Catherine Hyde Townsend

Board President at Women Enabled International

Currently an independent consultant, Catherine Hyde Townsend serves as a disability inclusion advisor to the Ford Foundation, UN agencies, NGOs and other philanthropic organizations. Catherine’s work is grounded in an intersectional approach, understanding that disability inclusion is an integral part of human rights and social justice and cannot be successfully tackled without also addressing gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity and poverty amongst others. She is a thought leader on disability inclusion in philanthropy, speaking with diverse donor audiences and authoring key resources for the field.

From June of 2019 until March of 2020, Catherine served as the Transition Director of the Human Rights Funder Network, guiding it through critical institutional and leadership changes. For more than ten years, she worked at Wellspring Advisors where she launched one of the first grantmaking portfolios focused on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In 2007, Catherine played a lead role in launching the Disability Rights Fund. Best known for her collaborative leadership, Catherine brings a wealth of expertise informed by a participatory approach to leadership. Prior to joining Wellspring, Catherine worked at the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust. She also coordinated programming for the International Human RIghts Funders Group from 2004-2008. Between 1995 and 1999, Catherine worked at JP Morgan in several offices around the world. Catherine holds an M.A. from Yale University focusing on international human rights and law and a B.A. from Hamilton College.

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