Catherine Hyde Townsend

Board President at Women Enabled International

Catherine is a recognized thought leader on disability inclusion and rights. She serves as a consultant and trusted advisor to private donors, NGOs, and UN agencies with a focus on gender, and intersectional identities. She currently serves as the Senior Advisor for Disability Inclusion at the Ford Foundation where she leads inclusive grantmaking, leadership and learning.

As a mother of two teens, a former triathlete and disabled woman, she connects a wealth of professional expertise to powerful story telling. She has an intimate understanding of disability-inclusive development, human rights advocacy, and funding mechanisms to support disability-led organizations. Catherine has proven success in strengthening disability cultural competence and accelerating disability inclusion. She has an intimate understanding of women, girls and non-binary people with disabilities and advocacy to address gender-based violence and reproductive health and justice. In both the US and abroad, she’s been a leading voice, championing the importance of disability mainstreaming.

From 2006 until 2017, Catherine served as a Senior Program Officer at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund where she partnered closely with activists to develop the first grantmaking portfolio focused on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She also helped launch the Disability Rights Fund, a participatory fund, where she served as co-chair of the Board for more than a decade. She has been a member of WEI’s Board since 2018.

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