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2016 Annual Report

Table of Contents Letter from Leadership 3 Youth and Family 4 Community 6 Communication Access 8 Whom Do We Help? 10 Who Supports Us? 12 Who Works With Us? 13 Who Donates to Us? 14 How Can You Help? 16 Financial Statement 17 Who are we? 18

Front Cover: Members of the St. Louis Deaf Teen Club Back Cover: Summer Sign Day Camp Participants

This annual report is printed with recycled paper.


The mission of Deaf Empowerment Awareness Foundation, Inc. is to Empower, raise Awareness, and bridge a sustainable Foundation of communication and equal access to both the deaf/hard of hearing and the hearing communities in the St. Louis metro area.


The organization’s primary vision is to provide services for deaf/hard of hearing, hearing individuals, and the community in the St. Louis metro area as a whole to ensure effective communication and cultural awareness. This purpose is accomplished through a meaningful unity of community outreach, training, education, advocacy, media, visual arts, and interpreting. The vision reflects a strong sense of community where the deaf/hard of hearing and hearing communities are empowered and aware of the importance of equal access to all.

Letter from Leadership Dear Community Friends, There is a story about a powerful East African tribe called the Masai. They have a unique manner of greeting one another; “Kasserian Ingera?” one would ask, and “Sapati Ingera” is the reply. This translates to, “How are the children?” to which the response is always, “The children are well.” The greeting shows the importance of all individuals involved in that community, especially those who are easily neglected. We all matter, and we all have a civic responsibility to our community to ensure effective communication access for everyone. It truly does take a village.

Thomas Horejes, PhD. Executive Director

Communication barriers, whether in a simple exchange of greeting or during a medical emergency, create injustice and inequality for our entire community. This is why DEAF, Inc. works to ensure that communication access be a fundamental civil right for all deaf/hard of hearing individuals. It is with pride that we share our 2016 Annual Report showing you how we bring this message to fruition. You, our giving & supportive community, help us to accomplish our goals. Our dedicated donor base, army of volunteers, and ardent collaborators enable us to succeed. Please join DEAF, Inc. in driving for social change, in breaking the cycle of inaccessibility and in creating opportunities for all to live equally. Together, we are changing lives. Thank you. I now ask you, Kasserian Ingera?

Nate Dissi President of the Board


Youth and Family – Your Support Changes Lives Summer Sign Day Camp The parents cried for joy after seeing their deaf child finally make a deaf friend at our Summer Sign Day Camp.

DEAF, Inc. is committed to supporting deaf/hard of hearing youth and their family members through outreach, youth & family programming, and collaboration with other deaf-focused organizations.

Advancing Collaboration


DEAF, Inc. partnered with a premier oral deaf school to help educate its students and parents about sign language and the deaf community.

National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes DEAF, Inc. was one of the few organizations selected by the National Deaf Center at The University of Texas – Austin to provide support in postsecondary deaf education.

Signing Santa Event

A grateful mother told DEAF, Inc. that her child had been waiting for the Signing Santa event for months and on that day, he woke up at 4 a.m. fully dressed and ready to meet Deaf Santa.

DEAF, Inc. unveiled a series of videos called DeafThat, an informative channel for the deaf/hard of hearing and hearing community. DeafThat bring you stories, tips and information that are shaping the Deaf community. Scan here to see our most popular episode - Baby Sign Language, that has received over 2 million views.

Deaf Teen Club DEAF, Inc. provided a safe place for deaf/ hard of hearing teens to congregate with their peers. There are over 48+ members of the Deaf Teen Club.

Parent Support Group Thanks to DEAF, Inc., Hands & Voices, a parent-led advocacy organization, is now a chapter in the State of Missouri.


Community Cancer Care Packages Pink Wings of Hope, a DEAF, Inc. sponsored cancer support group, gave care packages to deaf patients going through treatment.

First Responders Training In 2016, DEAF, Inc. provided training sessions to first responders to improve communication and safety when working with the deaf/hard of hearing community.

“The training...proved to be be very successful and extremely beneficial to our police department...� City of Chesterfield Police


To see the complete testimony, scan the QR code.

