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Kessler Foundation publishes annual reports, newsletters, and other informative pieces for consumer and professional audiences. Please see below for our recent publications, including:

Annual Reports
Traumatic Brain Injury Newsletters
Spinal Cord Injury Newsletters
Disability Employment Publications
Special Research Publications
Kessler Foundation's e-Newsletters

For news, visit Kessler Foundation's news page.

Annual Reports:
Kessler Foundation's 2013 Annual Report
(view our online edition, with multimedia and bonus content: www.kesslerfoundation.wix.com/2013annualreport)
Kessler Foundation's 2012 Annual Report
(online edition: www.kesslerfoundation.wix.com/2012annualreport)
Kessler Foundation's 2011 Annual Report

Kessler Foundation's 2010 Annual Report
Kessler Foundation's 2009 Annual Report
Kessler Foundation's 2009 Interactive Annual Report
(features video clips, a slide show, and audio clips from Kessler Foundation's senior staff and research scientists that highlight Kessler Foundation's research and program developments)

Traumatic Brain Injury Newsletter:
TBI News & Views Winter 2013
TBI News & Views Spring 2013
TBI News & Views Fall 2012
TBI News & Views Winter 2012
TBI News & Views Summer 2011
TBI News & Views Winter 2010
TBI News & Views Summer 2010

Spinal Cord Injury Newsletter:
SCI Connections 2014, Vol. 3, No. 1
SCI Connections Summer 2013
SCI Connections Winter 2012

Research and You
Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury System - Research and You

Disability Employment Publications:
Kessler Foundation Funded: Best Practice Examples to Increase Employment for People with Disabilities - Completed and Ongoing Examples
trategies to Support Employer-Driven Initiatives to Recruit and Retain Employees with Disabilities
Creating a Pathway to a Better Financial Future: Developing State Strategies for Asset Development and Wealth Creation for People with Disabilities
Social Enterprise Businesses: A Strategy for Creating Good Jobs for People with Disabilities
A Call to Action: The 2010 Survey of Employment of Americans with Disabilities
The ADA 20 Years Later: The 2010 Survey of Americans With Disabilities

  Special Research Publications (visit each lab page in Kessler Foundation's Research Center for a complete list of publications):
Neurologic Disability: A Hidden Epidemic for India


Kessler Foundation's e-Newsletter:
e-Newsletter Spring 2014 - Disability Employment Edition
          - Destination Desserts Provides 'Sweet' Opportunities for Employing People with Disabilities
          - Kessler Foundation's Elaine E. Katz Discusses Disability Employment Initiatives on One-on-One with Steve Adubato
          - Read More on How Your Donations are Changing the Lives of People with Disabilities
          - Kessler Foundation Announces $2.7 Million to Improve Employment for People with Disabilities
e-Newsletter Winter 2013 - Holiday Edition 
e-Newsletter Spring 2013
e-Newsletter Winter 2012
e-Newsletter Fall 2012
e-Newsletter Special Edition: ADA Anniversary - Summer 2012
e-Newsletter Spring 2012
e-Newsletter Winter 2011
e-Newsletter Fall 2011
e-Newsletter Summer 2011


Destination Desserts Provides 'Sweet' Opportunities for Employing People with Disabilities

David decorates the cupcakes early in the morning to get ready for the day’s sales. Ally hops in the food truck and begins setting up—ten varieties of cupcakes, coffees and lattes, smoothies, pastries, cookies, brownies, and other mouth-watering creations. Tiffany goes out with the truck and fills customer orders. This is a typical day for employees at Destination Desserts; they just happen to have disabilities.

In 2012, Kessler Foundation awarded a $500,000 Signature Employment Grant to the Center for Head Injury Services, in St. Louis, Missouri, to establish Destination Desserts—a social enterprise to expand job training and employment opportunities for individuals with brain injury and other cognitive learning disabilities. Following the trend of a mobile unit that brings products directly to customers, Destination Desserts purchased a food truck and decorated it with pictures of their tempting treats.

You’ll find the truck parked outside corporate offices at lunch time, local sporting and entertainment events, parks, and other locations where just having something sweet can make someone’s day even brighter. Customers can’t wait to see the truck and get their hands on “some of the best desserts in town.” On the menu, you can find the Rocky Road Cupcake, Need-A-Napkin Brownie, Turtle Cupcake, German Chocolate Cupcake, Wedding Cake Cupcake, Gooey Butter Cookie, Snickerdoodle Cookie, and many others. It doesn’t matter that the people baking and serving the items have disabilities; all that matters is the taste. The taste is so delicious that Destination Desserts has already been asked to make wedding cakes.

The enterprise prepares individuals with disabilities for lasting careers in the food industry. Taken from the vocational rehabilitation program at the Center for Head Injury Services, trainees learn about food preparation, sanitation, and safety protocols. They then rotate to different stations to learn the various jobs at Destination Desserts, including mixing ingredients, baking, washing dishes and cleaning, decorating baked goods, taking dessert orders, setting up the truck, and sales. Once their training is complete, they are either hired by Destination Desserts or the Center markets their new skills to other potential employers in the community.

Employees with disabilities work side-by-side with those without disabilities and earn equal, market-rate wages. But ask them what they like most about their jobs. Their first response isn’t “making money.” It’s about being a part of something bigger. As Donna Gunning, executive director of the Center, explained, “Employees feel a sense of excitement and pride to be a part of a new venture and are motivated to make it work. As they master new skills, their self-confidence increases and they experience success. Soon, individuals request to learn even more tasks.”

