Prior to arriving in Rochester, N.Y., Chad A. Ludwig co-founded the Festival for Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing People in Seattle in June 2004. Chad remained actively involved with this effort until March 2009, when he landed a new career opportunity with The Z® as regional sales manager for Upstate New York.

By June 2009, the Rochester Deaf Festival was born at Ellison Park with The Z® playing a vital role in the event’s implementation. As a company that provides video communication solutions that bridge the communication gap, The Z® believes in community enhancement and, thus, remains in a significant role by supporting this organization’s success.

Rochester Deaf Festival was created after seeing a need for an annual festival to bring the Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing and their family and friends together. It serves as a forum to exchange information about services available and promote Deaf culture, history and values. Above all, the event supports, strengthens and enhances the Deaf community via activities, events and gatherings.

In 2011, Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, Inc.—with support by Margit Brazda Poirier, CEO of Grant4Good—introduced us to Thomas M. Tuori, an attorney with Harter, Secrest and Emery, LLP. Together, we have worked toward getting Rochester Deaf Festival incorporated as a nonprofit organization. Together, we have worked toward getting Rochester Deaf Festival incorporated as a nonprofit organization. The 501(c)(3) is certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Donations made to Rochester Deaf Festival will be retroactive to the date of incorporation on December 12, 2011.

With the highest per capita population of Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing individuals in the United States, Rochester is rich in Deaf culture and history and is supported by highly respected institutions such as the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (a college of Rochester Institute of Technology) and the Rochester School for the Deaf (for K–12 youth), as well as numerous recreation clubs, advocacy groups and other organizations. Rochester Deaf Festival is fortunate to be a part of this amazing community, and we continue to see great growth.

Come and join the Deaf experience!