We Need Your Voice!

National Disability Institute in Partnership with The George Gund Foundation

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Key-Informant Interviews

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About the Project

This project is a one-year research initiative conducted by National Disability Institute (NDI) and funded by the George Gund Foundation. The initiative seeks to create a framework for an evidence-based community investment strategy for improving the economic status of people with disabilities in the Cleveland, Cuyahoga and wider Northeast Ohio region.

The project will implement a community-based participatory research program aimed at gaining insight into the lived experiences of Ohioans with disabilities through discussions and resource mapping exercises with various community stakeholders. This includes convening a Community Action Research Team (CART), comprised of six member representatives from key disability stakeholder groups, who will guide the project implementation process and inform the recommendations for a community investment strategy. Ongoing community engagement in the research process will be encouraged through intermittent sharing of key research highlights and findings through various media.

The following research activities will be conducted: (1) community listening sessions/ focus groups with individuals with disabilities and their families, community providers, small business owners and policy makers and advocates to capture the lived experiences and sociopolitical concerns unique to the region; (2) key informant interviews to further explore unanticipated insights and geopolitical nuances of the region; and (3) resource mapping exercises that will explore the region’s economic ecosystems and disability policies and practices, including a service provider inventory (survey) to help identify gaps in resources and opportunities for capacity building.

The project will culminate in a community-wide informational session to share final investment strategy recommendations to The George Gund Foundation in August 2024.

About the Community Action Research Team

CART members will work with NDI over the course of the year to identify collaborators, research audiences, and event locations, and to guide the development of an investment strategy recommendations report. CART members will have working knowledge and experience of issues related to economic advancement for people with disabilities, including but not limited to employment and workforce participation, small-business development and self-employment, financial education and empowerment, transportation access, affordable housing, banking and capital investment, benefits counseling, healthcare access, legal services, and services to underserved and diverse groups in the region.

CART members will be required to sign an agreement which outlines activities and expectations for the role. CART member organizations will be compensated $2,000 for their participation.

About the George Gund Foundation

The George Gund Foundation is a private nonprofit institution that has been promoting human well-being and progress in the Northeast Ohio Region for over 71 years. Creating vibrant neighborhoods and inclusive economy is one of the program priorities of Foundation. This funding work aligns with priorities for advancing urban economies of the Northeast Ohio region and expanding accessibility and economic self-sufficiency for traditionally underserved communities, including individuals and families living with disabilities.

About National Disability Institute

For 18 years, National Disability Institute (NDI) has provided research, policy, technical assistance and comprehensive training support to public and private, federal, state and local entities to improve outcomes for and the inclusion of individuals with disabilities. NDI is a trusted advisor to the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services, as well as the IRS, FDIC, Treasury and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The organization has successfully assisted a broad range of partners to align policies, resources and services to collaborate and coordinate across systems to foster effective and meaningful participation of people with disabilities in the workforce, and to increase the economic outcomes of people across the spectrum of disability, with special focus on those living at the intersection of disability, race/ethnicity and poverty.

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