Center for Grantmaking

Woman in a wheelchair at an office

Center for Grantmaking

All people with disabilities have a right to pursue competitive-integrated employment, and live with dignity within our communities. Kessler Foundation focuses its grantmaking on expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Our grant programs address employment and improving quality of life for individuals living with disabilities.



Our Philosophy

Employment is fundamental to achieving independence and economic security, as well as personal fulfillment. In our society, work often defines who we are, and how we are perceived by others. Because participating in the workplace has many benefits, tangible and intangible, Kessler Foundation focuses its grant making on expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and addresses employment outcomes through its rehabilitation research.


What We Fund

Our grant programs address employment and improving quality of life for individuals living with disabilities. 


Signature Employment Grants

Creating innovative ideas to increase competitive-integrated employment.  We will not be offering any open requests for proposals in 2024. Our 2024 focus will be on scaling selected projects of our current or past grantees.

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Community Employment Grants

Enabling non-profit organizations to support and maintain employment services. We will not be offering any open requests for proposals until September 2024. Check our website in late August for updates on any call for proposals for Fall 2024.

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Special Initiative Grants

Community integration through arts, sports, recreation and other programs. Calls for proposals will open in September 2024.

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Foundation-Directed Grants (Unsolicited)

Foundation-Directed Grants provide funding for programs targeting employment and other disability issues identified by the Foundation and collaborating agencies. These grants are typically unsolicited. The Foundation may contact selected organizations to apply for funding at any time during the year. While a proposal invitation does not guarantee funding, all invited proposals will receive careful review and evaluation. The duration and dollar amount of each grant may vary depending on the project funded. Organizations funded must meet general Foundation eligibility guidelines. Other grant award criteria are determined by the nature of the project. These grants are also characterized by active involvement of Foundation staff.


For more information about Kessler Foundation Grants, click here for FAQs.

Center for Employment and Disability Research

The Center seeks new ways to expand employment for individuals with disabilities, including veterans, through collaborative research with medical rehabilitation centers and vocational services.

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2020 Grantee Symposium

Fall through the Cracks: Implications of Artificial Intelligence on Employment for individuals with Disabilities


The 2020 Kessler Foundation Virtual Grantee Symposium taught how employers use artificial intelligence (AI) in the employment process for streamlining resume screening, interviewing candidates, and onboarding new hires. Increasingly, this machine learning process is reshaping the world of work. It is important for disability professionals working in job search, placement, and support to understand how disability is defined and understood in the context of AI, and the perils of bias in these systems.

Learn more about the 2020 Symposium