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The idea for the creation of the Greater Los Angeles Council on Deafness (GLAD) began in the minds of two graduate students, Henry Klopping and Richard Babb, members of the 1969 class of the National Leadership Training Program in the Area of the Deaf at San Fernando Valley State College, now known as the California State University, Northridge. The two men produced a study that indicated there was a need for a coordinating council of, by, and for the deaf.

In April 1969 a group of 25 representatives of organizations of the deaf and others who were involved with the deaf community, met at the invitation of Dr. Ray L. Jones, the director of the SFVSC program for deaf students, and representatives from the California Association of the Deaf to discuss the formation of an organization to serve the deaf and hard of hearing community in the greater Los Angeles area. By December 1969, the Greater Los Angeles Council on Deafness was created.

In November 1970, the first issue of the GLAD News was published. This four-page newsletter was edited and printed voluntarily by GLAD board members, several of whom happened to be printers or typesetters. In 1971, GLAD became incorporated as a nonprofit organization and published its first resource directory. From 1970 to 1974, the GLAD board and volunteers from the community occupied free temporary offices in Pilgrim Towers, a Los Angeles home for deaf and hard of hearing senior citizens. The first advocacy efforts of the Agency focused on the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, where volunteers provided deputies with sign language classes and training sessions on deafness and deaf people.

In 1974 Leonard Meyer entered the National Leadership Training Program at CSUN, and as President of GLAD, he wrote a program to add a service arm to the organization after his needs assessment with the deaf community validated the demand for it. One of the Board Members, Ellen Urlich, was chosen to approach United Way for office space for this new service. United Way graciously donated a small office. Marcella Meyer arrived on the scene as a volunteer and quickly set up GLAD INFO (United Way’s Information Service) making it accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people in the community. The following year, Meyer was hired as GLAD’s first executive director, along with a staff of two. That same year the GLAD Interpreter Pool, which was the first of its kind in the nation, was created. Funding from the Department of Rehabilitation in 1975 allowed GLAD to open a South Central Outreach office. In 1978, a demonstration grant from the Department of Social Services enabled GLAD to open outreach offices in San Gabriel Valley and Orange County, and the Community Service for the Deaf in Van Nuys became the GLAD San Fernando Valley Outreach. In 1979, Los Angeles GLAD moved into new headquarters on South Westmoreland Avenue.

GLAD’s big break occurred in 1980, when AB2980, authored by Assemblyman Richard Alatorre, created the Office of Deaf Access, to provide funding for GLAD and two other agencies, DCARA (Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency) in the Bay area and NORCAL COD (Northern California Center on Deafness) in Sacramento, thus expanding services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing people throughout the state of California. B-GLAD in Bakersfield and OC DEAF (Orange County Deaf Equal Access Foundation) in Buena Park were also agencies formed that year. In 1985, GLAD contracted with the state Employment Development Department to establish GLAD-EDD offices in Culver City, San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley. LIFESIGNS, a 24-hour interpreter referral service, was launched in 1986 (a spin off from GLAD-INFO). In 1987 GLAD set up AIDS Education for the Deaf. GLAD’s Tri-County outreach office in Ventura opened in 1988.

In 1990, GLAD’s Tobacco Control Program was initiated with funding from the state. Two years later, GLAD became a national model for AIDS education for the deaf and hard of hearing with a grant from the Centers for Disease Control. A restructuring in 1991 formed the GLAD Agency Board of Directors to formulate guidelines, development and policy for the agency. The Council of Organizations, representing the various Los Angeles area service groups, became the GLAD Advisory Council.

The Board of Directors voted in 1993 to begin searching for a new Deaf Community Center site. Before the year ended, GLAD purchased the 1927 Women’s Christian Temperance Union Home for Women in Eagle Rock with funds from a grant from the City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Department and a Capital Campaign. In 1994 GLAD relocated to the WCTU property while it was undergoing a major renovation project.

In 1995, GLAD’s Health Education Department continued to grow, with grants from the State Office of Health Services, Blue Cross of California, Los Angeles County Health Services and private foundations. That year the Office of Deaf Access awarded GLAD a grant to provide services to Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The GLAD Board of Directors met in Palm Desert to draft a Five-Year Plan, with primary focus on expanded family services, legal programs and job readiness projects.

