Melody Stein and her husband Russ co-own and operate Mozzeria, a wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District. The Steins and all of their 15 or so employees are deaf. The sad truth is that makes their operation very unique. More than 70% of deaf Americans have trouble gaining full-time employment. The company became the first of what are now three deaf-owned and deaf-run companies to earn investment and business support from the Communication Service for the Deaf’s Social Venture Fund–it’s called CSD SVF, for short. The CSD Social Venture Fund is a multi-million-dollar reserve that CSD will use to fund three to four companies a year, part of its effort to create more work opportunities for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
We recognized that communication access by itself wasn’t going to be the solution to the ultimate goal of creating a world where there are no barriers, where everything is possible for people who are deaf. I think that the challenge for many in the community is that they don’t know what they don’t know.
For CSD, this is part of an evolving social mission. The nonprofit started in 1975, and may be best known for pioneering and popularizing things like TV closed captioning, as well as numerous telecommunications and video-based remote interpretation services. At the same time, as the group makes clear in a mission statement, it has continued to expand job placement and training classes, as well as adult education services, and crucial safety nets like domestic violence support.
Read the full article on the Deaf’s Social Venture Fund by Harry L. Wilson at FastCompany
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