Marca Bristo, founder of Access Living, helped shape MacArthur’s thinking around disability inclusion on 100&Change and several Foundation initiatives.
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our colleague Marca Bristo, founder of Access Living, a Chicago-based organization focused on igniting disability power and pride and breaking down systemic barriers to create a stronger, more inclusive society. Over the past several years, Bristo played a critical role in helping to shape the thinking around disability inclusion within various Foundation initiatives.
Bristo’s contributions to 100&Change were many and varied. Our formal relationship began, as she states in this Perspectives piece: Nothing About Us Without Us, over lunch with MacArthur’s former President Julia Stasch, and soon Bristo became a critical voice in our competition process. Bristo was one of two advisors who provided applicant feedback, challenged assumptions, and guided our team to be intentional about disability inclusion. She developed the Accessibility and Inclusion Checklist to help us better assess gaps in applicant proposals. These assessments helped to push organizations to broaden their thinking, planning, and programming to ensure disability inclusion at all levels of work. After the inaugural round of 100&Change concluded, Bristo partnered with Susan Sygall of Mobility International to create the webinar Strategies for Disability Inclusion: Utilizing a Human Rights Framework. The webinar provides an opportunity for applicants and nonprofit leaders to better understand the global frameworks for disability inclusion and ways their organizations could make meaningful changes in order to ensure more inclusive practices.
Marca was a passionate leader who compelled our team to create a more inclusive initiative. Her knowledge, partnership, and willingness to meet us where we were on our journey was deeply appreciated. In every interaction, she nudged us to do more, think bigger, and to be better. She will be missed.