We are honored to be a recipient of the Smart Women of Columbus Awards.
The Smart Women Award honorees are entrepreneurs who have founded or co-founded for-profit or nonprofit organizations, women who have risen through the ranks of organizations across their distinguished careers, entities that develop and foster initiatives that support women, and men who advocate for the advancement of women. We are humbled to be part of this exclusive group of culturally conscious and authentic leadership.
Our company, Keepsake Theme Quilts, hires, trains, and promotes deaf individuals in a productive work environment free from communication barriers, where they produce unique, quality T-shirt Quilts which exceed the customer’s expectations. We are a nonprofit organization. All proceeds support our mission of hiring, training, and promoting deaf individuals in a productive work environment free from communication barriers, where they produce unique, quality T-shirt Quilts.
Deaf Initiatives was established by us in 1998 to provide initiatives that strengthen the potential of youth who are deaf or hard of hearing. A year later, it created a social purpose business, Keepsake Theme Quilts.
We are acutely aware that of one of the most challenging problems for the deaf in the workplace is that the workplace is organized around hearing people. In addition to creating a high-quality product through its T-shirt quilts, KTQ provides meaningful employment for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Everyone who works at KTQ is proficient in sign language, thus the flow of communication, exchange of ideas and ultimately the feeling of contribution that the deaf employees feel is high.
We have made over 9,200 quilts and currently employs 15 women and one man who are deaf or hard of hearing, two hearing women and one deaf student intern. As a testament to the supportive work environment, nearly half of the staff has been employed for more than 13 years.
We also employ junior production assistants, so local deaf and hard of hearing high school students can gain job experience. To date, KTQ has employed 24 assistants, 18 of whom were female and three who have transitioned into permanent employment. The student interns are also responsible for the Be Warm initiative, which utilizes excess material. Since 2015, nearly 1,000 blankets, hats, scarves and gloves have been donated to children and families experiencing homelessness.