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AUSTIN, Texas—Texas Deaf Chamber of Commerce, today announced that the chamber received a letter of determination from the IRS on June 10, 2021, recognizing the chamber as a  501c6 nonprofit organization with an effective date of the tax exemption going back to the date the chamber was formed, February 26, 2019. 

Texas Deaf Chamber of Commerce

Texas Deaf Chamber of Commerce is thrilled with this milestone with the effort beginning back  in late 2018 for this chamber but the idea for a Deaf chamber of commerce actually goes back  to 2013 with my idea of having Deaf chambers of commerce after attending a few Texas  Governor’s Small Business Forum events where I took notice of the various chambers of  commerce representing different segments of the community,” Jason Shaw, Texas Deaf  Chamber President and Chair, said. “This exciting development will provide more opportunities  not only for our members made up of Deaf businesses and organizations that serve the Deaf but  for the betterment of the Deaf Texans with a new paradigm shift to face the challenges the  community has.” 

As of June 28, 2021, the Texas Deaf Chamber of Commerce is the first state Deaf chamber of  commerce to receive the recognition from the IRS as a 501c6 nonprofit organization from the  IRS. “All of us in the deaf community are excited because we are the FIRST 501c6 organization 

in the entire state of Texas that is a DEAF chamber of commerce!” said Otis Sizemore, Board of  Director at Large and Chair of Government Affairs Committee. 

Recognition of agencies, organizations, and volunteers 

“Wow! We finally made it! But without our members, we would not have made it to this  moment, so thank you very much to our members.” said Pinky Collie, Treasurer: Pioneer Members 

• Blue Paw Energy Service, LLC 

• KissFist Biz 

• Otis Sizemore 

• Collie, Fasakin and Associates  

• KW-Signs 

• Aid the Silent 

• Cloves’ Studio 

• Lava Insurance Agency  

• Scan Mailboxes (First business to be Pioneer Member) 

• Deaf Celebration Expo of North Texas (First organization to be Pioneer Member) • Honey Doe Farm and Creamery  

• Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf 

• Future Deaf Works 

• Jamie Clark 

• Mark Seeger 

And let us not forget to thank the others. We must add a thank you to the government, groups, schools, organizations, law firms and volunteers that made a huge impact in our accomplishment. Thank you again to all of these people.” said Otis Sizemore:

Government Agencies and Schools 

• Texas Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism: Governor’s SBA Forum • Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities- Ron Lucy and Randi Turner • Texas Workforce Commission: Commissioner Representing Labor- Julian Alvarez.  

o Apprenticeship Program Team – Ann Pham, Desi Holmes, and Tara Cole o VR Division- Cheryl Fuller 

• Texas School for the Deaf- Career and Technical Education Department-Daniel Veit and  Megan Scarboro 

• Austin Mayor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (Robin Orlowski)

• Austin Small Business Development 

• Austin Community College-Sign Language Interpreting Services-Ginger Bennet • National Technical Institute for the Deaf/Rochester Institute of Technology 

Organizations and Legal Firms 

• Texas RioGrande Legal Aid-Texas Community Building with Attorney Resources (Texas C BAR) 

• Foley & Lardner LLP -Michael F. Rogers 

• Kirkland and Ellis Law Firm 

• National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes 

• DeafTec – Erika Shadburne and Dr. Mei Kennedy 

• SCORE (Service Corporate Of Retired Executives)- Robert Shaver 

• Leander Chamber of Commerce- “Sister” Chamber to TXDCC 

• Deaf Business Advocate Section (DBA) of National Association of the Deaf (NAD)- Jason  Shaw chaired from 2017 to 2019; Formerly Deaf Entrepreneurs Council (501c6) that  changed to National Deaf Business Institute (501c3) before folding into NAD as DBA  Section. 

Volunteers of Note (Who made impact) 

• Mark Apodaca 

• Candy Villesca 

• Michelle Hawkins Delony 

• Mark Seeger 

• RosaBella Sizemore (Robin) 

• Jennifer Sizemore 

• Robert Ferguson 

• Roy Calhoun 

• Barbie Parker 

• Scott Wallace 

• Julie Seals 

• Amarillo Deaf, INC.- Rodeny King 

• Barbie Greenwater 

Quotes from Agencies and Organizations 

As the secretary, I’d like to share some quotes I’ve gathered from some of the people and  organizations that have worked with us for a long time.” said Alana Husband Secretary of  TXDCC:

Quote from Texas Governor

Congratulations to the Texas Deaf Chamber of Commerce on being recognized as the first Deaf  Chamber of Commerce in the nation,” said Governor Greg Abbott “This incredible milestone is a  testament to Chamber’s hard work, as well as Texas’ thriving business climate, which keeps our  state a place of limitless opportunity. I look forward to working alongside the Chamber to  

promote and support the economic prosperity of Deaf Texans across the state.” 

Quote from Texas Workforce Commission: 

On behalf of TWC, I want to echo Governor Abbott on congratulating the Texas Deaf Chamber  of Commerce for this monumental achievement,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor  Julian Alvarez “Everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams and we look forward  

to working alongside the nation’s first ever Deaf Chamber of Commerce to ensure Deaf,  DeafBlind, Late-Deafened, and Hard of Hearing business owners can achieve their goals.” 

Quote from Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities: 

Congratulations on this next milestone in the growth of your chamber. We were glad to be a  small part of this success. Best wishes for continued success.” said Executive Director of Texas  Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, Ron Lucy. 

Quote from National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes: 

The establishment of the Texas Deaf Chamber of Commerce is a fantastic example of how  community members can come together to support each other in our shared goals for the  success of deaf people, while being deaf-led.” Said Director National Deaf Center on  Postsecondary Outcomes, Dr. Carrie Lou Garberoglio. 

Quote from Texas CBAR with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid: 

Texas CBAR is very proud to have been a part of the inception of Texas Deaf Chamber of  Commerce. We will include this successful project in our TRLA Pro Bono Newsletter that goes  out to all our volunteer attorneys and local bar associations. And we are proud to be mentioned  in your press release.” said Private Attorney Involvement Coordinator with Texas CBAR, a  special project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Tracy Whitley. 

What is next? 

We have a few new developments and projects we are working on, be keeping your eyes open  for these developments in the future.” said Jason Shaw.

“Now you can see it’s big news! So, what does having a deaf chamber of commerce mean? We  are going to come together as a community and support each other. Texas Deaf Chamber  Commerce will be a unified community that serves as advocates, collaborators, and political  influencers. We will come together with one voice which will lead to financial opportunities.  This will include various resources for you the business owners! We invite you to come and join  with us! Let’s grow our membership in the Texas Deaf Chamber of Commerce! Come and join  us!” said Pinky Collie. For more information and contact for individuals and entities, please send a request via email  to