Enrichment Workshops DEAF, Inc. conducted workshops throughout the year on meaningful topics such as interpreting for medical & legal issues, ethics & confidentiality, proper cultural etiquette, and ASL instruction.

Health Care Advocacy DEAF, Inc. advocated for improved healthcare for deaf and hard of hearing patients by educating nurses and doctors about communication access.

2% 37%

Cases in 2016 Referral


Assistance Communication

Domestic Violence Support


Total Cases Served in 2016

DEAF, Inc. partnered with The LEAD Institute, a domestic violence organization, to provide direct services to deaf domestic violence survivors.

Deaf Advocacy

Through empowerment and advocacy, DEAF, Inc. directly assisted the deaf/hard of hearing community to cooperatively remedy their challenges such as communication barriers and discrimination into positive outcomes.


Communication Access Emergency Services DEAF, Inc. has sign language interpreters and coordinators on call 24/7/365 where a person, not an answering machine takes your call - a rarity in other agencies. Your support allows the deaf community to have the full access it needs.

Interpreting Enhancements

Monthly workshops were provided to ensure our interpreters receive the latest training in ethics, techniques and professional development.











Interpreting Hours Per Year


1708 Total Interpreting Services Requested in 2016

Telecommunication Accessiblity

DEAF, Inc. is a state sanctioned communications access technology demonstration center. This service enables our clients with moderate hearing loss to talk on the phone with their loved ones.

To see an example of ASL translation from the Route 66 exhibition at the Missouri History Museum, scan the QR code on the right.

Sign Language Classes

Over 120 participants signed up for our 6-week sign language classes. Participants included parents, neighbors, medical professionals, co-workers, and police officers.

ASL Translation

We partnered with the Missouri History Museum on an Accessibility project where we installed QR codes in the museum which connect from audio to ASL translated videos so deaf patrons can access educational information.


Whom Do We Help? “DEAF, Inc. reached out to invite me to a meeting about establishing a Missouri Chapter of Hands & Voices. DEAF, Inc. has been instrumental in our journey, by providing interpreters, safe space and technology. They also reached out to their contacts to help build a diverse Board of Directors for the Missouri Chapter.� Lauren Freeman President Missouri Chapter of Hands & Voices


“It has been such a struggle for us to find other children for Nicholas to play with. None of the many groups, activities, organizations that Nicholas has attended has provided a peer group for him until we discovered the Summer Sign Day Camp.” Dr. Pam Leonard-Kukorola Parent

“The ASL classes offered by DEAF, Inc. are awesome! It felt easier and more fun with the smaller class sizes and personal interaction. I will definitely be back to continue advancing my knowledge to better communicate with the deaf community.” Ryan Brown Class Attendee

“Pink Wings of Hope helped me a lot with guidance while I am dealing with breast cancer. I am truly grateful for the support provided by Annette Nitko and other members of Pink Wings of Hope. Thank you all for everything.” Lynn Stroud 1-year Survivor


Who Supports Us? These are some of the organizations that gave us funding, supported our work with youth & family, and provided resources! Thank you for your support.

Pujols Family Foundation Logo. PMS: 485 Red PMS: 1807 Maroon Black



Who Works With Us?

These are some of the organizations who collaborated with us to bring our mission to life. Thank you for your support!







Who Donated? We are grateful for your support. Thank you for your generosity.

Corporations ($1000+) AHRA Realty Center for Hearing & Balance Disorders Eisenberg & Baum Fenton Family Dentistry Pujols Family Foundation Scottrade, Inc. St. Louis Community Foundation The UPS Store #0558 Washington University Wells Fargo Advisors Corporations ($500 to $999) Civic Access GSLAD Route 66 Promotions Sorenson Communications ZVRS


Corporations ($100 to $499) Central Institute for the Deaf Charter Communications, Inc. Chick-fil-A Chill-Pak Commerce Bancshares Foundation Deaf Community Center Dixon Golf Grey Eagle Distributors Hearing Health Care Park Avenue Mansion Relay MO Saint Louis Chapter of MOAD WWT Asynchrony Labs

