Ruderman-inclusion-2016

On Dec. 5, The Ruderman Family Foundation announced the winners for its 2016 Ruderman Prize in Inclusion, which honors innovative organizations that work to advance full inclusion of people with disabilities. Chosen from an international field, the five winners, including two from the United States — AXS Labs and Media Access Awards — received grants of $50,000 each to help continue and grow their respective programs.

Founded by Jason DaSilva in New York City, AXS Labs, which operates a number of programs, including filmmaking and storytelling, was honored for its work with AXS Map, an online mapping system. The ever-growing database seeks to improve community accessibility for people with disabilities by allowing users to access, provide, and rate accessibility information for businesses and locations throughout the world. Future plans include AXS Map Discovery, which the Ruderman Foundation describes as “the first-of-its-kind accessibility tool that features pioneering technology as solutions to make the lives of people with disabilities easier by using virtual and augmented reality.”

The Media Access Awards, a yearly awards ceremony, recognizes accurate and varied representations of disability in Hollywood. Allen Rucker, co-chair of the MAA, hopes to use the grant to expand the organization’s reach. “I’d like to turn it into a Hollywood institution,” he says. Rucker wants to upgrade the MAA’s website to provide better access for those with hearing and vision impairments, as well as turn it into a year-round news network. “We want to keep the issue

[of disability representation] out there, keep people talking about it. The go-to place for anyone who wants to know about disability in Hollywood.”

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, stated, “This year’s Ruderman Prize in Inclusion awardees represent the innovation and ingenuity taking place around the globe that is leading us to a more inclusive world.”

Rounding out the list of 2016 winners were:

  • Egalite, for advancing employment of people with disabilities in Brazil.
  • The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, located in Jerusalem, for creating a course dedicated to inclusion design.
  • Solzialhelden, a German organization, runs projects designed to change how people with disabilities are viewed.