Category Archives: Fundraising

Win a ticket to CSUN and support Knowbility!

CSUN’s International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference is an amazing conference in its twenty-eighth year. Knowbility is extremely proud to be associated with the conference – Sharron will deliver four sessions this year!

Best of all, we’re giving you the opportunity to support Knowbility and win a chance for one of two tickets to this year’s conference. Simply donate $40 or more via PayPal, and we’ll send you a raffle ticket. We’ll conduct the drawing on January 31st, and winners will be notified February 1st.

Why attend CSUN?

Fresh viewpoints. Representatives from all over the world who work in and/or with assistive technology share information and perspectives.

Unique opportunities. Attendees and presenters at CSUN have the chance to give their input on and influence legislation and policy-making around disability issues.

Networking. Get to know new contacts and network both on an individual and B2B level. There is ample time and places for gathering in smaller groups, meeting for drinks and dinner, and general social network building and gathering.

Educational rewards. Attendees learn about emerging assistive technology in educational sessions for subject matter students and experts.

Why support Knowbility?

Knowbility is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that depends on your support. You can help by giving generously. All contributions are fully tax deductible and you can designate that your gift support any of our fantastic programs. Just indicate on your check or your PayPal donation form that you would like your gift to support any of the following:

  • Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) community training for nonprofits and web development professionals
  • ATSTAR, helping teachers understand and implement assistive technology for K-12 students
  • AccessWorks, employing and training veterans and others with disabilities in accessible information technology
  • Staff participation in W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Working Groups
  • Be used wherever the need is greatest

Year End Wrap Up

By Sharron Rush, Executive Director

As 2012 comes to a close, we at Knowbility hope you have had a good year.  We look back at a year of tremendous progress in the field of accessibility, watching changes that we have anticipated for many years coming to pass. Since 1998, Knowbility looked for ways to build collaborative efforts to scale the Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) beyond our home town of Austin, Texas. We knew that web professionals who learned accessible design skills in the context of this fun, friendly competition tended to become accessibility advocates for life.  And this year, under the leadership of Chair Rich Schwerdtfeger and Education Task Force lead Hiram Kuykendall, AIR recruited more than a dozen teams from all over the world and provided them with distance training in the nuts of bolts of accessible web design. Stay tuned for outcomes and awards in early 2013.

Other changes were driven by legislation.  The 2010 passage of the 21st Century Communication and Video Accessibility Act raised awareness of the need for captions and audio description. Now that technologists are aware of the challenges, tools have improved and accessible multimedia is becoming the standard. Did you know that our AccessWorks program – in addition to providing user experience testing and document remediation – now also employs people with disabilities to caption your videos? Call us for more information about video captioning services that employs people with disabilities.

Educational professionals seem to be learning that as they provide curriculum products that are accessible to students with disabilities, they are solving problems of learning differences for all of their students.  We are working with Virtual School Networks and developers of computer based tests. Our ATSTAR program is helping teachers and teachers-in-training learn to include all students.

Please read on to learn more about how our programs are helping to ensure technology access for all.  And if you know an individual, a company, or an agency that has done good work in accessibility and would like to shine a light on that work, please use the online form to nominate accessibility champions for our Achievements in Accessibility award.  We are hoping that this will be the first of an annual series of spotlights on the good work being done in our global community.

Every day, we find ourselves grateful to be part of such a dedicated group of innovators and collaborators.  It is a privilege to do this work in such good company. Many thanks for your support and fellowship as we strive for equal access to technology opportunities for all.


Knowbility Signs Deque Systems as Major Sponsor for Worldwide Accessible Internet Rally (AIR)

Austin-based nonprofit Knowbility, Inc. has signed on Deque Systems as a major sponsor for Open AIR, the worldwide web design competition benefitting people with disabilities and nonprofit organizations. Open AIR makes web sites accessible to people who are blind, hearing impaired, mobility impaired or who have other disabilities. The best web designs receive awards and international recognition. Participating nonprofits receive new, accessible web sites.

Deque Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of automated web accessibility software solutions. In addition to financial support, Deque will provide Open AIR site judges with access to the Worldspace Sync testing tool for evaluating accessibility. Knowbility is excited to welcome Deque CEO, Preety Kumar, to AIR’s panel of esteemed judges.

Knowbility, Inc. is a national leader in web accessibility whose mission is to support the independence of people with disabilities by promoting the use and improving the availability of accessible information technology.

