Grant Programs

patient on bridge smiling during therapyOver the past ten years, Kessler Foundation has invested approximately $32 million on innovative strategies that expand employment for people with disabilities in New Jersey and nationally.

In January 2015, the Foundation embarked on a new 5-year strategic plan, strengthening its commitment to create and increase job opportunities for people with disabilities striving towards employment.  Using a holistic, social model approach, employment becomes a key factor to economic opportunity, healthy living and community integration.  

Economic Disparity Nearly 1 in 4 Americans with disabilities lives in poverty. This financial disparity limits choices on where one lives, impacts mental and physical health and diminishes quality of life. The income gap between working age (18-64) people without disabilities and with disabilities is 16.3% (CPS 2014), which means more people with disabilities living in or near poverty than any other Americans.

This disparity is further reinforced by the high unemployment rates of individuals with disabilities. For those with disabilities, lack of access to the same educational and employment opportunities as others without disabilities, frequently results in reliance on public benefits that do not offer the minimum income necessary to provide economic security.

Community Inclusion By adopting a social model framework for grantmaking, looking at the emotional and/or community supports needed to gain or maintain employment, Kessler Foundation grantmaking can foster better innovation and wider opportunities for organizations that apply for our grant projects. Using the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 definition of disability enables any organization with a focus on employment and disability to apply for grant funding. We strongly believe that promoting employment will provide the means for all individuals with disabilities to gain economic stability and security.

Looking for Solutions Kessler Foundation is interested in bold, innovative strategies that can effect systemic change by creating genuine economic opportunities for people with disabilities.  Our grantmaking enables organizations to transform concept into action. We are looking for pilots and new models that have the potential for adaptation by public and private institutions to change today’s marketplace.

Rates of unemployment and under-employment are unacceptably high among the millions of people with disabilities in the United States. By working full or part-time, often with training and support, many people can find meaningful employment and reap the benefits of greater independence, financial security and self-esteem. Having a job enhances social interactions and acceptance in the community, which contribute to a better quality of life.

With a greater emphasis on evidence-based projects, we encourage disability organizations working in employment to forge new collaborative relationships within their communities with economic development, corporate and private groups working to build inclusive, sustainable and viable communities

Grant Programs For more information on our grant programs and requirements, please click on the links below:

Signature Employment Grants National
Community Employment Grants New Jersey Only
Special Initiative Grants By Invitation Only


Funded Grants For information on past grantees, please clink on the link below: Grant Listing By Year