Grant Opportunities

Communications Access Project Grants

The need

While strong laws and policies guarantee individuals with disabilities the right to communication support to access their communities, there are significant gaps.

Staff and educators lack training in supporting individuals with communication disabilities. Purchasing Assistive Technology (AT) is beyond the means of low-income families. Obtaining AT through public sources tends to be complex and takes time.

Non-profit funding and reimbursement structures barely cover the cost of providing services and don’t encourage collaboration. An organization serving those with disabilities, like any nonprofit, needs support to assess and implement strategic planning and leadership development projects to strengthen its infrastructure and better serve constituents.

Analyzing data to illuminate the communication gaps can inform the disability field and lead to improvement in access. Innovative projects focused on adaptive technologies can change the way people with disabilities access information and communicate.

What we do about it

Ability Central Philanthropy awards approximately $1 million annually in project-based grants. Letters of Intent (LOIs) are accepted once per year (proposals due in August) and the project performance period begins in January of the following year.

Types of projects we are interested in funding:

  • Capacity Building Projects that emphasize infrastructure improvement through strategic planning or leadership development. The applicant organizations must have existing programs that serve the communication needs of people with disabilities.
  • Research Projects that collect, examine, and evaluate data that will potentially impact the disability field and, ultimately, communication for people with disabilities.
  • Innovation Projects that develop and test new communication/information access technologies and services that will impact the lives of people with disabilities. We require that the testing includes self-advocates/people with disabilities.
  • Sustainable Training Projects (train the trainer, hybrid in-person/web content) to educate/train professionals in communication strategies serving people with disabilities. We favor programs that are intended to continue to serve people beyond the term of the grant itself.

We are no longer accepting LOIs for 2022 funding. Applications and guidelines for 2023 funding will be released in Summer 2022.

Get in touch with us to join our mailing list and learn more about our grant opportunities.

Communications Access Event Support

The Need

Ability Central’s annual grant cycle involves a multi-step application and review process with approximately four (4) months of turn-around time between submitting the LOI and the announcement of the awards, an undue burden for small or one-time event-related requests with a short timeline.

What we do about it

Our Event Support is a more streamlined and responsive funding opportunity intended to support a topic-based workshop, conference, or other educational events that complements our mission to promote access to communication and information for individuals with disabilities in California.

In 2018, the Board of Directors approved a discretionary fund of $50,000 per fiscal year, with individual awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, to be administered by the Grants Team. Applications are accepted year-round.

For a detailed description, please review the Event Support Guidelines.

a woman smiles and points at a sign she holds
Support for Families presentation on low-tech AAC.