Auction Donors ($100+) Design 52 Fenton Family Dentistry Jim Butler Nitko Art Nothing Bundt Cakes Oberweis Pappy’s Smokehouse Que Pasa Rick Rush Art Spectacular Eyes 4You St. Louis Blues St. Louis Cardinals Trader Joes Urban Chestnut Zeal Sunglasses

Individuals ($500+) Annette and Carolyn Allen Anonymous Thomas Anton Deborah Crowell David and Angie Officer

Individuals ($100 - $499) Anonymous Matt Armstrong Dennis Donnelly The Horejes Family Elizabeth Earley Mike Finneran Amy Glenn William Graham Jacques and Nancy Herzog Daryl Johnson Dominic Lacy Joan and Jim Mestres Anthony and Annette Nitko Jr. Anthony and Veronica Nitko Sr.

Aruna Rajagopalan Amy and Emery Reusch Katherine Roadway Anthony Rossabi Daniel and Donna Schreiner James and Geneva Shearburn Mary Shearburn Tom Shearburn William and Julie Shearburn William B. Sheldon Jessica and Luke Stergos Michele Wolford


How Can You Help Us? Simple – by doing these three things.

Donate Today!

Donate today by using our Donate Now feature on our website - One time and recurring gifts are much needed to support our mission.

Sign for “donate”

Volunteer! Sign for “volunteer”

Volunteer! Sign up to ensure our workshops, fundraisers, outreach events and classes are successful!

Spread the Word!

Spread the Word! If you know someone who will benefit from our mission, tell them to contact us. If you know someone who would like to help us with our mission, encourage them too!


Sign for “networking”

Use the QR code for direct link to our Donation section online.

Statement of Activities

Statement of Financial Position

For the year ended December 31, 2016

For the year ended December 31, 2016

Public Support and Revenue Contributions

Assets $627,778

Current Assets




Property and Equipment, net


Special events (gross)


Artwork and Memorabilia



Organizational Costs, net


Program Service Fees and Misc. Revenue Investment Income Total Support and Revenue

$960 $1,588,071

Expenses Program Services


Liabilities and Net Assets Current Liabilities






Total Expenses

Total Assets


Unrestricted Net Assets Tempoarily Restricted


Net Assets, Beginning of the Year


Net Assets, End of theYear



Total Liablities and Net Assets


Change in Net Assets


Income Sources

58.6% 39.6%




- Program Services - Contributions - Special Events -Grants


Board of Directors Eight of the eleven board members are deaf/hard of hearing. Their diverse backgrounds include being a priest, dentist, cochlear Implant surgeon, social worker, entrepreneur, speech and language pathologist, interpreter, and financial advisor.


Nate Dissi President

Dale Roethemeyer Vice President

Amy Reusch Secretary

Since 2015

Since 2015

Since 2014

Daniel Schreiner Treasurer

Thomas Otto-Bruc

Dr. Jacques Herzog

Since 2015

Since 2012

Since 2014

Anand Raj

Sarah Prechtel

Fr. Thomas Coughlin

Since 2014

Since 2014

Since 2015

Dr. Jessica Nieva

Eric Driskill

Since 2015

Since 2016

Dedicated Staff Dr. Thomas Horejes

Tony Nitko

Libby Oxenham

Executive Director

Marketing Director

Director of Interpreting Services

James Shearburn

Michele Steele

Amber Brown

Community Development Officer

Finance Manager

Interpreting Manager

Leslie Brown

Jackson Busenbark

Thomas Green

Interpreter Coordinator

Marketing Director, NDC

Community Engagement Coordinator

Annette Nitko

Jason Roberts

Devon Whitmore

Support Group Coordinator

Media Specialist

Community Advocate

Seventy five percent of the DEAF, Inc. staff is deaf/hard of hearing. They bring to DEAF, Inc. their diversified backgrounds including social justice, entrepreneurship, advocacy, regulatory advocacy, youth mentoring, media, marketing, interpreting, financial accounting, sales, community outreach, fundraising, and program management.


25 East Frisco Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63119 Front Desk: (314) 714-6400 | FAX: (314) 266-7427 | Email: | Web:

DEAF, Inc. 2016 Annual Report  
DEAF, Inc. 2016 Annual Report