• Sep - 27 - 2021


Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation Gifts $210,000 for Committee to Accomplish Significant Goals

WASHINGTON, DC (September 27, 2020) – To inspire further philanthropic support from other donors who also are passionate about the mission of the FDR Memorial Legacy Committee (FDR Committee), the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation committed to providing $210,000 as a donation match gift. The FDR Committee met the first goal of raising $100,000 by May 2020 through large and small contributions and received the Foundation's matching funds.  The remaining $110,000 was raised by July 31, 2021, and matched by the Gund Foundation. 

"I am proud that my investment in the FDR Committee helped launch this citizen-led advocacy organization that is successfully telling the powerful story of FDR and his disability and the fight for disability representation at the FDR Memorial," said Gordon Gund, Trustee of the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation. 

The FDR Memorial in Washington, DC, was dedicated in 1997 to pay tribute to our longest serving President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Visitors now experience a seamlessly constructed memorial; however, representation of FDR's disability was not included in the initial design. The first room – Prologue – which holds the statue of FDR in a wheelchair by famed sculptor and artist Robert Graham and a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt - was not added until four years after the initial opening of the Memorial.

The mission of the FDR Committee is to document, preserve, and share the leadership and legacy of the disability community's campaign for disability representation at the FDR Memorial in DC, expand the understanding of the centrality of disability to FDR's leadership, and promote education and awareness of other under-represented narratives related to FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt and their times. There are three areas of focus:

  1. Education - develop an education program for the FDR Memorial, starting with the history of the disability community's fight for representation at the FDR Memorial.
  2. Inclusion - ensure that the FDR Memorial is a model of accessibility for all people.
  3. Preservation - protect the FDR Memorial for future generations.

With the contributions from the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation, the FDR Committee prioritized the development of an educational program, starting with the campaign led by the disability community to add the depiction of FDR in a wheelchair and the impact of disability on FDR's leadership. To date, eight educational events have hosted over 300 participants.  A teacher professional development workshop has been developed in partnership with the University of the District of Columbia and launched in summer 2021.  On July 25, 2021, a  ceremonial wreath-laying was held at the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC, in honor of the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with guest speakers Senator Tammy Duckworth and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton as featured speakers.

The FDR Committee continues to press for full inclusion at the FDR Memorial and long-overdue accessibility improvements. In May, they released a report, completed by Dr. Cheryl Fogle-Hatch, founder of MuseumSenses, that outlines the deficiencies ranging from the inaccurate Braille that has been a topic of conversation since 1997 to the safety concerns with removable stanchions around the fountains. "Cultural sites like the FDR Memorial do not reach their intended goals unless they are accessible to everyone," said Gund. "Accessibility is required by law. And those laws are in place thanks to long-fought battles by the disability community."

The FDR Committee thanks the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation and our donors for making the match possible. A complete list of donors can be found at