Formerly the League for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the EAR Foundation

Case Management

The Case Management Specialist provides education, advocacy and accessible support and referral services for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing in the following areas:


Income & Employment:




Helpful Links

Youth Programs

Community Outreach & Education

Click here to find out more about our Community Classes.


In the 1920s, a young middle Tennessee mother named Margaret Lane Washington learned that she was losing her hearing. At that time, middle Tennessee offered no help for individuals who were Deaf or hard of hearing. So Mrs. Washington moved to Washington, D.C., where she studied lip reading and became a certified lip reading teacher.

Three years later, in 1927, she returned to her hometown of Murfreesboro and taught her first speech reading class at the Watkins Institute in downtown Nashville. Mrs. Washington's first class of 13 students became the nucleus of today's Bridges.

From one young woman's determination to help herself grew an organization that has helped thousands of Deaf and hard of hearing people in middle Tennessee and parts of southern Kentucky. Mrs. Washington remained a guiding light at the agency until her death in 1991.

Much has changed during the eight decades of our history. Our name changes, one in 2000, from the League for the Hearing Impaired to the League for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and in 2009 to Bridges is one example. Other changes include things such as technological advances including digital hearing aids, medical breakthroughs like cochlear implants, improved diagnostic techniques, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and an increasing number of people needing help for hearing loss.

Today, we are a not-for-profit, service-based organization serving the middle Tennessee area and parts of Kentucky rather than limiting our services to members. We provide services to the unserved/underserved populations.

We carry on the dream and legacy of Mrs. Washington, helping thousands of people regardless of the type of hearing loss and method of communication. They represent all social and economic backgrounds. What unites them is the common desire to live their lives to the fullest as active and contributing participants in our community.

The late Helen Keller once said that if given the choice between having her sight or her hearing, she would choose hearing. The reason, she explained, is that the loss of sight cuts you off from things. The loss of hearing, however, cuts you off from people.

Bridges unites the Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing communities through education, services, and support, empowering individuals to achieve their best. That's been our commitment for more than 80 years, and we are as dedicated to this purpose today as we were in 1927.

Board of Directors

Board tour of Bridges’s new building.
Eric Workman, Greg Pease, Jon Giese, Nancy Yater, Colleen Turner, Cathy Steger and John Forbes


Al Dorsey, Chair -  Franklin Synergy Bank

Lynn Winans, Vice Chair -   Hospital Corporation of America

Rebecca Leslie, Secretary -  Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

Steve Masie, Treasurer -  Rogers Group



Brad Blackman -  Lifeway Christian Resources

Carla Facer, AuD -  Cochlear Americas

John Forbes -  Retired Architect

Jon Giese -   Ozburn Hessey Logistics

Susie Hull -  Community Volunteer

Malcolm Howell  - Bill Wilkerson Center

Michael V. Liedel -  Regions Bank

Michele McKee -  Hachette Publishing

Valeria Matlock, EdD -  Tennessee State University

Kelly Miller -  Lattimore, Black, Morgan and Cain

Jessica O’Sullivan -  Dan McGuinness

Greg Pease -  Sherrad and Roe, PLC

Ann Sitton -  Brentwood Hearing Center, Retired

Colleen Turner -   Community Volunteer

Bob Tuke -  Trauger and Tuke

About Us


To unite the Deaf, the hard of hearing and the hearing communities through education, services and support, empowering individuals to achieve their full potential.


There are no barriers for Deaf and hard of hearing people to reach their goals.


Bridges is fortunate to provide programs and services because of generous donations from local individuals, corporate sponsors, and foundations. Activities are funded in part by the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, United Way of Clarksville and Montgomery County, The Memorial Foundation, Baptist Healing Trust Foundation, The Frist Foundation, Sertoma Club, the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Metropolitan Nashville Government, and many others. For information on the agency and other funders, please access Bridges on

Middle Tennessees premier not-for-profit source of interpreting, education and outreach, and youth services for the Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing communities