In 1995, GLAD Interpreter Referral Program was transferred to LIFESIGNS. GLAD, through funding from State Department of Health Services, entered into collaborations with other deaf and hard-of-hearing agencies throughout the state to provide health education to deaf and hard-of-hearing teens.

Construction began on the WCTU building in 1996. GLAD expanded its outreach efforts by hiring of a Trilingual Specialist. That year a new Foundation Board was created with representatives from large corporations and foundations as well as individuals who had strong ties to hearing communities not yet reached by GLAD. Also in 1997 GLAD’s outreach offices became independently incorporated. GLAD became involved with several community education activities through grants such as “Plug-In California” where the deaf community was educated about electrical service charges. Other activities included deaf teen tobacco use research with UCLA, and an HIV education video funded by the Magic Johnson Foundation.

In September 1998, GLAD moved into the newly renovated WCTU building and, with assistance from HUD (the US Department of Housing and Urban Development), began to provide affordable housing to deaf and hard-of-hearing low-income seniors on the third floor of the building. Shortly thereafter, Marcella Meyer retired as GLAD’s CEO after 25 years with the agency. The Board hired Mark Apodaca as CEO.

In 1998 GLAD entered the technological age with a video-conferencing project called the Telecommunication and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP). Also GLAD started the Video Relay Service (VRS) trial program, which helped to develop the technology to further integrate deaf people into mainstream society. In November 1999, GLAD opened its newest outreach office in the Antelope Valley, serving residents of the Palmdale/Lancaster area. HUD also honored GLAD with a Best Practice Award in 1999 for its beautiful Deaf Community Center.

Late in 1999 the GLAD Board hired Sheri Farinha Mutti as Interim CEO to guide the agency during the search for a full time CEO. In January 2003 after a lengthy national search, the GLAD Board announced the hiring of Dr. Patricia Hughes as the CEO of GLAD. More information to come…

In 2011, with funding from the City of Los Angeles, GLAD completed the demolition project, which removed two unused buildings from the Deaf Community Center campus.



It all started with a dream…

Henry Klopping and Richard Babb, two graduate students from the Leadership Training Program in the Area of the Deaf at San Fernando State College, currently California State University, Northridge (CSUN), produced a study that showed there was a need for an organization that wasOf, by and for the deaf in Southern California.

As a result of that study the Greater Los Angeles Council on Deafness was born.

And the rest is history…

…The 70’s


First issue of GLAD News is published.


GLAD is incorporated.


GLAD Board and volunteers occupy temporary offices donated by Pilgrim Tower.


GLAD moves into space donated by United Way.

Marcella Meyer is hired by GLAD as the first executive director, along with a staff of two.

The GLAD interpreter pool is established, the first of its kind in the nation.


GLAD opens outreach offices in Orange County, the San Gabriel Valley, and the San Fernando Valley.


GLAD moves to new headquarters on Westmoreland Avenue.

…The 80’s


Assemblyman Richard Alatorre authors legislation on creating the Office of Deaf Access which provides funding for GLAD and seven other agencies serving deaf and hard of hearing people throughout the State of California.


B-GLAD opens in Bakersfield.

OC DEAF opens with an office in Buena Park.


LIFESIGNS, a 24-hour emergency interpreter referral service, is launched.


GLAD vs PBS Broadcasting heralded a new era in closed captioning for television.


GLAD creates AIDS Education & Services for the Deaf.


Tri-County GLAD outreach office opens in Ventura.

… The 90’s


GLAD Tobacco Control Program is created with funding from the California Department of Health Services.


GLAD Advisory Council is formed.


GLAD becomes a model for AIDS education for the deaf with a grant from the Center on Disease Control.


GLAD purchases historic landmark Women’s Christian Temperance Union building (WCTU) in Eagle Rock with a grant from the City of Los Angeles.


GLAD relocates to the WCTU.

GLAD joins forces with United Way, the Red Cross, and FEMA to assist survivors of the devastating Northridge earthquake.

