Celebrate Unity in Action: International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023

Please join us at Lever for Change as we celebrate the 2023 United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPwD)! We join with champions around the world to increase awareness, understanding, acceptance, and accessibility for people with disabilities.

Since its inception in 1992, IDPwD has been a powerful platform advocating inclusivity and tackling barriers faced by individuals with disabilities—be they physical, technological, or attitudinal. This year, the UN's theme is 'United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for, with, and by persons with disabilities’. Unfortunately, the world is facing hurdles in meeting the SDGs, especially for those with disabilities. As previewed by the UN, their upcoming Disability and Development Report 2023 suggests that progress is lagging, hitting marginalized communities hardest. And that's where the call to action becomes crucial—let's increase our efforts to ensure that every individual is supported, respected, and included.

Two children sit on a hardwood floor playing with a book of the alphabet and a toy ladybug
Credit: Motion Light Lab

In this context, we are thrilled to showcase seven incredible initiatives within our Bold Solutions Network and larger database that embody the spirit of this year's IDPwD theme. For example, Motion Light Lab is Illuminating Futures for Deaf Children - Children who are deaf or hard of hearing face unique challenges, including limited language access. Motion Light Lab’s Early Visual Communication curriculum, a responsive web and app platform, will unify communication efforts and aims to impact 15,000 families within the next five years, fostering language development, family engagement, and community inclusion.

Special Olympics is Fostering Inclusion through Education - For over 55 years, Special Olympics has been a global force for inclusion. With a reach extending to over 190 countries, engaging more than 5 million athletes and their families, Special Olympics is launching the Inclusive Mindsets & Behaviors (IMB) curriculum. As part of its flagship education program, Unified Champion Schools (UCS), this groundbreaking initiative is set to transform education in 22,000 schools across 148 countries, impacting over 1 million young people and fostering a culture of inclusion and acceptance.

Caring Across Generations is Bringing Together Disabled Stakeholders and Disability-led Organizations to Bridge Silos Across the Care Spectrum - Their coalition-building campaigns seek to win lasting, large-scale care solutions at the state-level that support disabled people and those who care for them — including universal long-term services and support policies that promote dignity and independence for disabled people, policies that raise wages and improve job quality for care workers, and policies that offer pathways to training and financial compensation for family caregivers.

Moreover, accommodations designed for people with disabilities benefit us all! Take closed captions, for instance — they benefit not only those with hearing loss. Recent studies highlight that both GenZ and millennials actually prefer the use of subtitles, irrespective of hearing ability. What began as a 1970s innovation for individuals that are Deaf/Hard of Hearing has now become a fundamental tool for enhancing comprehension and engagement across diverse audiences.

As we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, let's go all-in on unity in action! By backing and amplifying initiatives like these, alongside the many other fantastic projects in our curated collection, we can help drive meaningful change. Let's make inclusion and accessibility a reality and create a future that's equitable and welcoming for everyone!

Next Steps

These organizations are ready to solve critical problems and are seeking resources to implement their solutions. Please contact Karen Minkel, Philanthropy Director at Lever for Change, if you are interested in any of the following:

  1. Requesting additional information about a proposal: We are happy to provide you with an organization’s full proposal and a summary of evaluations and due diligence, if available.
  2. Connecting with the organizations: We can also facilitate introductions to the organizations featured on this list so you can learn more about their work and ask specific funding questions.
  3. Supporting organizations: Ready to support one of these compelling solutions? We can answer questions you may have about how to best support the selected proposal(s) and/or organization(s).
  4. Requesting a curated list: If you have other philanthropic interest areas, we are happy to create a customized curated list that reflects your topics or geographies of interest.

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