AAPD Staff Member
Director of Interfaith Initiative
Ginny Thornburgh has spent the past 40 years as an advocate for people with disabilities. She presently serves at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) as Director of the AAPD Interfaith Initiative, the mission of which is to support people with disabilities and their families as they seek spiritual and religious access.
Previously she served for 19 years as Director of the Religion and Disability Program of the National Organization on Disability. She co-authored and edited the award-winning publication, That All May Worship, now in its seventh printing, and From Barriers to Bridges, a guide to community action, as well as editing Loving Justice: The ADA and the Religious Community.
Ms. Thornburgh is a member of the Board of Trustees of Princeton Theological Seminary and a former member of the American Bar Association Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law. She majored in Philosophy and Religion at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts where she received a four-year scholarship from the Alcoa Foundation. She earned a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University, after which she taught third grade in Lincoln, Massachusetts. She has also been granted 11 honorary degrees.
In 2002, Ginny Thornburgh received the Henri Nouwen Award from the American Association on Mental Retardation and the Distinguished Service Award from Easter Seals. And in 2005, she received the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. From 1988 to 1989, she served as Coordinator, Programs for Persons with Disabilities, at Harvard University where she edited Resources for Persons with Disabilities.
Ms. Thornburgh is married to Dick Thornburgh, the former Governor of Pennsylvania, Attorney General of the United States and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations. In 2003 the Thornburghs were joint recipients of the Henry B. Betts Award presented by AAPD and in 2003 received awards from The Jewish Foundation for Group Homes and the Western Law Center for Disability Rights. They have four sons and six grandchildren, all of whom live in Pennsylvania.
As parents of a son with intellectual and physical disability, Ginny and Dick Thornburgh have worked worldwide to maximize opportunities for persons with disabilities in their communities, jobs, schools and congregations. In 1992, both were featured speakers at the Vatican Conference on Disability and at the Eastern European Conference on Disabilities, held in Prague. They have also made two visits to Korea addressing disability issues.
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AAPD Press Team | 05/24/2013
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AAPD Press Team | 05/16/2013