Past Grant Awards

Since Fall 2008, the Tennessee Disability Coalition has awarded small grants to applicants in Tennessee. Contact coalition@tndisability.org with inquiries about recipients prior to 2011. We have posted the previous years of awardees below

Fall 2016

EARS (Emergency Awareness Readiness Services), Nashville, TN will develop an interactive training course designed to enhance existing communication skills and strategies for consumers and emergency responders when preparing for and responding to emergencies and disasters.  The course is targeted to two specific groups:  members of the hearing loss community and the emergency responder communmity (law enforcement, fire, emergency managers, public health, human services, EMS, public works, etc.)

Friend's Life Community,  Nashville, TN will develop a new program called, "Social Club".  It arose out of direct feedback from self-advocates in the disability community who desired additional extracurricular activity with peers and the autonomy to choose those activities.  Social Club activities are designed to work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who function on a higher level of independence and will teach participant next level independent skills, e.g. creating and managing a social calendar.  

 Hendersonville Rotary Foundation, Hendersonville, TN will support Mary's Magical Place, an all-inclusive playground designed around, but not limited to,children with special needs in Sumner and surrounding counties in northern middle Tennessee.  It will be a place where all, including those with disabilities such as wheelchair users will have easy access to "come and play".

Statewide Independent Living Council of Tennessee (SILC), Nashville, TN will develop an Independent Living Rural Outreach and Advocacy Pilot Project.  The project will employ an Independent Living (IL) specialist in Lincoln County to provide IL services to that area and surrounding rural counties of Franklin, Bedford, Marshall, Moore and Coffee. This project will provide IL assistance to currently unserved areas and will be developed into a replicable model to share across the IL network.

Spring 2016

Empower Tennessee, Nashville, TN - TDC will conduct an Independent Living Needs Assessment through Community Conversations and follow-up surveys with people with disabilities in each of the seven counties served by the organization.  

Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, Inc., Chattanooga, TN TDC will create a computer lab to aid individuals with understanding spreadsheet and word-processing software a basic skill requirement in the majority of middle-skill occupations.  

Special Kids, Inc., Murfreesboro, TN will both help to mobilize the Special Kids' development team and improve fundraising through an updated constituent management system.  The project will help improve the development of the team's productivity, performance and perception in order to maximize our efficiency and effectiveness in supporting the programs at Special Kids.

Fall 2015

Bridges, Nashville, TN will implement an agency-wide data collection platform (collection and tracking tool or database) with the goal of building capacity through better data-tracking for individual programs, improved client data for all programs, decreased staff time spent tracking data and increased data quality to inform program and agency decisions.

The Community Development Center, Shelbyville, TN will develop and implement a formal communications plan promoting the new Children's Center for Autism located in Marshall County.  It will include the development and dissemination of brochures, educational materials and a website.

Pathways in Education - Tennessee, Inc., Memphis, TN will bring additional resources into the school to provide students with transitional services and assistive technology to aid with success and to help students with disabilities overcome challenges.  The project aims to boost students' proficiency in reading and writing, improve note-taking and test-taking skills to promote an increase in scores and rate of completed course work.  A great portion of the funding will go to the purchase of audiobooks which have been proven to help students with reading disabilities.

Spring 2015:

Sign Club Co.,  Hendersonville, TN has two missions, to education the hearing world about Deaf culture in order to build communities around Deaf children so they can participate fully without barriers in all aspects of their communities and to serve as advocates for the Deaf, primarily children. Funding is awarded to allow for expansion of the project by developing a comprehensive curriculum package containing all necessary materials an individual with limited knowledge of ASL will need to start a sign club in their local area.

Special Education Advocacy Center, Nashville, TN advocates for the educational rights of all students with disabilitiies and to support and empower their families.  SEAC is awarded funding to develop and implement a targeted communications strategy to improve outreach and community awareness of their services.

Nashville State Community College, Nashville, TN The Student Disability Services office strives to stay abreast of student needs and the latest advances in technology that will assist them to meet the needs, create more autonomy and independence.  Funding is awarded to acquire licenses for literacy and learning software to provide needed language and learning tools to all NSCC students.

