Deshae Lott, a former student who earned her masters in 1994 and her doctorate in 1999, founded the 501(c)3 nonprofit CMMS Deshae Lott Ministries Inc. in 2007 wanting to contribute in a small way to the lives of others living with severe physical disabilities.
Once donations could support it in 2010, the non-profit’s board of directors, officers, and Selection Committee launched an Outreach Program. As of 2013 they have granted 30 awards totaling $25,250.
CMMS Deshae Lott Ministries Inc. awards scholarships to people with physical disabilities pursuing education beyond bachelor's degrees. Few scholarships offer financial support for people with disabilities in their pursuit for certification and degrees beyond the bachelor's level. Since students with disabilities face extra expenses related to personal/health care, the scholarships help scholars with severe disabilities defray such costs.
CMMS Deshae Lott Ministries Inc. also offers quality-of-life grants that support the efforts of people with severe physical disabilities who wish to stay in or return to their homes, avoiding institutionalization. The amounts offered for grants often will be smaller—$250 to $500—unless funds can go directly to medical providers or to a special needs trusts existing on behalf of the applicant; such limits are otherwise necessary to avoid jeopardizing benefits and services, especially health insurance, that people currently receive or are on wait-lists to receive.
The deadline for Scholarship Applications is July 1, and the winners are announced around Labor Day. Applications for quality-of-life grants are accepted before May 1 and before November 1 each year. Quality-of-Life Grant Applications received by May 1 can expect to hear back from the Outreach Selection Committee around Labor Day, when winners who met the May 1 deadline are announced. Quality-of-Life Grant Applications received by November 1 can expect to hear back from the Outreach Selection Committee by the end of the year; Quality-of-Life Grant winners who met the November 1 deadline will be announced each December.