About Us

 Our Mission

Empowering children who are deaf or hard of hearing to reach their full potential by providing leadership and funding in listening and spoken language.


 Our Vision

A world where children who are deaf or hard of hearing, even in the most remote areas, have opportunities to reach their full potential and:

  • People know and understand the importance of hearing to child development;
  • People know that children who are deaf or hard of hearing can listen and use spoken language at age-appropriate levels as a foundation for literacy;
  • Parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing are aware of the listeningFriends - Oberkotter Foundation and spoken language (LSL) outcomes possible today so that they can obtain appropriate support and services as early as possible to achieve their goals for their family;
  • Quality LSL services and support are available and affordable for all families who seek an LSL outcome for their child;
  • Families and professionals are equipped to effectively support and teach LSL beginning at birth and continuing through the child’s learning and development; and
  • Children who are learning spoken language through listening and their families have opportunities to connect and socialize.

Our Core Values

The Oberkotter Foundation is committed to:

  • Integrating and coordinating all activities and investments in furtherance of our mission
  • Maintaining absolute commitment to parent choice
  • Investing in grantees and activities who are meeting the needs of children and families in a  dynamic and responsive manner and who are holding themselves accountable for achieving positive outcomes using leading edge methods
  • Employing and supporting Foundation staff members who are passionate, engaged, committed and knowledgeable and who strive for continuous improvement
  • Striving to be collaborative, approachable, consistent and clear in all interactions with partners and grantees
  • Disseminating information that is research and experience-based

Our Past Work

For over 30 years, the Oberkotter Foundation has supported programs where children who are deaf or hard of hearing can learn listening and spoken language. We have provided significant funding nationally, supporting approximately 50 programs throughout the country. This work has dramatically increased the number of opportunities for children who are deaf or hard of hearing to listen and talk.  In 2012, we adopted a Strategic Framework based on our past work and our plans for the future.

Our Future Work

In the remaining years of the Foundation, all of our activities and investments will be integrated and coordinated in furtherance of our mission.  We will carry out our work primarily through our grantmaking and through Hearing First.

  • As we have over the course of our 30 year history, we will continue to invest heavily in grantmaking and will be looking for programs and projects that meet the needs of children and families in dynamic and responsive ways.  Given what we know about brain development and language acquisition, we will place particular emphasis on services and projects for children ages 0-3 and their families.
  • As a support to families, professionals and the field generally, we will invest in Hearing First to serve as a multimedia connection point.  Through the activities of Hearing First, we will raise public awareness and improve outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing through listening and spoken language.
  • We recognize that no one organization can meet all of the needs of children and families and we will look for opportunities to facilitate and participate in partnerships and collaborations that leverage the reach and mission of the Foundation.