Fall 2014:

Autism Tennessee, Nashville, TN offers support to families with an early diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder of a child by giving the compassionate assistance of Parent Representatives, information and referral services and peer counseling.  Funding is awarded for salaries and wages to expand the county contact system.

United Way of Metro Nashville, EARS, Nashville, TN, is an initiative to coordinate programming and distribute early warning equipment to hundreds of Middle Tennesseans through it unique partnerships.  Funding is awarded for the strategic planning to create a business structure for the Emergency Awareness and Readiness Services for People who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf/Blind.

Spring 2014:

Bridges - Nashville, TN, is a comprehensive health and human service agency that has been dedicated to serving Deaf and hard of hearing residents of middle Tennessee since 1927. It started as a speech reading class and has since expanded to include interpreting and transcribing, youth programing to support children with hearing loss of any level, wellness programing including closed captioning and interpreters, case management services, education and outreach.  Funding is awarded to develop a formal volunteer program with additional staff hours, equipment and materials needed to implement the project.

City of Chattanooga Therapeutic Recreation Service - Chattanooga, TN, was established in 2002 in response to a community request to provide recreation opportunities for citizens including both youth and adults with physical, cognitive and/or emotional disabilities.  Funding has been awarded for the reconstruction and expansion of the Volunteer Recruitment and Management project.

East Tennessee Technology Access Center, Inc. (ETTAC) - Knoxville, TN,  works with people with disabilities of all ages, teaching them simple to complex tasks, from learning how to use an adapted toy to learning to read or communicate, socialize, be part of a team, and take responsibility for actions.  The program was awarded funding for start-up costs of the “Repair Café”.  This is the first in the United States that matches up to 30 young adults with disabilities with older skilled volunteers and members of the business community to learn specific skills, repair items and then give back through volunteering.

Friends of Tennessee's Babies with Special Needs (FOT) - Alcoa, TN, The mission of FOT is to support children with special needs (such as vision or hearing loss, developmental delays, and medical conditions) and their families across Tennessee.  Funding is awarded to optimize the program’s efficiency and effectiveness by the use of networking technology for outreach, communication, managing finances and storing data. 

Tennessee Justice Center – Nashville, TN,  A non-profit, public interest law and advocacy firm providing 18 years of service to Tennessee families in need.   Funding is awarded to continue and expand efforts to advocate for individuals seeking to gain and maintain eligibility for the Choices program. 

University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities – Memphis, TN, has been producing online training and webinars for over 10 years with a mission to improve the health of persons with, or at risk for, neurodevelopmental and related disabilities through preparation of trainees from 11 professional disciplines to command leadership roles and to ensure highest quality levels of interdisciplinary clinical competencies.   Funding is awarded to create a resource library of video/podcast for healthcare professionals. 

Fall 2013:

LifeLine, Inc., Chattanooga, TN serves families affected by special needs offering support, education, training and resources. Funding was awarded for the re-development of LifeLineFamilies.org to create a cohesive web home for its multiple technology outreaches.  

Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee, Nashville, TN is a team of mental health professionals who provide extensive supports and services to the multicultural community in Davidson County.  Funding was awarded to update existing resource materials and develop an e-learning course entitled, “Working with an Interpreter” for healthcare providers who work with culturally diverse populations.   

Spring 2013:

Center for Independent Living of Middle Tennessee, Nashville, TN mission is to ensure that persons with disabilities have the opportunity to achieve their own vision of independence in an inclusive and integrated community.  This program received funding to continue the “Access Nashville” program which trains student volunteers at colleges and universities to perform accessibility friendly surveys at restaurants.

Friends Life Community, Nashville, TN a grass roots organization focuses on providing programming support for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  Funding was awarded for conversion to the nonprofit version of Salesforce.com to improve efficiencies and effectiveness.

Support & Training for Exceptional Parents, Inc. (STEP, Inc.), Greeneville, TN serves families who have children with disabilities, youth and the professionals who work with them by providing training and resources.  Funding is awarded for the creation of a remotely accessible Client Management System (CMS) database which will allow for the capture and retrieval of information quickly and accurately.

Fall 2012:

Brain Injury Association of Tennessee, Nashville, TN mission is to ensure hope and support by providing brain injury prevention, awareness, education, and advocacy to survivors and their families.  This program received funding to purchase needed technology and brain injury educational supplies.

