The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies (The Partnership) is the only U.S. disability-led, 501(c)(3) organization that prioritizes equity, access, disability rights, disability justice, and full inclusion of people with disabilities, older adults, and people with access and functional needs before, during and after disasters and emergencies. We recognize that prevention, planning, response, recovery and mitigation must start with and be led by multiply marginalized disabled people who are the most disproportionately impacted.
The Partnership actively engages with a community of local, national and global disability rights, emergency management and public health leaders and allies committed to equity, access, and whole community inclusion before, during, and after disasters. Our partners have a strong track record of protecting and advancing the rights of people with disabilities (26% of the U.S. population) and over one billion people with disabilities across the globe.
Our founding organization, Portlight Strategies (which led humanitarian response and relief initiatives to meet the needs of disaster-impacted disabled communities for over 20 years) formally established The Partnership in 2016 to focus on disability-inclusive emergency management, community organizing, policy, advocacy and training.
In 2019, The Partnership received its 501(c)(3) recognition under the IRS, and Portlights’ legacy of direct disaster relief functions were absorbed into The Partnership as our “Portlight Relief Division.”
The Partnership leads inclusive change, navigates complex systems and eliminates barriers to emergency and disaster programs and services for people with disabilities. We do this by focusing on the access and functional needs of countless people who are disproportionately impacted in disasters due to inadequate planning, preparedness and accessibility. This includes people who may require assistance, accommodation or modification due to any situation (temporary or permanent) that limits their ability to take action in an emergency. In addition to people with disabilities, this includes disabled youth, people who are marginalized, stigmatized or excluded, older adults, individuals with limited language proficiency, low literacy, temporary and chronic health conditions, pregnant women and people experiencing homelessness, limited access to transportation or the financial resources to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster.
Globally, we bring our expertise and leadership to disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, human rights, humanitarian action, strategic development, and resilient community initiatives. Our U.S. partners lead disability rights initiatives in every congressional district and virtually every community across the country.
Our core values of equitable access, inclusion, independence, and commitment to civil and human rights protections continually guide our work towards a future where community readiness is achieved and sustained for everyone through a shared and unwavering commitment to accessibility, universal design and reasonable accommodation before, during, and after disasters. This includes equitable access and full inclusion throughout planning, exercises, alerts, notification, evacuation, transportation, sheltering, health maintenance, medical care and temporary housing. This also includes maintaining a full commitment to equitable access, inclusion, independence, and commitment to civil and human rights protections as disaster impacted people return home, to school, work, and their communities; and, it carries on throughout recovery and mitigation initiatives, led by the active and knowledgeable leadership of people with disabilities and fully informed by the community as a whole.
Experience has shown us that these values of equitable access, inclusion, independence, and commitment to civil and human rights protections are imperatives for achieving and sustaining community-wide disaster resilience.