David, for example, volunteered in the kitchen of an elder home. Already having some experience, Destination Desserts provided the perfect opportunity and he soon found himself earning his first paycheck. A year later, he continues to be one of the best decorators. Knowing just what frostings need to be handled with extra delicate care, David makes everything beautiful to the eyes and delectable to the taste buds.

Ally is one of the most cheerful and outgoing people you will ever meet. She arranges the dessert displays perfectly to make stomachs grumble with hungry anticipation.

While Tiffany has difficulty communicating, she fully understands her job tasks and adapts to new challenges. She enjoys selling cupcakes to customers and ensures perfect packaging. Always with a smile, she thanks customers for their business.

David, Ally, and Tiffany all have one thing in common—they love their jobs. “Without Kessler Foundation’s funding, guidance, and innovative thinking, we would not have been able to expand into the business we have today or hire more employees,” explained Donna.

Kessler Foundation donors were a part of providing opportunities for these wonderful individuals and, in turn, improving their confidence, independence, and self-sufficiency. We look forward to funding more initiatives that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities and watching them contribute their skills.


Kessler Foundation's Elaine E. Katz Discusses Disability Employment Initiatives on One-on-One with Steve Adubato

On One-on-One with Steve Adubato, which aired on April 22nd, Kessler Foundation's Senior Vice President of Grants & Communications Elaine E. Katz discussed the Foundation's work in disability employment and rehabilitation research. Under the direction of Katz, Kessler Foundation awards grants to innovative initiatives that create or expand job training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Projects funded include social enterprises and public/private partnerships--in which nonprofits that specialize in disability issues partner with for-profit businesses to create a universally-accessible workforce and develop hiring programs that set a standard for hiring people with disabilities—and other special initiatives.

In the interview, Katz explained, "We’re a very different foundation [and] funding model.  We not only provide the information, but we collaborate with the [organizations]. We will trouble shoot projects and we’re very accessible.  Our goal is to develop the best practices...in the fields of employment for people with disabilities...and share them nationally."

Kessler Foundation awarded a grant to Caucus Educational Corporation, the production company of One on One to produce and broadcast a series of segments that highlight the importance of including people with disabilities in the workforce and the many contributions they make to enhance the productivity of businesses.

Read More on How Your Donations are Changing the Lives of People with Disabilities

In Kessler Foundation's 2013 Annual Report, you'll learn how your dollars are being put to work and how they are changing the lives of individuals with spinal cord and brain injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and other disabilities. In 2013, the Foundation achieved new milestones in rehabilitation research, the funding of disability employment initiatives, and raising awareness of new treatments as well as the benefits of hiring job-seekers with disabilities. With your support, more individuals with disabilities are improving their function, earning a paycheck for the first time, and finding independence. Read the print or interactive online edition of the 2013 Annual Report. Inside you'll find updates on research, information on the new Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation, data findings from the National Trends in Disability Employment monthly report, updates on disability employment funded initiatives, summaries of how the Foundation's staff shared findings in research and employment, and highlight's of the year's major news, and spotlights on our donors and special events.

Kessler Foundation Announces $2.7 Million to Improve Employment for People with Disabilities

Kessler Foundation awarded $2.7 million in grants to organizations throughout the U.S. that increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities and improve quality of life. Grants fund major programs in four states, support smaller disability employment initiatives in the N.J. region and provide relief from Hurricane Sandy to organizations that serve people with disabilities. Since 2005, the Foundation has distributed more than $30 million to support employment for people with disabilities.

“We’re proud to announce our new recipients of our grant funding to create or expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities,” said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. “The major projects funded prove the strength of improving employment for individuals with disabilities when we include everyone—corporations, non-profits, educational institutions and faith communities. Together, we can continue to show the value that employees with disabilities add to the workplace.”

Approximately $1.75 million in Signature Employment Grants were distributed to disability employment projects in four states—Connecticut, Maryland, California and Tennessee. One initiative will launch a large effort to hire and retain employees with disabilities in PepsiCo. The other three projects expand on previous work to help veterans with disabilities find employment, helping soon-to-be college graduates with disabilities transition into careers, and providing tools for faith communities to support employment efforts for their members with disabilities. Signature Employment Grants are Kessler Foundation’s largest grants. Awarded for a period of two years, Signature Grants range from $250,000 to $500,000.

“At Kessler Foundation, we focus our grant funding on long-term solutions that have the capability of hiring or placing large numbers of people with disabilities in to meaningful careers,” said Elaine Katz, senior vice president of the Program Center. “It’s equally important to prepare individuals for employment and give them the resources needed to get to work. Our grantees reflect public/private partnerships for hiring initiatives, job training, and placement and transportation solutions.”

Eighteen Community Employment Grants, totaling $712,155, were also awarded to support job training, transportation, employment, accommodations and placement services for people with disabilities, including veterans. Grants also fund programs that raise awareness of the importance of including people with disabilities in the workforce and strategies for hiring. Community Grants are awarded for a one-year period to organizations primarily in the N.J. region and range from $25,000 to $50,000.

Kessler Foundation also awarded nine Special Initiative Grants, totaling $140,000. These invitation-only grants support programs that raise awareness and provide equipment, education, accommodations for special events and resources for people with disabilities. The grants, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, also fund disability initiatives in film and sports.

Kessler Foundation also distributed more than $156,030 in Hurricane Sandy Emergency Grants to non-profit organizations that help individuals with disabilities affected by the storm. Grants addressed immediate needs, such as the loss of equipment and accessible housing, back-up generator power, damaged wheelchairs and modified vehicles and restored operations to disability-related organizations.

View all of Kessler Foundation’s 2013 grantees at http://kesslerfoundation.org/grantprograms/grantlistingsbyyear.php


Help us continue to change the lives of people with disabilities!