Mary Lou Breslin


Disability Policy Analyst and Educator

Mary Lou Breslin co-founded the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), a national disability rights law and policy center established in 1979. She has served as DREDF’s deputy and executive director, and president and chair of the board of directors. She spearheaded the organization’s leadership in the enactment of such landmark legislation as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Fair Housing Amendments Act, and the Civil Rights Restoration Act. In 1993 she founded the DREDF Development Partnership, a corporation dedicated to supporting and securing DREDF’s programs. During her career she has consulted, trained and lectured on diverse disability and related civil rights topics including working in Russia, Japan and Bosnia with disability rights leaders to devise strategies to further the rights of individuals with disabilities in those countries.

Mary Lou is an adjunct faculty member with the University of San Francisco (USF), McLaren School of Business, Executive Master of Management and Disability Services program. She serves as editor and researcher with the Disabled Persons Independence Project of the Regional Oral History Office of the Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, and senior policy advisor with DREDF. She also works as a consultant. Mary Lou received a Mary E. Switzer Merit Fellowship in 1995 and the Henry B. Betts Award in 2002.