GLAD hosts the first Deaf Education Coalition Summit at nearby Occidental College.


GLAD is awarded a grant to provide services to Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.


GLAD collaborates with other agencies to provide health education and pregnancy prevention programs to deaf and hard of hearing teens.


Renovation begins at the WCTU building.

GLAD creates the Latino Outreach Program.

Outreach offices are independently incorporated.

GLAD becomes involved with several community education activities through grants such as “Plug-In-California” to educate the deaf community about electrical service charges, Deaf Teen Tobacco Use research with UCLA and HIV education video funded by the Magic Johnson Foundation.


GLAD and Sprint enter into a partnership to provide California Relay Service outreach and education.

GLAD advances into the technological age with video conferencing project called the Telecommunication and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP), designed to improve the telecommunication relay system.

GLAD hosts the first annual Father & Son Weekend.

Grand opening of the new GLAD Headquarters and Deaf Community Center at the WCTU building.

Affordable housing offered in the building for deaf and hard of hearing senior citizens.

CEO Marcella Meyer retires after 24 years with GLAD.

Mark Apodaca becomes the new CEO of GLAD.


GLAD celebrates its 30th anniversary with a banquet and awards ceremony in Santa Monica.

Tri-County GLAD hosts first Teen Leadership Camp.

GLAD opens an outreach office in Antelope Valley.

GLAD is honored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development with a Best Practice Award.

…The 2000’s


GLAD hosts the First Annual Corporate Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Sprint to honor outstanding corporations and individuals who have supported the mission of GLAD and the deaf community.

GLAD hosts the First Annual Cinco de Mayo Party and the first Chicano/Latino Family Learning Retreat, co-sponsored by the California School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Latino Outreach Project.

Settlement of a federal lawsuit (Diamond) began a new era of collaboration between the Los Angeles Police Dept. and GLAD to provide culturally appropriate training for law enforcement personnel. GLAD staff continues to serve on the LAPD Professional Advisory Committee.

GLAD hires interim CEO Sherri Farinha Mutti.


GLAD continues efforts with UCLA in breast cancer research among deaf & hard of hearing women.

Wyndtell collaborates with GLAD to host the Second Annual Corporate Awards Luncheon.

GLAD goes Hollywood and creates Public Services Announcements; 30 to 60-second commercials aired on national, local and cable networks informing the public of the various services at GLAD.

Literacy program for children established at GLAD by a local high school.


GLAD vs. Los Angeles County Probation Dept held that deaf/hard of hearing minors are entitled to effective communication in juvenile halls, camps, community placement and Probation Dept. programs.

GLAD hosts a phenomenal Deaf Women’s Day event.

GLAD celebrates 10 years as a Deaf Expo Sponsor.

New technology and corporate sponsorship allows Video Relay Service to be offered at GLAD offices.

GLAD participates in the annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles.

California AIDS Clearinghouse awards GLAD’s Deaf Women’s Outreach Program for “Going above and beyond the call of duty in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

Parent Links Program created to support parents in making informed choices for their deaf children.

GLAD hits the local radio station with Public Service Announcements to attract listeners who are interested in learning more about the Deaf Community.

Rocky Horror Picture Show benefit was held to raise money and awareness for GLAD at the Eagle Rock Theater.

GLAD Health Education Dept. hosts GLOW, an HIV/AIDS Awareness Workshop and Dance Party for over 300 teens.

GLAD Bookstore makes its debut on the World Wide Web.


Dr. Patricia Hughes joins the GLAD family as the new CEO.

GLAD hosts its first annual fundraising event at the world renowned House of Blues in West Hollywood.

GLAD gets a new name:  Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc.


GLAD sues Bob Hope Airport for communication access.

GLAD opens advocacy satellite offices in Victorville, Van Nuys and El Camino College in the city of Torrance.

GLAD obtains State funding to create a model 1-stop employment center that provides communication access technology for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

First annual Employment Development Department (EDD) Job Fair held at GLAD headquarters.

GLAD celebrates its 35th anniversary with a “Lasting Light Gala” day of fun for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families.


