First, let's define 'Ecosystem'.
In nature, an ecosystem is a community of organisms living among each other, creating a system. For example, the pond pictured above is an ecosystem of living things like fish and plants, and they're contained with natural resources like water and rocks. And here’s the most important part: they’re self-reliant. That means they don't need human beings to come and feed them fish food for survival. They have everything that they need in their own ecosystem to keep things going swimmingly, generation after generation.
Got it. Now, what’s a 'Deaf Ecosystem'?
When Deaf and hard of hearing individuals interact in shared spaces, that is a Deaf community. A Deaf Ecosystem is created when the community invests in Deaf businesses, professionals, organizations, and schools. To use the pond analogy, the water is similar to resources within our community. If enough of us invest in our Deaf Ecosystem, our community will thrive and become more self-reliant.
What does investing in our Deaf Ecosystem look like?
It can be many things. It can be:
- Choosing to go to Deaf-owned businesses
- Hiring a Deaf professional to do services that your workplace or household needs
- Going to a rally for an education bill that impacts Deaf children
- Donating to your local organization that serves Deaf and hard of hearing people
- Showing up when the Deaf community needs support
- And many other ways!
In whatever way you choose to invest in our Deaf Ecosystem, it's important for us to do our part—because it means a healthier and more vibrant community for us and our future Deaf children.
Deaf Ecosystem Directory
Our directory is a listing of local and nationwide Deaf-owned businesses, professionals, organizations, and schools for the Deaf. A world designed for Deaf people.
Many of us have felt some kind of desire to build a stronger Deaf Ecosystem. The problem was that we didn’t know where to start or how to maintain that support. And that's why we created the Deaf Ecosystem Directory. We are committed to keeping it up-to-date so that we will always have a central resource.
Why is the Deaf Ecosystem so important to Convo?
In 2009, we were a little start-up company with fewer than 10 employees. Today, we are one of the largest Deaf-owned companies in the world with around 250 employees. How did we get here? With the support of our Deaf community.
We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a small but loyal customer base who believed in us from the very beginning. Those customers are the same people that contribute to our community as teachers, parents, leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, and friends. We know firsthand what a positive Deaf Ecosystem can do for our community: It creates opportunities, increases choices, encourages collaboration, and fosters connection.
Healthy Deaf schools. Plenty and resourceful organizations and services for the Deaf and hard of hearing. Thriving Deaf-owned businesses. Deaf community members that feel supported. This is a future we’re investing in.
We’re proud to be part of the Deaf Ecosystem!