CSD Unites Community Foundation Seeking New Partners to Support Multiply Marginalized Deaf Communities

The Foundation invests in the critical, necessary work being done by nonprofits serving deaf communities, and envisions collaborating with other funders to ensure grant-making is accessible for all.

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.

Sasha Ponappa

Sasha Ponappa

Executive Director, CSD Unites Community Foundation

“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.

Sasha Ponappa

“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.

The deadline for organizations to submit their applications is October 6, 2021, at 11:59pm CST.

Learn more about the Capacity Building Grant and the application process: