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2022 Social Impact Report

A Shift in Focus to Capacity Building

Our Mission

Strengthening organizations working with deaf communities.

Our Vision

A future in which deaf communities have access to a wide array of services provided by thriving, well-resourced organizations.

Note From Our Executive Director

Working with deaf-centric nonprofits is a humbling experience. Through the past year, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with many of these organizations and learning about their struggles and triumphs. While the vision and services of each vary a great deal, one experience is shared by all: the nonprofit sector is not accessible. Grant opportunities are complex and competitive, and accommodations are often unavailable for trainings and other resources.

As the Foundation transitioned to our current theme of capacity building – addressing deaf organizations’ basic needs – we’ve also shifted our fundraising focus to growing the Deaf Organizations Fund. Supporting this fund is an investment not only in this Foundation, but in the strength and future of deaf-centric nonprofits everywhere.

Together, we can and must make grants and nonprofit resources accessible. Please read on to learn more, and I hope you’ll consider joining this collective effort.

Redefining the Organization's Focus

The pandemic continued its far-reaching impact on all communities this past year. Concurrently, the Organization recognized the need to broaden our focus beyond emergent funding for deaf-centric organizations affected by COVID-19. We pivoted to a model that addresses these nonprofits’ need for access to less restricted funding.


requests for funding




in total grants

In January 2022, we disbursed our third round of grants; our first cycle under the umbrella of Capacity Building. This new grant program offered deaf nonprofits the opportunity to bridge their operational gaps, from human resources to physical infrastructure to professional development, empowering them to focus on their actual programming and service delivery!

2022 Capacity Building Grantees

Deaf Queer Resource Center

Developed and implemented strategic plan to raise funds supporting service expansion for Deaf LGBTQ communities.

Indiana Association of the Deaf

Partnered with local community members to establish Support Service Provider – CoNavigator pilot program for DeafBlind Indiana residents.

Off-The-Grid Missions

Unrestricted funds that enabled the provision of emergency relief and lifesaving resources to disasters affecting deaf communities worldwide. 

Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf

Updated branding and website; expansion of programs to address suicide prevention and LGBTQ+ support needs.

Turtle Island Hand Talk

Obtained 501(c)3 nonprofit status; developed website including the provision of educational materials for Indigenous Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind, CODA, and Hearing people.

What's Next

The Foundation’s second Capacity Building Grant opportunity was released October 2022, with award announcements planned for January 2023.


requests for funding


of requests from orgs operating on < $100K annual budgets


set aside for 2023, plus more with your support

We Asked

We asked applicants to optionally share challenges they’ve faced when accessing funding opportunities (including our own), and to tell us what kind of resources would be useful beyond dollars alone.
We find it challenging that people don’t understand the importance of having deaf people working with other deaf people to realize their potential. Simply providing interpreters is insufficient. Thus, [when] we are seeking funding, often [funders] assume that the community already offers many of the services we are offering and that all that is needed are interpreters.
…This is the first time I have taken on a role in this capacity. It is a great responsibility and I do the work of 4 people for not a lot of money, but this is a passion of mine. If there was a resource, training, or opportunities to develop professionally and personally as an Executive, that would be fantastic.
We often struggle to find foundations and grant opportunities that understand the needs of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing communities and the importance of having accessible services. Having a foundation like [CSD Unites Community Foundation] that understands the needs of these communities and the importance of communication access is a great opportunity!

CSD's Role

Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD) is a social impact organization with nearly five decades of experience developing and providing accessible services that advance social outcomes for deaf people. In January 2021, CSD’s CEO Christopher Soukup along with the CSD Board of Directors made a $1M investment establishing CSD Unites Community Foundation. The goal was to begin addressing the many barriers to resources faced by nonprofits serving deaf people.

Deaf Organizations Fund

Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD) is a social impact organization with nearly five decades of experience developing and providing accessible services that advance social outcomes for deaf people. In January 2021, CSD’s CEO Christopher Soukup along with the CSD Board of Directors made a $1M investment establishing CSD Unites Community Foundation. The goal was to begin addressing the many barriers to resources faced by nonprofits serving deaf people.

CSD’s initial investment in the creation of our Foundation is now called the Deaf Organizations Fund. This money, which ultimately grows through market fluctuations, generates interest. The Foundation can withdraw a percentage of this interest annually to support the following:
  • Capacity Building Grant, 
  • Additional resources we’re currently developing to support deaf-centric nonprofits, and 
  • Foundation operations when needed.
Donations to the Deaf Organizations Fund are an investment in the Foundation and our ability to support multiple deaf-centric nonprofits nationwide. Watch our video for a visual explanation of this fund.

Looking Ahead

We’re so grateful to our fledgling community of donors and supporters, and humbled by the work of this year’s Capacity Building Grant recipients. The experiences and input shared by leaders of deaf-centric organizations continue to shape the evolution of the Foundation’s programs and resources. What will remain constant, however, is our commitment to inclusion: challenging ourselves and the ways in which philanthropy is made accessible to organizations designed to serve deaf and disabled communities. Our team is incredibly excited to unveil our next capacity building resource for deaf-centric nonprofits in 2023.

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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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