The Alexander Graham Bell Foundation [AG Bell] recently announced that they received a $75,000 grant from the UPS Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of UPS. AG Bell went on to state that the grant will go towards the increase of outreach to Spanish-speaking families with deaf children in Mexico, Spain, Argentina and other countries for resources on how their children can learn how to listen and speak through the addition of Spanish content on their website. Emilio Alonso-Mendoza, AG Bell’s CEO, commented that the said grant supports AG Bell’s mission to “advance listening and spoken language worldwide.”
As of 2015, UPS and their active/retired employees invested over $110 million in charitable giving all around the world. A sizable proportion of the Deaf community happens to work as Package Handlers for UPS. Many of the said UPS employees are individuals who use American Sign Language [ASL]. Some are concerned that with UPS’ grant to AG Bell, it shows an indicator that UPS believes LSL is more beneficial for the Deaf community instead of ASL.
Listening and Spoken Language [LSL] is a new term for oralism, a long-standing issue within the Deaf community. Some people believe that LSL is beneficial to children, others do not. Many of those who are against LSL have either been or known someone else who has been traumatized from the effects of oralism in the 1950s – 1990s, when schools for the Deaf used speech instead of signing. Students were punished if and when they violated the rules of no signs or gestures. One instance is the Clarke School for the Deaf.
Established in 1951 and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the UPS Foundation identifies specific areas where their backing clearly impacts social issues. Their priorities for giving are volunteerism, diversity, community safety, and the environment. The UPS Foundation can be found on the web at UPS.com/foundation.