December 13, 2022

Announcing the Disability Frontlines Fund

As the pandemic continues with long-term impact on our communities, people with disabilities continue to sound the alarms and support each other with little to no resources for their life-saving work. In response, we’re excited to announce a new grantmaking program that disrupts this major gap in funding. Today we’re announcing the Disability Frontlines Fund at Third Wave, and our inaugural grantee cohort.

We are in a critical time to resource Disability Justice (DJ) organizations across all of our social justice movements. In an ongoing global pandemic in which public infrastructure continues to abandon disabled people, the Disability Frontlines Fund (DFF) focuses on directly resourcing groups across the United States and Territories that center the leadership of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) who identify as D/disabled, D/deaf, hard of hearing, chronically sick, neurodivergent, and/or mad, and who practice DJ. At Third Wave, we know that there is no liberation without DJ, a critical component of all movements for justice.

Grounded in the definition of DJ from the 10 Principles of Disability Justice offered by Sins Invalid, we are developing values that integrate these principles into our funding practices. The Disability Frontlines Fund began its work in late 2021 with a field analysis of the funding landscape for DJ organizations. For this process, we interviewed ten BIPOC DJ leaders -  Patty Berne, Lydia X.Z. Brown, Daphne Frias, Elliot Fukui, Sandy Ho, Najma Johnson, TL Lewis, Leroy Moore, and Max Vega. From these interviews, we developed a strategy to fund grassroots BIPOC groups practicing DJ, while still doing our own learning and development. These two-year learning grants are helping us develop and refine our longer-term grantmaking strategy.

We’ve seen traditional philanthropy hold back resources as they spend multiple years refining their funding strategies, despite the urgency of the work on the ground. As an intervention, our first cycle of learning grants seeks to resource groups while also allowing us to learn from their strategies, priorities, and success. For our inaugural round of learning grants, we are pleased to announce that we are awarding $960k per year for two years across the 18 following organizations and individuals:

Large Grants– $100,000 per year

Mid Sized Grants– $35,000 per year

Individual Grants– $12,000 per year

Disability Justice must be a part of every movement because people living with disabilities exist in every community. Grants from this new fund are already increasing disability communities’ individual and organizational access to the care and capacity that they demand and deserve.

While this fund is not currently accepting applications for new funding at this time, we’ll be providing information on future grantmaking cycles after this cycle of learning grants concludes in 2024.

If you are a donor, funder, or general admirer of the Disability Frontlines Fund, reach out to Maryse Mitchell-Brody (Development Officer, Spotlight Funds) to learn more about making a donation or other ways to support at

Image Description (top): Four disabled people are gathered around a white banner that says “Disability Frontlines Fund” in black text, against a background of abstract pink and purple hued flowers and green leaves. All the people depicted are smiling and wearing colorful clothing, and have varying genders, ages, and body types. From left: One person has magenta hair and is sitting in a powerchair to the left of the banner. There are two people standing behind the banner. The second person has gray, thick curly hair; they have a cane in one hand and their other hand on the shoulder of the third person. The third person has a prosthetic leg and is wearing a shirt with a fist on it and holding up a megaphone. The fourth person is framed within an online video call screen propped up in bed with their laptop and a small dog by their side.