GLAD lawsuit against Bob Hope Airport settled. Airport will install videophone kiosks, announcement/message monitors,  and other communication access tools for public access.

Technology has opened doors to the workplace. Accessible Career Communication & Employment Success Strategies (ACCESS) was implemented to bridge communication needs, a joint project between GLAD-EDD and the Northeast San Fernando Valley WorkSource California Career Center.

GLAD develops a partnership with UCLA Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research/Johnson Comprehensive Cancer Center to conduct research on breast cancer prevention and awareness.

New Case Management Health Care Access program provides support and referral services throughout LA County.

A GLAD staff member became the first deaf Extreme Makeover star on ABC.

Class action lawsuit against Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department settled to provide effective communication for deaf/hard of hearing individuals in the field and in LA jails.

Beethoven’s Nightmare performs benefit concert for GLAD at the El Rey theater.


Shattering the Glass Walls award presented to Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin at the 6th Annual GLAD Brunch for being one of the most recognizable and successful role models in defying convention.

GLAD, committed to playing an active role in the fight against HIV/AIDS, made a meaningful difference by walking as a team in the AIDSWALK as part of the AIDS Project Los Angeles Community Coalition Initiative.

GLAD hosted the first ever Taste of Eagle Rock benefit event.

GLAD was awarded $275,000 from the City of Los Angeles Community Development Department for the demolition of the Annex portion of the facility.


GLAD opens the doors to its new Visual Communications Center with support from the S. Mark Taper Foundation, Sorenson Communications and Purple Communications providing accessibility with state of the art videophone technology.

Eyes of Deafness:  photography by 20 deaf and hard of hearing adults, led by Blair Wells, held gallery exhibitions exposing life through deaf eyes while raising funds for interpreting services at alcohol/drug-related rehabilitation meetings.

For V-Day 2010, an all-deaf cast gave 2 sold-out performances, with the goal of providing domestic violence services to the community, raising funds for emergency housing, food, public transportation and ADA compliance kits.

As community partner for the film “See What I’m Saying”, GLAD celebrated the film’s nationwide release of the critically acclaimed deaf entertainers’ documentary.

The late Marcella Meyer was selected for the prestigious “Black Pearl Award” honoring her legacy as a lifelong advocate. GLAD continues to accept donations to the MMM Scholarship Fund.

GLAD launches social media outlets on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Hollywood choking incident garners nationwide exposure to the severe lack of proper security procedures in communicating with deaf and hard of hearing consumers. GLAD continues to actively educate the public about ADA compliance.

With funding from the City of Los Angeles, GLAD completed the Annex demolition project, which removed two unused buildings from the Deaf Community Center campus.

GLAD hosted it’s exceptional 9th Annual GLAD Benefit Extravaganza at the world-famous House of Blues event hosted by Ken Paves. Guests enjoyed the red carpet experience and the uplifting GLAD program hosted by Ken Paves with special guests Eva Longoria & Marlee Matlin, featuring Sean Forbes with performances and appearances by the cast of our Title Sponsor ABC Family’s “Switched at Birth” Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano, Constance Marie, Lea Thompson, Lucas Grabeel and Sean Berdy, Amber Zion, Anthony Natale, Cheri Oteri, Camryn Manheim, Fabian Sanchez, Felicity Huffman, Jody Stevenson, John Maucere, Kim Kardashian, Lisa Vanderpump, Mark Levin/DJ Digital Aids, Michael Spady, Nyke Prince, Robin Antin, Shoshannah Stern, Tommy Korn, and Tyrone Giordano. What better way to host a nightclub fabulous event than to have a special performance by one of the most prolific and talented artists in music history…Mr. Stevie Wonder! As a global leader Mr. Stevie Wonder has used his extraordinary talents to be an ambassador for civil rights and social justice along with improving the way disabilities are perceived by society.

A class action lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court alleges that Time Warner Inc., the owner of discriminates against people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing by failing to provide any captioning of its on-line videos on its website.  The suit is the first of its kind in the country and the suit is brought by GLAD on behalf of its members with hearing loss, and three individual plaintiffs.