Development teams, non-profits, individuals, and sponsors can register to participate in Open AIR at

About Open AIR

Open AIR provides basic and advanced training in accessible web design and free web sites to nonprofit organizations. Development teams are given one month to code, then come together on Rally Day (November 17th) to finish their sites in a high-energy environment. Sites are judged based on accessibility, usability, design and use of media. Teams will compete in regions, with the top-ranked sites of each region moving on to a second round of judging and awards presented at a SXSW event. The first place team will win tickets to SXSW Interactive 2014!

The last day for team registration is October 1, 2012, and nonprofit/development team matches will be announced at the Kick Off, held October 17th. Training for both teams and non-profit organizations, which are essential to participants getting the best experience possible, is available online, on-demand.

The registration fee for development teams is $100 (team of four). Individuals who may not have teams – web designers, project managers, graphic artists and content developers – can register and be placed on a rally team. Registration fee for non-profit organizations is also $100. Participating nonprofits receive a professionally-built accessible website.

To learn more about the AIR program, visit or contact Ella Jane Moore, Community Programs Manager, at

About Deque Systems

Deque Systems – – provides automated testing for web accessibility, along with consulting and training services, to make corporate and government web sites accessible to people with disabilties and compliant with federal and state accessibility guidelines. cares about accessibility

Readability logo


Rich Ziade of announced today that his company will donate $50,000 to Knowbility. Rich said that the gift is because “We think you’re doing great, important work.” did not set out to benefit people with disabilities specifically. Begun as a way to unclutter web pages and allow readers direct access to page content, Readability has been widely adopted by people with disabilities, including cognitive impairments, low vision and those who use screen readers.   It is an excellent example of how, as John Slatin used to say, “Good design IS accessible design.”

Since Knowbility is in the midst of our first ever official fundraising effort, I wondered how Readability got wind of us and our work.  Talking with Rich when he called yesterday, he let us know that one of the company advisors is Jeffrey Zeldman, an established leader in web standards and an advocate for accessibility himself.  Jeffrey polled the disability/accessibility community and Knowbility’s was the work that was most often mentioned.  What an incredible honor!  So on behalf of millions of kids and adults with disabilities who lead more independent lives thanks to accessible technology we want to say thank you!

I sent Rich this background information, and they are making the announcement today:

About Knowbility

Since 1998, Knowbility has been raising awareness and training web professionals about why and how to make the online world fully accessible to all – including people with disabilities. Knowbility promotes equal technology access by producing community programs including the Accessible Internet Rally, an accessible web design competition; the ATSTAR program, helping teachers get assistive technology to the students who need it; and AccessWorks, putting veterans and others with disabilities to work in technology fields. Knowbility’s mission is barrier-free I.T. – great corporate citizens!

At a time when nonprofit organizations are challenged to find needed resources to do mission-driven work, companies like demonstrate that responsible corporate citizens can play a large and important role.  Kudos and deepest gratitude to Rich, Jeffrey and all who do this good work in our global community.

Please support Knowbility programs

For the first time in our 14 year history, Knowbility is launching an annual fund drive.  We are fortunate to have been able to earn fees for many of our training and consulting services. But our foundational programs have community roots that need nurture and support. Our goal is to raise $150,000 to keep our programs strong. Won’t you help us meet that goal?

We are asking for your support of those programs, currently at risk, that serve nonprofit organizations, K-12 schools, and employment of people with disabilities.  For example:

  • The Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) is a community program that builds accessible web sites for nonprofit organizations.  Previously funded by corporate donations and city grants, those funds are not being offered in 2012.  Donate to AIR programs.
  • ATSTAR is an acronym for Assistive Technology Strategies, Tools, Accommodations and Resources. The program helps classroom teachers understand assistive technology and make assessments to ensure that kids get the AT they need to succeed. Originally funded through Department of Education pass through grants, those funds are no longer available. Donate to support ATSTAR.
  • AccessWorks, a program previously funded by the Developmental Disability Council, trains and hires people with disabilities – many of them veteran with disabilities – to perform accessibility testing and remediation on electronic documents.  Help AccessWorks employ veterans.

At a time when educational, employment, and social opportunities rely on equal access to web technologies, we cannot afford to lock people out.  Knowbility’s programs make a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities and their families.  Please help us continue to serve them.

Thank you,

Sharron Rush
Executive Director.