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2021 COVID-19 Resiliency Efforts Microgrant Grantees

Hi, my name is Sasha Ponappa and I am with CSD Unites Community Foundation (UCF). We are thrilled to share who will be the recipients of our COVID-19 Emergency Response microgrant. This is the second time we are awarding microgrants because we recognize the significant impact and the layers of impact that COVID-19 pandemic has had on our deaf communities. We received many applications with various heartfelt requests. Thanks to you and the community support by spreading the word and donating to our campaign, we were able to fund six organizations and provide more than last year. Thank you! Through this process, our team identified three key areas that we felt is essential to support:
1. Deaf refugees who have moved to the United States from other countries and are navigating the pandemic
2. Direct financial support and mutual aid to deaf community members
3. Increase access to information and resources, such as: vaccine registration process or access to educational materials.
Are you curious to know who we selected? Check them out:

· DeafHope, California
· Deaf Refugee Advocacy, New York
· Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Michigan
· DeafCAN!- Christ the King Deaf Church, Pennsylvania
· Partnerships for Families, Children and Adults, Tennessee
· Northwest School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, Washington]

Congratulations and we look forward to supporting these organizations and the phenomenal work they do. Stay tuned for updates when we spotlight these organizations.

Image Description:
Sasha Ponappa (she/her/hers) is a brown woman with shoulder-length, straight, dark brown hair and she is wearing a short-sleeved salmon color shirt with the logo for CSD Unites Community Foundation on it (ASL for “community”). There is a black and white wall art, next to Sasha, with plants resting on top of the art.

The CSD Unites Community Foundation is pleased to announce its cohort for the COVID-19 Resiliency Efforts Microgrant. These six organizations have long histories of supporting their deaf communities, and have been working particularly hard to provide additional, crucial supports in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to see the list of grantees, and stay tuned for our future spotlight posts, where we’ll take a closer look at the work each group is doing.


Oakland, CA 

DeafHope’s mission is to end domestic and sexual violence in Deaf communities through empowerment, education and services. The microgrant will go toward their Ensuring Survivors’ Safety Through Economic Security (ESSTES) project, which will provide financial support to Deaf survivors, particularly those from marginalized communities. Economic insecurity is often a barrier in pursuing safety, healing and justice, and these funds are much needed for those who are experiencing higher rates of economic insecurity due to the pandemic.

Deaf Refugee Advocacy

Rochester, NY

Deaf Refugee Advocacy (DRA) works to support Deaf New Americans, those who’ve migrated to the US as refugees, and recognizes that the unique intersection between these identities requires specialized resources, opportunities, and supports. Funding will aid the development of film and web outreach materials to connect with Deaf New Americans, and to support those families with obtaining internet access to attend virtual learning during the pandemic.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

Kentwood, MI

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services has been awarded a microgrant to help ensure accessible distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, by providing support through the vaccine registration process in Kent County. Web and phone registration processes can be confusing and inaccessible, so this project seeks to eliminate barriers to vaccination for the D/HH community.

DeafCAN! – Christ the King Deaf Church

Westchester, PA

DeafCAN! (Deaf Community Action Network) is a nondenominational program that supports Deaf, DeafBlind, Late-Deafened, Hard of Hearing individuals and their families living in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Their microgrant funding will work to support a large Deaf Bhutanese population which has struggled with isolation and misinformation during the pandemic. Specifically, they plan to hire a full-time Nepali Sign Language (NSL)/ASL interpreter, and ensure that primary care, hospitals, and health centers are educated in the provision of NSL/ASL interpreting teams. They will also work to educate D/HH refugees and immigrants about the vaccine and support them in the registration process.

Partnership for Families, Children and Adults

Chattanooga, TN

The Partnership for Families, Children and Adults’ D/HH Program is a central resource center that works to serve the diverse needs of the Deaf community through a variety of supports. This microgrant will be used for direct assistance in the Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia area to provide rent, utilities, food, medication, gas and transportation assistance for community members in need who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children

Shoreline, WA

The Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children (NWSDHH), the only school for D/HH children in the region, will use their microgrant to expand existing services to Spanish-speaking students and their families who face multiple layers of barriers in pursuit of educational equity, especially in the light of the pandemic. This project will improve inclusion and communication with families of Spanish-speaking students via more robust translation programming, and develop targeted tools for literacy skill development for NWSDHH’s Spanish-speaking population.

Your Support Matters

The Foundation offers our sincere gratitude to the many people who made these microgrants possible.

The Foundation’s funding opportunity would not have been possible without the contributions and support of our community members. Thank you for believing in our vision.

Avi Haimowitz
Director of Development and Fundraising

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Deaf Organizations Fund, formerly known as CSD Unites Community Foundation, is fiscally sponsored by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD).
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