Ruderman Family Foundation Gives $1 Million Grant To Film Academy To Advance Inclusion Of People With Disabilities

The Ruderman Foundation is one of the nation’s leading advocates for the disabled – and for many years, one of the harshest critics of Hollywood’s portrayal of people with disabilities. EXCLUSIVE: In advance of Sunday’s Oscars, the Ruderman Family Foundation has given a $1 million grant to the Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to advance its diversity and inclusion efforts with respect to people with disabilities.
“It’s crucial to us that the Museum be welcoming and accessible to all, in everything from the services we provide the public to the programs and film screenings we offer. With the help of this generous and far-sighted grant, we are advancing toward that goal.” “We are grateful to the Ruderman Family Foundation for making the Academy Museum a part of its indispensable mission of promoting inclusion, visibility, and accurate representation of people with disabilities,” said Bill Kramer, the director and president of the Academy Museum.
“The Ruderman Family Foundation’s generous support will help continue and expand important Academy initiatives aimed at increasing inclusion of people with disabilities throughout the filmmaking industry,” said Christine Simmons, the Academy’s chief operating officer. “By working together, we can create more opportunities to amplify the voices of people with disabilities, share their stories and increase inclusion both in front of and behind the camera.”
The $1 million grant marks the latest partnership between the Ruderman Foundation and the Academy, which includes its support for the Gold Rising program to ensure that aspiring young filmmakers with disabilities and from other diverse communities are afforded opportunities in the entertainment industry, and support for the Academy’s many public programs.
Last September, when the Academy issued new inclusion standards for Oscar eligibility in the Best Picture category, people with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing, were included in seven different qualifying categories.
NBCUniversal has adopted the its guidelines to open auditions to actors with disabilities for each of its new film and television productions, and CBS Entertainment has made a similar commitment.” /> In recent years, the Ruderman Foundation has campaigned to bring about greater inclusion and authentic representation in Hollywood.
“We are proud to commit $1 million to spark progress toward the goal of creating a more inclusive landscape in entertainment that champions diversity in all its forms, including people with disabilities,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the foundation. “This ambitious partnership promises to move Hollywood a significant step closer to the day when authentic representation and ample opportunities for actors with disabilities are the industry norms.”
The content will include public programs and a regular film screening series of works made by and about people with disabilities or which document the perspectives of those living with disabilities. Content and accessibility services will be funded at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is scheduled to open in September. The museum’s accessibility offerings will include year-round programs and visitor experiences to ensure participation from visitors of all abilities, including an American Sign Language tour on the museum app, and increased accessibility to the museum’s website and mobile app.
These include inclusion and accessibility initiatives at the new Academy Museum; support for an Academy Film Archive cataloging project for scholars and researchers; and additional funding for the Academy Gold Rising, an internship program for college-age students and emerging professionals from communities underrepresented in the film industry. The grant will support three main avenues of diversity and inclusion across the Academy's activities, programming and educational services.

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