disabilities. Our Anti-Stigma Media Campaign is designed to write and publish success stories about employers who use innovative strategies to place and retain people with disabilities in jobs long term.

Strategy #5: To Increase Private Philanthropic Support to the Disabilities Field and to Convince Foundations to Hire People with Disabilities. We educate philanthropists to ensure that their dollars are not used in ways that discriminate against people with disabilities. We also work to increase their giving to effective programs that help people with disabilities secure jobs in the open market.

We reach a large audience through social media and webinars. We have 60,000 followers on Facebook and twitter who read our daily posts. We have had 900 leaders in the field of Disabilities attend our webinars. Our location in Rockville, Maryland is close to Capitol Hill, close to the policy makers, institutions, and legislators who work on workforce development. Our staff and Fellows easily attend several press conferences and hearings in D.C. every week. Our strongest capabilities are our staff that consists of Directors of Policy and Practice, Director of Strategic Communication, Director of the Fellows Program, and the President of the Foundation. Our President is a volunteer CEO since the founding of RespectAbility. She is an expert in strategic communications, political strategy and has worked on numerous public policies including international relations. Staff bios are on RespectAbility's website.
At any one time, there are at least 10 Fellows in our office researching Disabilities employment issues, writing blogs and press releases, and contacting foundations and philanthropists, governors and policymakers. Our Fellows have access to 40 national leaders in the Disabilities movement who come to speak each year: disabilities researchers, parents of children with disabilities, actors with disabilities, Foundation presidents, university researchers, and so on. The Fellows have a personal writing coach to help them write and edit cover letters, resumes, blogs, press releases, and articles.
RespectAbility has access to Congressional leaders and governors and their staff. We help other Disability organizations with letters to key stakeholders, position papers, toolkits and more. We partner; we do not compete. All our toolkits and resource guides and webinars are free and on our website.

We will know that we are making progress when the employment rate of people with disabilities in each state begins to increase. This increase is already happening. As we will be focusing on the employment of young adults with disabilities who are transitioning from school to the workplace, we anticipate a dramatic increase in the percentage of these youngsters who have access to proven workplace preparation and placement programs such as Project SEARCH, PROMISE and Bridges to Work. We will consistently survey employers' attitudes to measure any changes in their opinions towards hiring people with disabilities.
When we see better characters with disabilities on the large and small screen and more actors with disabilities hired to play characters with disabilities in movies and television, we know we are making progress. When more foundations and private philanthropists give specifically to programs that support people with disabilities who want to work, we know we are achieving our measurable goals and outcomes. When our Fellows graduate and find jobs that are leadership positions in fields related to people with disabilities, then we will have succeeded.

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

1. We established a Community of Practice for increasing the employment of people with disabilities in Long Beach, California. We are in discussion with stakeholders to establish a second Community of Practice in New York City.

2. We wrote responses to all 50 state plans for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and continue to serve as a resource to 44 Governors' offices in implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

3. We established databases of journalists and Hollywood producers and directors and casting agencies to receive our blogs and articles to encourage more people with disabilities to secure jobs in the movie and TV industries.

4. We encouraged three major foundations to begin funding in the Disabilities Employment field, including the Ford Foundation.

5. We trained 125 Fellows with a 92% placement rate in leadership jobs or continuing graduate education.

6. More than 900 people participated in webinars organized by the Fellows this past year, and an additional 200 people participated in-person in our California Community of Practice. More than 100,000 people are on our email list, and we have nearly 60,000 “likes" on Facebook.

External Reviews

Photos

Financials

Respectability

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

No

Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Gender

Race & Ethnicity

Indian

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members and Volunteers.

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies

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We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
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We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
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We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
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We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
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We have a diversity committee in place
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We have a diversity manager in place
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We have a diversity plan
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We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
We actively pursue persons with disabilities. We have an active fellows program that directly works with folks with disabilities to help them re-enter the workforce or go from school to employment.