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Ability Central Awards Grants to 13 Organizations Working with Deaf and Disabled Communities

More than a million dollars awarded for tech innovation and accessible training

Oakland, California – December 20, 2022 – Ability Central, the only foundation exclusively funding communications access for people with disabilities, has awarded $1.03 million to 13 nonprofit organizations in California working to expand communications access for Deaf, disabled, and neurodiverse communities. The grants will support programs that focus on emerging technologies for accessibility solutions and communications training for professionals to create inclusive environments for their clients with disabilities.

“When people with disabilities can fully express themselves, it can transform their education, employment, and independence,” says Matt Cherry, director of philanthropy at Ability Central. “We are proud to partner with these dedicated organizations as they empower people to access their fundamental right to communicate.”

To be eligible for a grant from Ability Central, an organization must operate within California, and work to expand communication access for those who are Deaf, disabled, or neurodiverse. Funded projects work on communication access either through direct services or with programs supporting technology or research for these communities. Grants range from $10,000 to $100,000 with more than $1 million awarded annually. Applications for the next round of grants open in the summer of 2023.

The following projects received grant funding from Ability Central for 2023:

The Bridge School, Hillsborough | $91,000

Improving the Outcomes of Children with Cortical Visual Impairment who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

To continue development and documentation of the impact of upright, self-initiated mobility walkers, promote C-BiLLT (a tool to assess receptive language of children who are non-speaking), improve AAC systems, and influence research and practice.

Center for Innovation & Resources, Cotati | $94,000

Access to Improved Services for Survivors with Disabilities Project

To train a statewide cadre of responsive trainers supporting service providers in improving both access and direct services to victims with disabilities.

CSU East Bay, Oakland | $60,000

SPEAK: Supporting mental health Providers by Elevating Aphasia Knowledge

To develop materials to improve the communication skills and confidence of mental health professionals during interactions with individuals with aphasia.

Disability Voices United, Manhattan Beach, CA | $86,710

Leading with Lived Experience: Self-Advocates Train-the-Trainer Project

To create a train-the-trainer project that develops self-advocates with communication disabilities into leaders who can train professionals in areas where communication access and inclusion is vital.

Down Syndrome Connection Bay Area, Danville | $100,000

Mental Health and Wellness Alliance

To implement the next phase of Mental Health & Wellness Alliance, to provide training and support of mental health professionals, enabling people with Down Syndrome and other intellectual or developmental disabilities to better access services, communicate their mental health needs, and receive effective therapies.

IGNITE, Mammoth Lakes | $58,414

Human-Centered Accessibility

To develop, present, and maintain 12 online train-the-trainer workshops focused on creating materials that are accessible to people with disabilities, including people who use AAC.

Kidpower, Monterey County | $100,000

Safety Powers Leadership and Advocacy “Train the Trainers” Project

To develop and provide train-the-trainer programs that will prepare over 400 Safety Powers Leaders and Safety Ambassadors in California to teach personal safety, leadership, and advocacy skills with and for people with communication disabilities in their families, schools, organizations, and workplaces.

Noah Homes, Spring Valley | $75,000

Noah Homes Training Institute for Excellence

To provide state-of-the-art training classes to hundreds of care providers of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, enhancing communication and overall health and well-being.

Painted Brain, Los Angeles | $94,000

Disability Cultural Competency Development Project

To provide a hybrid in-person and virtual training model for mental health providers serving people with disabilities.

Peerbots, Mammoth Lakes | $15,000

Peerbots Marketplace

To develop the open source “Peerbots Content Marketplace,” an online portal that allows people to access and organize integrated, original content for use with the Peerbots application.

San Diego Pride, San Diego | $90,000

San Diego Pride’s Accessibility Program

To develop the accessibility program, ensuring the program is led by LGBTQ+ people living with disabilities, making year-round programs accessible, and providing culturally specific accessibility to diverse communities.

San Francisco State University – YouDescribe, San Francisco | $99,836

Scaling Up Video Description Efforts for Nonvisual Accessibility with Innovative AI Tools

To support a collaborative SFSU and Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute team to finalize the AI-supported video accessibility tool, YouDescribeX, deploy and launch public-facing services.

Society for the Blind, Sacramento | $65,425

Braille Transcription and Production Training Project

To provide a Braille transcription and production for people who are blind or have low vision in California and offer employment training opportunities for clients who are blind.

To learn more about Ability Central’s grantmaking in California, visit us online.

Headquartered in Oakland, California, Ability Central is the philanthropic division of the California Communication Access Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit founded in 2003. Ability Central is committed to serving as an educator, convener, and resource working to expand communications and information access for individuals who are Deaf, disabled, and neurodiverse and their families and caregivers. Ability Central also offers technical support to other nonprofits working to help people who are Deaf, disabled, and neurodiverse; and provides online information and resources for anyone with questions about disabilities and communication access.

Contact: Grant Barringer, Communications Manager