FISA Foundation invites letters of inquiry by Feb 12, 2021 for programs and services to improve the lives of people with disabilities

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had disproportionate negative consequences for people with disabilities. From concerns about overall health and the allocation of medical resources, to the availability of home and community-based services, to increased vulnerability to violence and abuse, the impact of the pandemic on people with disabilities, their families, and the organizations that support them is significant and far-reaching. These examples are just a few of the myriad ways that the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities.

We have an imperative to build a more inclusive and equitable society where the rights and needs of people with disabilities are prioritized and people with disabilities are advocates and leaders.

In an effort to be responsive to these changing needs, FISA Foundation is issuing an open call for letters of inquiry for projects and services to advance the rights and address the needs of people with disabilities in a ten-county area of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Priority areas of focus:

  • Improving access to healthcare and dental care for people with disabilities
  • Addressing or preventing abuse and violence against people with disabilities
  • Advancing rights in education, employment, housing, and community life, social inclusion, as well as addressing barriers to accessibility
  • Services and supports that address basic needs and/or allow people with disabilities to remain connected to the richness of the community, even while social distancing
  • Initiatives led by people with disabilities and/or designed to empower people with disabilities to participate in effective advocacy and change-making
  • Efforts by disability organization to address racism to better reach and serve people of color with disabilities
  • Intersectional advocacy and movement-building to cultivate cross-disability collaboration and to integrate disability issues into broader justice-seeking work


  • Submit letters of inquiry February 12, 2021
  • Notification of decisions about LOIs and invitations to submit full proposals by March 12, 2021
  • Invited proposals due by April 1, 2021
  • Funding decisions announced mid-June

Types of funding:

Organizations may request funding for:

  • General operating support for programs or services that advance the above-mentioned priorities
  • Ongoing programs or projects
  • Capacity building initiatives, including technology
  • Advocacy
  • Organizational efforts to become more welcoming, inclusive and equitable in serving people of color with disabilities.
  • New and innovative projects or programs

Unfortunately, due to pressing needs related to COVID-19, FISA would be unlikely to consider projects to help arts and culture organizations be more welcoming and inclusive of people with disabilities in this funding opportunity.


Grants will be made to 501(c)(3) organizations, or projects with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor, for services provided in the ten-county region of Southwestern PA.

Award Information:

Total funding available for this funding cycle is $250,000. We expect the average grant size to be under $25,000. Organizations that received funding in the Fall 2020 funding cycle are ineligible for this funding cycle; however, organizations that applied through the Fall LOI process but did not receive funding may apply again. Unfortunately, we are not able to award multi-year funding.


Letters of Inquiry should be 2-3 pages and include a brief overview of the organization, description of the need and the proposed project or program, the expected outcomes of the initiative, the amount of the request and the total budget for the program. Letters should be accompanied by the FISA Grant Application form. (You can also find a Word version of the application here.)

Email letters of inquiry to

Letters of inquiry will be reviewed by a panel of FISA staff and board members.

Criteria will include:

  • Potential of the project to positively impact the lives of people with disabilities
  • Feasibility of the proposed plan (including an option to implement virtually if in-person is not possible due to health recommendations).
  • Cost efficiency


Contact Shani Lasin, Program Officer at

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