2012-04-25 16:07:11 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEST ORANGE, N.J.—Kessler Foundation awarded $2.7 million in grants to organizations that advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The grants fund major programs in five states, as well as community initiatives primarily in New Jersey. Since 2005, the Foundation has distributed more than $20 million for employment projects for individuals with disabilities.
“People with disabilities make up 20% of the population, but only 3% of the workforce,” noted Foundation president and CEO Rodger DeRose. “It’s clear from our 2010 employment survey that closing the gap requires concerted efforts by government, the business community, and nonprofits. Kessler Foundation is unique among disability organizations in its focus on funding programs and partnerships that increase employment for people with disabilities.”
More than $1.7 million in Signature Employment Grants was awarded to programs in Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. “Expanding beyond the state of New Jersey affords innovative organizations across the country the opportunity to compete for grants,” said Elaine Katz, VP of Grants and Special Initiatives for Kessler Foundation, “and broadens the reach of our funding.”
Community Employment Grants totalling $684,848 fund education, training and placement programs for people with cognitive and physical disabilities, including veterans. These grants expand employment in the hospitality industry, culinary arts and retail, document management and recreation.
Kessler Foundation also awarded 14 Special Initiative Grants totaling $138,500. These more targeted grants, which are by invitation only, support grass roots initiatives in the arts, sports, and education, and promote awareness and acceptance of people with disabilities.
Kessler Foundation is currently accepting applications for its 2012 Grant cycle. Deadlines for online proposals are February 3 for Signature Grants and March 15 for Community Grants. View all of Kessler Foundation’s 2011 grantees.
About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation is the largest public charity in the field of disability. Kessler Foundation Research Center advances care through rehabilitation research to improve quality of life for persons with spinal cord and brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological conditions. Kessler Foundation Program Center fosters new approaches to the persistently high rates of unemployment among people with disabilities across the nation. Find us at KesslerFoundation.org and on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.