IM this article to a friend!

September 19, 2005


From: CSD - Sep 19, 2005

This series of articles highlights Communication Service for the Deaf's expansion from a one-person operation to the largest deaf-run organization in the world, employing over 3,200 employees in 42 offices.

From Humble Beginnings
In 1975, people thought Ben Soukup was crazy when he left his job at John Morrell & Co. — a meat packing plant — to start a nonprofit organization that would help deaf people. His first office was in a closet provided by the South Dakota School for the Deaf. Looking back on the humble beginnings of CSD, no one could have predicted that, 30 years later, that very same organization would provide services and programs in 39 states across the country and abroad.

CSD is among the few nonprofit agencies of its kind to venture into social services without heavy reliance on government funding. Revenue that supports CSD National Programs comes from providing telecommunications relay services in 30 states, video relay services nationwide, equipment distribution program in three states and a call center operation that provides telephone answering and customer support services.

CSD is dedicated to providing broad-based services, ensuring public accessibility and increasing public awareness of issues affecting deaf and hard of hearing individuals. CSD National Programs currently offers educational programming, housing, employment services, transportation assistance, substance abuse programming and other outreach services at 15 locations in eight states. CSD coordinates community and video interpreting services, interpreter training, and mentoring. They also publish a monthly newspaper called SIGNews.

Long-time partners and community leaders will join C.E.O. Benjamin J. Soukup — along with CSD officers, employees and friends of CSD — at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in South Dakota on Friday, Oct. 28 to commemorate CSD's 30th anniversary. A new book, "Seeing A Need," will be launched during the banquet. Event information is available at

Watch For Upcoming Articles: "It All Started With Interpreters," "The Road To Relay – TRS," "CSD National Programs", "Equipment Distribution Programs", "Camp Lakodia – A Year-Round Deaf-Friendly Retreat" and "Who Has The Fastest Connection?".