ANNUAL REPORT 2019-20
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Board Chair, 2019-20
Even as I roll off the board, fully intending to return after the required year away, I remain excited about this work and the future of the organization. The Bridges’ mission is near and dear to my heart. As the child of Deaf adults (CODA), I grew up in the Deaf community, signing before I could speak. American Sign Language is my first language. I am thrilled to engage with the Deaf community and to lead a talented board to serve our mission to unite the Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing communities. I am particularly proud of how we have responded to the unique challenges of worldwide pandemic.
The board continues to work closely with Nancy Denning-Martin, our President & CEO, and the talented staff at Bridges. Their experience and leadership, along with their passion for the Deaf and hard of hearing communities, are the perfect fit to fulfill our mission. Bridges is experiencing unprecedented growth of and interest in its service offerings. We have grown our existing programs and added new ones, and this year, we completed the development of a new, three-year strategic plan that will deliver a wider breadth and depth of service both in scope and quality.
It's an exciting time to be part of Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and as we continue to embrace our role as the hub of the Deaf and hard of hearing communities, we invite you to join us. --JR
As I move into the role of Chair for this dynamic board of directors, I recognize the challenges of a world pandemic and the need for strong, consistent leadership. Fortunately, Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has had strong, consistent leadership to date, and we are prepared to meet the challenges before us. As always, we see them also as opportunities for further innovation and to use technology to expand our reach into the outlying and more rural areas we also serve but where a physical presence is harder to maintain.
I am excited about our growth this past year as we added BridgesWEST and look forward to seeing that service continue to grow and thrive. I see Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, in Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee and the bordering states we serve, as a connector of communities, one that actively seeks opportunities to share communication, raise awareness, and build understanding. Through programs that support the youngest to the eldest, Bridges offers tools and interventions to navigate many of this world’s complexities and to build a more just and inclusive world for all.
The board of directors is engaged and dedicated to support this incredible team as they navigate the many new challenges this year presents. We believe great things are happening and will happen. --GC
Board Chair, 2020-21
President & CEO
Four years ago, I was welcomed into Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and a vibrant, diverse Deaf and hard of hearing community. These four years have redefined my understanding of community and reorganized my perceptions of leadership. Early in that first year, we asked the question, "What makes our work relevant?" As we evaluated programs, spent time immersed in community, and focused on a vision for the future, the answer became clear. Our work is about access, education, inclusion, and community. What does that mean in pracitical terms?
Our work is civil rights work--filling gaps, advocating for change, removing barriers, empowering our community, and building bridges until we all live in a more just and inclusive world. This work is exciting and powerful, and while it took until 1990 for the Americans with Disabilities Act (federal civil rights legislation passed just 30 years ago) to come to be, Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has been at work for more than 90 years.
From early intervention programs to services for the late deafened and the stages in between (school, university, employment, housing, senior care, and more), we provide a spectrum of services for the D/deaf and hard of hearing--Advocacy, Adult Education & Outreach, Interpreting Services, and Youth Education & Services. We build programs that are sustainable, scalable, and replicable, and we follow where our community leads. While I am immensely proud of the report we share here, I am equally frustrated that there is no way to share all that happens in a year, every story, every outcome, every shared laugh, tear, or hug. We cannot adequately capture the depth and breadth of all we do anymore than we can articulate what it is to be a community. We invite you to experience it with us.
As we have have been stretched and challenged by the unanticipated and overwhelming circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, our real strength has been revealed. We have remained focused on serving our community and true to our values with agility and innovation. I am thankful for the grit and grace of our community, our board, our staff, and our supporters. In the midst of lots of uncertainty, we are rooted in who we are and whom we serve, so I know the best is yet to come! --NDM
To serve an empowered and united community in which the D/deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing equally participate and are equally valued
We envision a world without barriers in which potential is unlimited and self-realization is possible.
In our service and decision making, we strive to remain faithful to and to express these values:
Integrity, acting with fidelity to our values
Intention, acting with purpose and meaning
Honesty, valuing truth
Relationship, being in community with one another
Respect, acting with honor and kindness for all
Stewardship, respecting and utilizing wisely those precious resources of time, talents, people, and finances entrusted to us
935 Edgehill Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203
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