Disability Economic Justice Collaborative logo.Launched in April 2022 by The Century Foundation’s Disability Economic Justice Team, in partnership with the Ford Foundation, the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative is a first-of-its-kind initiative that brings together two-dozen leading disability advocacy organizations, Washington, D.C.-based think tanks, and top research organizations. The collaborative is committed to breaking the persistent link between disability and poverty, and to finally achieving economic justice for disabled Americans more than three decades after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law. 

To learn more about the collaborative, watch the virtual launch event, featuring Secretary Julian Castro, Representative Ayanna Pressley, Rebecca Cokley, and Sarita Gupta of the Ford Foundation, Mark Zuckerman of The Century Foundation, TCF’s new Disability Economic Justice Team (Rebecca Vallas, Kim Knackstedt, and Vilissa Thompson), as well as a cross-section of collaborative members. 

For questions or press, contact [email protected] or [email protected]

The Collaborative

The Collaborative is a collection of think tanks, research organizations, and disability advocacy groups dedicated to bringing a disability lens across the entire economic agenda.  The member organizations will work in partnership and learn together to drive forward disability economic justice.

Access Living Activating Change American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Andraea Lavant
Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) Center for American Progress (CAP) Disability Justice Initiative Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Community Legal Services of Philadelphia  Council of Parent Attorney and Advocates Covid-19 Longhauler Advocacy Project
Data for Progress Dior Vargas Education Trust Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)
Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality Groundwork Collaborative John Hopkins Disability Health Research Center Justice in Aging
Kelly’s Kitchen National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel National Disability Institute National Pain Advocacy Center
National Partnership for Women and Families New America Nexus Project Patient Led Research Collaborative
The Arc The Century Foundation The Kelsey Urban Institute
Vera Institute for Justice Washington Center for Equitable Growth

What Is Disability Economic Justice?

Disability Economic Justice is housing, employment, transportation, financial security & savings, justice, access to benefits, food, health, technology & the digital divide, education and community living.

More than three decades after the ADA became law, working-age adults with disabilities in the United States still face poverty rates twice as high as their nondisabled peers, due to pervasive discrimination and a litany of structural barriers to economic security and upward mobility. 

Disabled people of color in the United States face even greater economic disparities and rates of poverty and hardship, the result of a combination of structural as well as cultural ableism and racism. 

Yet despite the fact that 61 million, or more than one in four, U.S. adults currently live with disabilities—a number that is rapidly rising, given that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a mass disabling event—U.S. economic policy conversations have rarely employed a disability lens.

While a widespread culture shift will not be achieved solely through policy change, many of the barriers to economic security facing Americans with disabilities are the result of policy failures that become visible when we center the perspectives and experiences of the disability community—from inadequate affordable, accessible housing and transportation, to a long history of disinvestment in community living supports, and more.

Achieving economic justice for people with disabilities in the United States will require not only a redoubling of our national commitment to the unfulfilled goals of the ADA, but also a collective commitment to applying disability as a lens across the entire economic policy agenda—and an intentional acknowledgment that we will never achieve true economic justice in this nation if we fail to achieve economic justice for disabled people.