An open forum for philanthropic organisations to exchange, learn and connect about any issue related to disability with an eye to mainstreaming disability within their work and programmes.

Focus areas

  • Building inclusive communities:
    Sharing knowledge and good practices on innovative and scalable solutions; deinstitutionalisation; inclusive housing; independent living

  • Enabling social equality and justice:
    Mainstreaming disability with other priorities in philanthropic work; UN CRPD implementation; disability as a human right; training for legal operators; employment and protection from austerity; inclusive education; gender and other multiple discriminations

  • Empowering through access to leisure and culture:
    Using culture as a tool for active participation in society, accessible tourism, access to sport


In addition to partnership building, convening and knowledge sharing, the network specifically engages in the following activities:
  • Creating unique and innovative models of collaboration:
    The League of Historical and Accessible Cities: (LHAC) has created accessible tourist routes in 6 European cities and promotes an innovative model of collaboration aimed at solving the issue of protecting heritage and ensuring accessibility for all.
  • Identifying and disseminating the most innovative practices worldwide:
    The Zero Project - An annual project run by the ESSL Foundation which monitors the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities worldwide
  • Building capacity to make sure the UN CRPD is well applied and understood on the ground; breathing life and vigour into the application of the Convention; making a distinctive contribution; and mobilising the foundation sector to play a catalytic role to ensure that European governments and other relevant stakeholders commit to and support both ratification and implementation of the Convention:
    Seminars to train legal professionals on the UN CRPD are organised in collaboration with the Academy of European Law (ERA) and the European Disability Forum (EDF)
  • Providing the sector with data through studies and publications

  • “Nothing about us without us”:
    Connecting foundations with stakeholders in the field


Essl Foundation
Fondazione Banca del Monte di Lucca
Fundación Once
Karuna Foundation
King Baudouin Foundation
Light for the World
Sabanci Foundation 

Network background

Since the mid-1990s, EFC member Fundación ONCE has worked with the EFC on an array of projects and programmes revolving around the area of disabilities. The DTN emerged from this engagement and has become more and more active over the years, especially after the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force on 3 May 2008. In 2009 the European Consortium of Foundations on Human Rights and Disabilities was created under the DTN to encourage ratification of the Convention. The work of the Consortium has now been merged into the overall activities of the DTN. The network’s members have also increased their engagement on a European level with their input into the Disability Policy Agenda - collaborating with an array of stakeholders - and the DTN has focused more on incubating philanthropic organisations’ pilot projects that can be scaled up or replicated.

Past projects

AGORA+D: A platform established in the framework of the European Network for Corporate Social Responsibility and Disability aiming to foster debate, peer learning and best practice exchange on social innovation and social entrepreneurship among funders and other stakeholders.



The Disability Thematic Network (DTN) is part of the EFC’s ongoing commitment to enhancing collaboration and connecting its members. For more information on the EFC’s seven key priorities, please download the EFC Strategic Framework 2016-2022