Cornell's Employment and Disability Institute Receives $10 Million

Cornell's Employment and Disability Institute Receives $10 Million

Cornell University has announced a $10 million gift from alumna K. Lisa Yang ('74) to its Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) School in support of the school's Employment and Disability Institute.

The largest gift in ILR School history will support the institute's efforts to advance policies and practices that enhance opportunities for people with disabilities and ensure their full inclusion in the workplace and their communities. In recognition of the benefactors, who are the parents of two children with autism, the institute will be renamed the Hock E. Tan and K. Lisa Yang Employment and Disability Institute.

"This [gift] will help EDI develop industry studies, for example, that will enable us to learn more about promising company practices designed to stimulate hiring of people with disabilities," said Susanne Bruyère, director of EDI and ILR associate dean of outreach. "We'll also be able to do more to reach corporate leaders, human resource professionals, policy makers, and people with disabilities globally, using innovative knowledge diffusion approaches that we have not been able to use previously."

A retired investment banker, Yang devotes much of her time to disability and mental health advocacy and serves on the board of the Devereux Foundation, a leading nonprofit behavioral healthcare provider. A member of the ILR School's advisory council, Yang has established scholarships for international students at the school, helped EDI expand its global service-learning program and student involvement in disabilities studies education, and served on the Cornell University Council.

"We need to bring forth a paradigm shift in the corporate world that helps it integrate disability as a form of diversity," said Yang. "People are a company's most valuable resource, and EDI is focused on an important pool of individuals that is already large and growing larger. By marginalizing a major part of the population because of this 'label' called disability, companies short-change themselves."