Mike LeDonne: Founder
Mike LeDonne is a world renowned jazz pianist and Hammond organist. Oscar Peterson named him as one of his favorite pianists of this era. Since moving to New York City in 1978 he has worked with a wide spectrum of Jazz greats from Benny Goodman to Sonny Rollins, Bobby Hutcherson and many others. He spent 11 years as pianist and musical director for vibes legend Milt Jackson, and has been working with Benny Golson since 1997. He was nominated for “Best Keyboards” 2012 by the Jazz Journalists Association and won the Downbeat Critic’s Poll as “Rising Star” on organ that same year. Mike’s on over 100 recordings and has 18 out under his own name. He also spent 4 years on the faculty at Juilliard. He left Juilliard to continue playing, recording and touring around the world.
On Valentines Day 2004, Mike and his wife, Margaret, had a daughter – Mary. She was born with a very rare syndrome called Prader-Willi and was also diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Through her, Mike and Margaret started to learn what life is like for a person with disabilities. They began to see the misperceptions and injustices surrounding this group of people. In 2012, through his love for his daughter, Mike started the wheels in motion towards creating Disability Pride Day in New York City, which would be an annual event like any other ethnic parade in the city. After 4 years of hard work and dedication, Disability Pride NYC is up and running as a bonafide non profit organization, and the first parade will take place on July 12 2015, which is also the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA.
Elisabeth Axel: Chair of the Entertainment Committee for the parade
Mary Kaessinger: Secretary