The CSD Unites Community Foundation, a division of Communication Service for the Deaf, is seeking foundation leaders to collaborate with on efforts to strengthen and support deaf communities across the country. The Foundation, one of the nation’s only deaf-led grant providers, aims to work with like-minded community foundations committed to disability justice. This involves ensuring funding processes are accessible for deaf organizational leaders and providing direct access to funding opportunities in multiple languages, including American Sign Language.
“Despite the thousands of philanthropies and grant providers available, many are not accessible to deaf communities.” said the Foundation’s newly appointed Executive Director, Sasha Ponappa. “Unlike nondisabled leaders, deaf leaders have to fight a frequently losing battle for language access to opportunities like grant applications, training, and networking. They’re forced to choose between accessing funds to grow their organizations or focusing on the survival needs of their staff and programs. It’s a hard choice to make.”
The Foundation believes in a future where deaf communities have access to a wide array of services provided by thriving, well-resourced organizations. Organizations that choose to partner with CSD Unites Community Foundation benefit from a team of staff dedicated to ensuring their experience in applying for, receiving, and using grant funds is as seamless as possible.
The Foundation is currently accepting Capacity Building grant applications from nonprofit organizations that support deaf communities. This opportunity offers grant recipients up to $25,000 to strengthen their organizations’ capacity and support long-term sustainability. This year, the Foundation was able to set aside $100,000 to contribute to the grant.
Applicants benefit from joining a unique network of nonprofit organizations, all striving to advocate for their respective deaf communities. In an unprecedented push for raising accessibility standards, organizations may submit their applications in American Sign Language, English, or Spanish.
“The Foundation’s funding is enabling us to expand our outreach so that a greater number of people are able to benefit from our services and expertise and to share and celebrate Deaf and hard-of-hearing New Americans’ unique experiences, rich culture, and resiliency,” said Diana Pryntz, Executive Director of Deaf Refugee Advocacy and recent grant recipient.
To continue supporting nonprofits serving deaf communities, the Foundation accepts donations year-round. Funding for the Foundation’s grants come from a combination of donations from community members, contributions from CSD’s own Employee Giving program, and the Foundation’s growing Endowment Fund. Those who are unable to donate money are encouraged to share and raise awareness about the Foundation’s efforts with their friends and families.