The Sharon St. Cyr (SSC) Fund is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that strives to raise money to provide hearing aids for hearing-impaired individuals as well as offer grants to organizations for ASL interpreting services. The SSC Fund was born in 2009 by Jeffrey Payne when he recognized a need and created a solution. He explains the need this way: “For most people, insurance coverage is non-existent or bare minimum as to reimbursement. There were those within our community who had neither insurance nor a means with which to purchase the materials needed to successfully continue on with employment, schooling, etc. Since I am hard of hearing, as are other family members, I felt we needed to bring this to the forefront since it was not in the mainstream arena.” Sharon St. Cyr Fund was affectionately named in honor of Jeffrey’s mother who passed away when he was only 4 years old.
Attendees at the October NLA-Dallas general membership meeting learned about the SSC Fund from Board Member Amie McNamara, who shared an overview of how the organization works and the process of awarding grants. Those seeking assistance will find two applications available on the fund’s website: one for hearing aid assistance and the other for an interpreter grant for events. Once the appropriate application is filled out and submitted with supporting documentation, the Board of Directors discusses it and makes a determination based exclusively on financial need, as all personal identifying information is removed to avoid any bias.
Support for the fund comes from various sources. Typically, several fundraising events occur each year, including the Annual Wreath Auction & Ice Cream Social; and many local charities and groups hold events to raise money to benefit this worthy cause. Donations can be made on their website by clicking the “Donate” button on the top. Transparent with their use of funds, even posting tax returns on their website, potential donors can be confident that 100% of all donations go directly to providing monetary assistance to those in need and organizations who wish to be more inclusive by offering ASL interpreters.
The Board of Directors currently consists of 7 members: President: Christopher Edwards, Vice President: Roger “Lipps LaRue” Wheeler, Secretary: Joel Legget, Treasurer: Jeffrey Payne, and three Board Members: Christopher Stinnett, Tracy Diaz, and Amie McNamara. Their tireless dedication has been integral to raising funds that through the years have benefitted over 150 events and 101 individuals with an additional 13 people in the pipeline.