Contact: Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Washington, DC. Laszlo Strategies is proud to announce an eight week summer fellowship program in Washington for three outstanding future leaders. Laszlo Strategies is a strategic communications firm which specializes in helping non-profit groups that champion the causes of medical science and people with disabilities. This includes working for rights, services and solutions for both children and adults.
Laszlo Strategies embodies a commitment to ensure that all people, regardless of their differences, have the opportunity to live in dignity and with happiness. Fellows, who will work directly with Laszlo Strategies’ Founder & President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, must exhibit leadership skills to follow through on their own projects following their training.
Fellows will work on at least one of the following projects:
1. Build a grassroots network and political infrastructure so that the next President of the United States (and every one after him/her) will make the rights and opportunities for people with disabilities a significant part of their campaign, platform and Presidency. This non-partisan work will reach out equally to all the major candidates from the different political parties. We want the White House to harness the energy and strength of the public, private, non-profit and religious sectors towards equal opportunities for people with disabilities. This will mean setting up a campaign “scorecard” of issues that candidates will need to respond to on disability issues, applying to foundations for funding for significant public opinion research to see what messages/issues will work, setting up and doing meetings with reporters and with leaders on Capitol Hill, etc. Fellows will help organize events on Capitol Hill to help educate on these topics, which will likely be covered by CSPAN and others. Work will be done with a coalition of national non-profits devoted to helping people with disabilities.
2. Encourage religious institutions to become inclusive of serving people with disabilities. Because of “separation of church and state” and unfortunate ADA specific exemptions for religious institutions, many religious institutions currently duck following the letter and spirit of ADA laws and discriminate heavily against including people with disabilities. This widespread practice must stop as religious schools, camps, institutions and places of worship should be inclusive of people with disabilities through their attitudes and accommodations. We will accomplish this through both carrots and sticks. The “stick” will be to work to get at least 2 dozen non-profit groups that support rights for people with disabilities to co-sign a letter that we will send to foundations asking them to deny applications for funding from religious institutions that continue to discriminate against serving people with disabilities. We will do extensive press outreach on the fact that we are asking funders to stop funding religious institutions that discriminate against people based on their disabilities. We will also expose high level religious institutions that systematically deny services to people with disabilities. The “carrot” will be training programs for religious institutions on how they can be inclusive of people with disabilities. The Mizrahi Family Charitable Trust has already sponsored one national conference on this topic (see http://laszlostrategies.com/index.php/sub-press/152-opening-abraham-s-tent-the-disability-inclusion-initiative-online-webinar), and a second conference on how to do inclusion will be held on May 2nd in Washington, DC. To get a sense of preliminary thinking in this area, see opeds published by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi here:
3. Support policies and practices that will enhance employment prospects for people with disabilities. Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi has published three opeds on this topic already, and plans to be very active in this space. We are working with several Hill and other leaders on this topic. See the following to get a sense of the issues:
4. Support breakthrough medical science to find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Autism. Caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease will cost the United States 20 trillion dollars in today’s dollars during the next 40 years, the overwhelming majority of which will be paid by Medicare and Medicaid. More than 1 in 3 likely voters have a loved one with Alzheimer’s; 60% of likely voters fear a loved one will develop it. Every 68 seconds another American develops Alzheimer’s, with as many as 10 million baby boomers developing the disease in their lifetime. Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America currently without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. According to the CDC, 1 in 88 American children are on the Autism spectrum. The time to make medical research a top priority is now. For thinking on this topic, see:
Applicants must have completed at least their sophomore year of college and be committed to making the world a better place through the causes we champion. Excellent communications and organizational skills are required. Fellows must be creative, results-driven and open minded as we are working to leapfrog ahead of the partisan politics of gridlock and finger-pointing in order to achieve breakthrough results. We will work to make government and institutions work better and cost less, while empowering smart solutions to create a better future. There is no tuition cost to do the fellowship, and fellows will be awarded $500 at the completion of their fellowship which will include significant training opportunities. The fellowship will take place in Washington, D.C.
Your cover letter must explain why this fellowship in particular is of interest to you, and which of the areas outlined areas above you want to focus on, and why. You must also discuss in your cover letter why you believe that you have the skills, focus and independent drive to make a positive difference in your eight weeks while working with Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi.