Top left: Two Young Adults with Down Syndrome smile. Both wear glasses. ONe sits in a wheelchair; The other leans on the back of the wheelchair.; Top Right: A person with glasses and a graying beard smiles.; Bottom Left: A person with short curly hair and red lipstick smiles.; Bottom Right: A child with glasses sits on their parent's lap.

Northwest Health Foundation is looking for ten leaders with disabilities from Oregon and Southwest Washington to participate in a Disability Justice Leaders Collaborative.

The Disability Justice Leaders Collaborative will meet four times over the span of a year. NWHF will provide each participant a stipend of $300 per meeting. We’ll also pay for travel, lodging and accessibility accommodations.


Why is Northwest Health Foundation convening this Collaborative?

In Oregon, our decision-makers do not represent all of us; 67% of elected leaders are white men, 26% are white women. We don’t know how many of our elected leaders identify as having a disability, but we imagine it’s not representative of our state’s population. This is a problem. When decision-makers don’t reflect the communities they’re meant to serve, the policies they make can fall flat or, whether intentionally or not, even harm our communities.

We want to make sure all voices and experiences are represented in state legislatures, on local committees and boards, and everywhere in between. That way we can change laws and policies so they work for all of us.

Text reads: "1 out of 5 Americans has a disability." An orange icon of a person with a maze inside of their head stands next to a row of four black stick figures. A red icon representing a person with a prosthetic leg appears to run right, away from a second row of four black stick figures.

The Disability Justice Leaders Collaborative will discuss how to make sure the voices and experiences of people with disabilities are represented by decision-makers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. They’ll consider disability justice as a means for achieving this goal. 

Disability justice says that all bodies are whole and powerful, and we all need to work together. We can’t leave anybody behind. At Northwest Health Foundation, we also believe every person is valuable and deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy life, whatever health means to them. When one person or community thrives, all of us benefit.

Short-term Goals

Leaders with disabilities will: 

  • Discuss a vision and strategy for ensuring the voices and experiences of people with disabilities are represented in decision-making.
  • Deepen their understanding of disability justice.
  • Discuss how disability-led organizations, community of color-led organizations, funders and leadership programs can work together in new ways.

Long-term Goals

1. Organizations in Oregon and Southwest Washington led by people with disabilities will develop the knowledge, skills and resources to:

  • Hold elected officials and other decision-makers accountable;
  • Change laws and policies;
  • Build power for the communities they serve.

2. Organizations led by people of color will understand disability justice and apply it to their work.

3. Our region’s leadership will include people with disabilities and people who understand, and are committed to, disability justice.

Read the 10 Principles of Disability Justice.


We recorded a webinar about the Disability Justice Leaders Collaborative on August 9. The webinar is closed-captioned. NWHF staff provide an overview of Northwest Health Foundation, give some background on the Disability Justice Leaders Collaborative and talk through the application process. Watch below or on Youtube

Applications for the Disability Leaders Learning Collaborative closed on August 31, 2017, 12pm noon, PST


  • Self-identify with disability, whether physical, mental, developmental or any other type of disability.
  • Demonstrate experience as a community leader. For example, an applicant may have taken a leadership training course, volunteered or worked for a nonprofit or community group, participated in a political campaign, or something else. You tell us!
  • Be interested in discussing and learning more about disability justice.
  • Live in Oregon (any county) or Southwest Washington (Clark, Cowlitz, Pacific, Skamania or Wahkiakum County).
  • Commit to attending all four Disability Justice Leaders Collaborative meetings. The first meeting will take place between November 1 and 15, 2017. After that, participants will decide when to have the next three meetings.

We welcome applicants of all ages, from youth to elders. Northwest Health Foundation intends to select leaders with disabilities who come from across our region and reflect our equity priorities of race/ethnicity, including immigrant and refugee status, and geography.

If you need this application in another format, please let us know. We are happy to accept responses in writing, as video or audio recordings, over the phone, or in any other way needed. Contact one of our program officers for more information.

Jen Matheson, Director of Programs, 971.230.1292 or

Eduardo Moreno, Community Engagement Officer, 971.230.1293 or

Michael Reyes, Community Engagement Officer, 971.230.1291 or

We strongly encourage you to contact NWHF staff with any questions or feedback.