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Past Award Winners | Northwest Access Fund

Past Award Winners

These annual Awards are presented to businesses, organizations and individuals who have made noteworthy efforts to include, serve, and help people with disabilities in Washington and Oregon. Congratulations to all our past award winners!


2016 Award Winners

Best Practices Award: Seattle Repertory Theatre

Seattle Repertory Theatre was recognized for installing a hearing loop throughout its facilities to improve the theater experience for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons, With this and other accommodations, the Rep is leading the way for universal access within the mainstream arts and culture scene.

Innovation Award: Captionfish.com

Brendan Gramer and Chris Sano are the creators and developers of captionfish.com, a captioned movies search engine that is available on the web and as an iPhone app. Captionfish lists the type of captioning by show time, nearby theater listings, captioned trailers and more, all in one easy place.

Frances Pennell Economic Opportunity Award: Washington Department of Services for the Blind

Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) continues to provide innovative employment solutions for people who are blind in Washington, including their intensive new self-employment workshops and entrepreneur opportunities.

Recreational Engagement Award: Vision Loss Connections

In 2004, Patt Copeland founded Vision Loss Connections, an all-volunteer organization that creates and supports recreational and educational activities for blind and low vision Puget Sound residents such as accessible museum tours and audio-described performances at the 5th Avenue Theatre.

Ron Adams Outstanding Client Award: Tim Carter

Tim Carter, a long-time friend and client, started his own business Nature City Photography in 2000. Today he has his own photography studio in Tacoma and volunteers with PowerCrews, helping others with disabilities start small businesses and achieve their dreams.


2015 Award Winners

Small Business Best Practices Award: Lincoln Pharmacy

Lincoln Pharmacy is recognized for their complimentary delivery of prescriptions, medical equipment, and other medical supplies to Tacoma residents including seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Large Business Best Practices Award: Microsoft’s Disability Answer Desk

Microsoft’s Disability Answer Desk provides product and accessibility support to people with disabilities. Recently they expanded their services, now offering American Sign Language (ASL) technical support for deaf customers whose preferred method of communication is ASL.

Innovation Award: Ivan Owen’’s co-creation of Low-cost 3D Printed Prosthetics

Ivan Owen, University of Washington, Bothell, is a self-proclaimed artist and designer. Ivan is being honored for his co-creation of the first low-cost 3D printed prosthetics. This very pioneering project was also made open source so the designs could have greater community impact.

Frances Pennell Economic Opportunity Award: Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.

Kirk Adams, President and CEO at The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., has successfully led aggressive efforts to increase employment and advancement opportunities for individuals who are blind, DeafBlind, and blind with other disabilities in Washington and across the nation.

Recreational Engagement Award: Skihawks Racing Team

Skihawks Racing Team provides training and racing opportunities for developmentally challenged athletes in alpine, Nordic, and snowboarding winter sports. In addition to gaining self-esteem by competing in Washington Special Olympics, team members benefit from the comradery of team sports and learning good sportsmanship.

Ron Adams Outstanding Client Award: Scott Palm

Scott Palm, a WAF client since 2004, first took out a loan to found Palmtree Enterprises as a mentoring service. More recently Scott has been traveling around the state presenting Disability Awareness: How to Work Together, a program which trains caregivers from a client’s perspective.


2014 Award Winners

Best Practice Award: Ark Lodge Cinemas

When members of the deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing community requested open captioning at his theater, David McRae willingly incurred the additional expenses so it was available for the premier of “the Hobbit”. He has also purchased a close captioned system and a descriptive video system for all three of his movie screens.

Innovation Award: MagicWheels

The challenge of negotiating hills, ramps, curb cuts and door thresholds in a non-motorized wheelchair is made easier with MagicWheels. Invented and manufactured locally, they were perfected with federal and state research funds. They offer self-contained 2-to-1 gearing and hill holding, all built into the wheel.

Frances Pennell Economic Opportunity Award: Caryl Wolf

Caryl Wolf volunteered her counseling and training services when the nonprofit she had been working at closed its doors. She then founded a new nonprofit – Benefits Central – and she continues to go the extra mile to guide people with disabilities who want to work and become self-sufficient.

Recreational Engagement Award: Outdoors for All

Utilizing over 700 volunteers, Outdoors for All enriches the lives of children and adults with physical, developmental, and sensory disabilities. Their all season programming offers hiking, winter sports, boating, campind and rock climbing to thousands of people with disabilities each year.

Ron Adams Outstanding Client Award: Melissa “echo” Greenlee

echo’s participation in the Washington Access Fund’s Individual Development Account program allowed her to found a web-based business: deaffriendly.com. With deaffriendly.com she guides deaf and hard of hearing consumers to welcoming businesses through reviews. She helps businesses learn how to become more deaf-friendly through articles and advice.