About Us

Picture of Hurricane Maria Response

Portlight Strategies, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1997 to facilitate a variety of projects involving people with disabilities, including post-disaster relief work. Portlight’s longest running disaster recovery effort followed the devastation of Superstorm Sandy in the shore communities of New Jersey and parts of New York City, and lasted for 18 months. During that time, we replaced lost durable medical equipment and ramping, and assisted residents in purchasing and installing accessibility equipment that was made necessary after their homes were elevated to meet federal flood insurance requirements.

Through ongoing programs like our Getting It Right conferences, we are working to promote self-determination of needs and issues with respect to disaster preparedness and response. We foster community relationships with these agencies to promote inclusiveness in disaster preparedness and response plans and to demand provisions for transportation and shelter accessibility.

The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

The Partnership is a coalition of local, national and global disability rights, emergency management, public health and community leaders and allies committed to equal access and whole community inclusion before, during and after disasters. The Partnership was founded in 2016 by Portlight Strategies, Inc. our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. Our founders and members have a strong track record of protecting and advancing the rights of people with disabilities (26% of the US population) and over one billion people with disabilities across the globe. We have been leading humanitarian response and relief initiatives to meet the disability accessibility needs of disaster-impacted individuals throughout catastrophic disasters and humanitarian response and relief for over twenty years.

The Partnership was founded to focus on disability inclusive emergency management community organizing, policy, advocacy and training. We work collaboratively with Portlight, our members and partners to lead change, navigate complex systems and eliminate barriers to equal access to emergency and disaster programs and services for people with disabilities.

Our coalition focuses on the access and functional needs of countless people who are disproportionately impacted in disasters due to inadequate planning, preparedness and accessibility. This includes people who may require assistance, accommodation or modification due to any situation (temporary or permanent) that limits their ability to take action in an emergency.

In addition to people with disabilities, this includes people who are marginalized, stigmatized or excluded, older adults, individuals with limited language proficiency, low literacy, temporary and chronic health conditions, pregnant women and people experiencing homelessness, limited access to transportation or the financial resources to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster.

Globally, we bring our expertise and leadership to disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, human rights, humanitarian action, strategic development, and resilient community initiatives.

Our US members lead disability rights initiatives in every congressional district and virtually every community across the country.

Our core values of equal access, inclusion and independence continually guide our work towards a future where community readiness is achieved and sustained for everyone through a shared and unwavering commitment to accessibility, universal design and reasonable accommodation before, during and after disasters.

This includes equal access and full inclusion throughout planning, exercises, alerts, notification, evacuation, transportation, sheltering, health maintenance, medical care and temporary housing.

This also includes maintaining a full commitment to equal access, inclusion and independence as disaster impacted people return home, to school, work and their community and it carries on throughout recovery and mitigation initiatives, led by the active and knowledgeable leadership of people with disabilities and fully informed by the community as a whole.

Experience has shown us that these values of access, inclusion and independence are imperatives for achieving and sustaining community-wide disaster resilience.