Bridges: Serving the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing Communities, Nashville, TN is an agency that unites the Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing communities through education, services, and support, empowering individuals to achieve their full potential. This program received funding to expand the literacy project.  The expansion will include two parts, one to provide additional hours to allow more time for one on one instruction and planning and the other to provide additional materials for the literacy project. 

Best Buddies Tennessee, Brentwood, TN was created with the intent to give the opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to socialize with their peers without disabilities.  Funding was awarded to support the Middle School Expansion Project, which will create educational, recreational and social opportunities for students with and without IDD by providing quality programming that promotes socialization, inclusion and leadership development within two new middle school chapters in Davidson County.

University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Memphis, TN goal of the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Center is to help build a society that includes and values the communication and ideas of people with disabilities.  Funding will allow students within the Audiology and Speech Pathology program to learn about these systems and extend their understanding of how to provide the best possible communication strategies for individuals who rely on AAC.

Spring 2012:

WAVES, Inc., in Franklin, TN has been serving families and children with developmental delays in Williamson County for thirty-nine years. Their mission is to enable individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to progress toward their full potential. The two day programs in Franklin and Fairview received funding for the purpose of "Supporting the Support Staff." The awarded funds will be utilized to employ a special education teacher to improve competencies of staff by moving staff from the role of care giving to that of facilitator/teacher.

Friends Life Community, in Nashville, TN is a private pay organization that provides enrichment programming for young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. They provide independent living skills, health and wellness activities, employment training and social activities to foster independency of those served. This program received funding to improve and expand its Volunteer Recruitment and Management program. 

Fall 2011:

Bridges- Nashville, TN, unites the Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing communities through education, services and support, empowering individuals to achieve their full potential. Funding is sought to purchase two microphones and a speaker with a stand for their remote CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation) system.

Friends of Tennessee's Babies with Special Needs (FOT)- Alcoa, TN. The mission of Friends of Tennessee's Babies with Special Needs is to support children with special needs (such as vision or hearing loss, developmental delays, and medical conditions) and their families across Tennessee. Funding is sought to support a newly formed local chapter of Hands and Voices to support families with children who are Dear or hard of hearing.

Tennessee Organization of the Deaf-Blind, Inc. (TODB)- Nashville, TN. The mission of Tennessee Organization of the Deaf-Blind, Inc. is to promote quality of life for individuals who are Deaf-Blind by enhancing their economic, educational, social and emotional welfare by building life enhancement skills for persons with Deaf Blindness. Funding will allow for the expansion of the pool of trained Support Service Providers.

Tennessee Respite Coalition (TRC), Nashville, TN, is a grassroots volunteer advocacy group that works to ensure the quality of life of family caregivers through respite. Funding this project will allow TRC to contract with experts in creating customized databases to access and input information in real-time from remote locations around the state. 

Spring 2011:

Best Buddies Tennessee - Brentwood, TN is a subsidiary of Best Buddies International.  It is a 
non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through one-to-one friendships, leadership development, and integrated employment.  Funding was sought to implement Best Buddies chapters in two high schools in the Nashville area.   

Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) - The Nashville, TN chapter's mission is to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing information, education, support and advocacy.  HLAA will purchase an LED screen display and accessories for large theatre and outdoor venues.

Partnership for Families, Children and Adults - Chattanooga, TN serves the Deaf/Hard of Hearing population by providing information, interpreters, advocacy and case management assistance.  Funding was sought to purchase vocational analysis materials designed to evaluate the employment needs and skills of the deaf, deaf/blind and hard of hearing residents of regions 3 & 4 for the Department of Rehabilitation Services

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) at Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN provides innovative leadership in education, research and services to people with disabilities, the community and families.  VKC will purchase the technology to deliver volunteer advocacy training to rural and underserved areas.  

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Tennessee Disability Coalition

The Coalition is an alliance of organizations and individuals who have joined to promote the full and equal participation of men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. We work together to advocate for public policy that ensures self-determination, independence, empowerment, and inclusion for people with disabilities in areas such as accessibility, education, healthcare, housing, and voting rights.

Contact us

Office Address
Tennessee Disability Coalition
955 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206

Nashville: (615) 383-9442Toll-free: (888) 643-7811Email: coalition@tndisability.org