Our Work

Communication is connection.
Our ability to communicate and connect with each other is key to our success and happiness.

But one in six Americans has a speech, language, or hearing disorder that can keep them from reaching their full potential in school, work, and life. That’s 50 million people with conditions that can make human interaction a struggle to connect and convey ideas. Their everyday life can be very frustrating—and we all miss out on their potential contributions.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation (ASHFoundation) supports innovators and sparks innovation in the field of communication sciences and disorders. We provide resources for passionate and promising investigators exploring forward-thinking solutions and conducting groundbreaking research.

Human communication is complicated.

Physical, neurological, psychological, and social factors all affect our ability to connect with others. Professionals in this field—including audiologists and speech-language pathologists—need new knowledge, tools, and techniques to help people tackle their challenges.

Our programs are early investments in ingenuity, empowering innovators to chart new paths and equipping them to attract new resources. We achieve this through grants, scholarships, achievement awards, and special programs.

Our Stories

Naomi Rodgers

Funded in 2020

Naomi's ASHFoundation support is helping her research the role social environments play in the stuttering experience, particularly in adolescents. Her hope is to shine more light on what elements in the environment can trigger or help someone who stutters and how clinicians can help create humanistic treatments that support a person's well-being.

 

Pasquale Bottalico

Funded in 2019

Pasquale’s ASHFoundation support is helping him pursue research into how classroom acoustics affect what a student hears as well as how it affects a teacher’s vocal output. As his research continues, he hopes his findings will provide a foundation for updated classroom acoustic requirements in American classrooms.

 

Shae Morgan

Funded in 2017, 2019

Shae’s ASHFoundation support helped him pursue research into how people who wear cochlear implants can often miss crucial social components of speech. As his research continues, he hopes his findings will further underscore the need for greater advancement and innovation for hearing technology.

 

Raksha Mudar

Funded in 2017

Raksha’s ASHFoundation support funded her research into how hearing loss contributes to cognitive decline in older populations. As her research continues, she hopes to identify treatments and interventions that will help maintain a high quality of life as we all age.

 

Pumpki Lei Su

Funded in 2017, 2021

Pumpki’s ASHFoundation support helped propel her research into how “parentese” – the unique speaking style that many parents use when talking to their babies – can help language development in monolingual and bilingual children who struggle to learn language as well as children with autism spectrum disorder.

 
See a full list of our past recipients and read about their work.

Our Journey

The ASHFoundation was officially founded in 1946 by Wendell Johnson as the Speech Correction Research Foundation; we awarded our first research grant of $75 to Dr. William Love.

After a few decades of limited activity and a few name changes, the ASHFoundation was revitalized under the leadership of Frank R. Kleffner, who served on the board from 1981–1988, and other leaders. During his tenure, Kleffner oversaw the creation of our formal giving programs, as well as awards and special project programs. In 1989, with net assets at $228,000, we hired our first executive director.

Our first capital campaign—Dreams and Possibilities, launched in 1999—would yield $2 million by 2005. Today, the ASHFoundation’s assets are $17.8 million. Since our inception, we have awarded over $12.8 million to more than 2,500 doctoral and post-doctoral researchers, graduate students, and leaders in the field.

Our Donors


2023 ASHFoundation Annual Donors

2023 Annual Donors

Every year, thousands of individual donors help the ASHFoundation support innovators and spark innovation.

Meet the 2023 Donors [PDF]

Corporate Sponsors

Our corporate donors are vital to the success of ASHFoundation programs.

Meet the Corporate Sponsors

Our Leadership

Meet the ASHFoundation’s Board of Trustees.

Our Staff

Meet the ASHFoundation Staff.

Our Publications

View our Research Presentations and Publications.

The ASHFoundation, governed by a Board of Trustees, is affiliated with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a membership organization representing audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology assistants; and students.