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Soldier and Wyclef Jean talking at the "Only Abilities Matter" conference

Actor and Veteran Say, “Only Abilities Matter”

April 30, 2015

Actor Daryl “Chill” Mitchell and Lt. Ian Brown, Retired Air Force Officer, were at Kessler Foundation filming a public service announcement (PSA) campaign. The campaign will feature TV and radio spots that only focus on abilities.  

Paralyzed in a motorcycle accident in 2001, “Chill” worked hard in rehabilitation to learn how to adapt to daily activities. He couldn’t wait to get back to acting. In a wheelchair, however, roles either had to be written for him or directors had to be open to adapting the written role to fit someone in a wheelchair. Instead of just waiting for the next job to come along, “Chill” also became a director and producer.

But he didn’t stop there. Chill also advocates for people with disabilities, spreading the message of staying positive and never


Kessler Foundation Awards Grant to Improve Access to Food Pantries

Kessler Foundation Awards Grant to Improve Access to Food Pantries

April 30, 2015

Kessler Foundation awarded the New Jersey Department of Human Services' Division of Disability Services with a $15,000 Special Initiatives Grant to improve the accessibility of food pantries. As a result, individuals with physical disabilities will be able to independently navigate the pantries to receive needed services. To read the full story, click here.

To learn how Kessler Foundation funds programs that increase the independence of people with disabilities, click


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What Are Your Abilities? Kessler Foundation Launches National "Abilities" Campaign

April 30, 2015

Visit Kessler Foundation on Facebook and Tell Us Your Abilities

Limitations. We all have them. But the people who focus on what they can do, instead of what they can’t do, find success in life. When we find ways to overcome our limitations, we find fulfillment.

There are 54 million Americans with disabilities, but aren’t their abilities what matter? In recognition of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Kessler Foundation released a nationwide public service announcement (PSA) campaign that highlights two men who defeated the odds after they were paralyzed. They discovered new abilities and went on to achieve great things.

Through the “Abilities” campaign, we at


Visit Kessler Foundation on Facebook and Tell Us Your Abilities

Visit Kessler Foundation on Facebook and Tell Us Your Abilities

April 30, 2015

Kessler Foundation supports research, employment opportunities, and community programs.

Kessler Foundation Supports Abilities through Rehabilitation Research

As the largest public charity for people with disabilities, Kessler Foundation discovers ways to maximize their abilities through researching rehabilitation treatment for spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and other skeletal and neurological conditions.

Kessler Foundation invests in the latest technology and was chosen as a part of select rehabilitation centers in the nation to test the effectiveness of robotic technology, including the LokomatPro v6 and


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10th Annual Stroll ‘N Roll Honors Abilities

April 30, 2015

Kessler Foundation’s 10th Annual Stroll ‘N Roll was different than any other year’s…and it wasn’t just the cooler weather. More than 300 people gathered to stroll, roll, run, or race a 5K or 8K around Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ, on the brisk morning of October 16th. Guests were also treated to a glimpse into the future when they saw demonstrations of Ekso. All of the special guests watched in amazement, including actor and disability advocate Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, injured Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, NJ Asw. Mila Jasey, and NJ Asm. Thomas Giblin.

Made by Ekso Bionics, Ekso is a wearable, robotic, battery-powered exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users to stand and walk. Amanda Boxtel, an ambassador of Ekso Bionics, transferred out of her


Disability Mentoring Day Leaves Imprints on Everyone

Disability Mentoring Day Leaves Imprints on Everyone

April 30, 2015

Kessler Foundation hosted three students from Horizon High School—Andre C., Samone I., and Timesha J.—for Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) on October 19, 2011. Since 1999, DMD has taken place on the third Wednesday of October as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Goals of DMD include raising awareness of the need to hire people with disabilities, easing the fears of employers, giving individuals with disabilities job exposure, and increasing their confidence. But at Kessler Foundation, it means even more.

When the students arrived, Kessler Foundation “mentors” and guides introduced themselves and asked the students to tell them a little bit about themselves. Andre, a veteran of the process, was at the Foundation for the second year in a row. “This is the last


Eric LeGrand Makes History

Eric LeGrand Makes History

April 29, 2015

Kessler Foundation congratulates Eric LeGrand on earning a spot on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated. Voted on by the fans, it is the first time in the magazine's 50-year history that a Rutgers football player has appeared on the cover.

Eric LeGrand was paralyzed on a tackle that went wrong on October 16, 2010. As an outpatient at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, Eric recently started the locomotor training program as part of the Christopher and Dana Reeve


African Racers with Disabilities Featured in Sports 'N Spokes

Kessler Foundation Implements Ekso Bionics’ First Commercial Robotic Exoskeleton

April 28, 2015

Kessler Foundation partners with Ekso Bionics in testing the potential for Ekso through rehabilitation research

WEST ORANGE, N.J.—On Monday, Kessler Foundation became the second rehabilitation research center in the U.S. to implement Ekso, a wearable, robotic battery-powered exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users with lower-extremity weakness to stand and walk.

“Kessler Foundation makes strategic investments in innovative technology that have the potential to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities,” said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. “Our partnership with Ekso


Kessler Foundation Remembers Rep. Donald Payne, Sr.

Kessler Foundation Remembers Rep. Donald Payne, Sr.

April 28, 2015

Payne understood that jobs are key

This week, we reflect on the many years of public service by Donald Payne (D-10 NJ), the first African American to represent New Jersey in the US House of Representatives. Of his many and varied contributions, one in particular resonates with the Foundation's mission. As a member of the Committee on Education and Workforce, Rep. Payne understood the pivotal role of education and job training. "Education and training get you jobs," said Payne. "Jobs get you your housing, healthcare, and other needs." Kessler Foundation shares Payne's vision of employment as fundamental to quality of life for all Americans, especially individuals with disabilities.  


Kessler Foundation funds BEST Internship Program for People with Disabilities

Kessler Foundation funds BEST Internship Program for People with Disabilities

April 28, 2015

Program provides experience at NJ credit unions for more than 50 interns

Madison, Wis. -- Over 54 million people and 19 percent of the United States population - or one out of every five Americans - have some type of disability and a large number of which are “unbanked” or “underbanked.” Credit unions in New Jersey are working to make a difference in this area with the Building Economic Strength Together (BEST) internship program. The BEST program is a collaborative project that provides internship opportunities for people with disabilities. The last cycle, Cycle VII, of the program is underway in New Jersey after being piloted two years ago in New Jersey.

The BEST program was developed by a strategic partnership between the National Credit Union


DeRose Responds to WSJ Article on Legislation for the Employment of People with Disabilities

DeRose Responds to WSJ Article on Legislation for the Employment of People with Disabilities

April 28, 2015

Letter to the Editor, The Wall Street Journal 4.8.12

Re: "The Wrong Way to Help the Disabled" by James Bovard - The Wall Street Journal 4.8.12 

It’s clear that Americans want to help people with disabilities find employment but are often unsure of how to begin and fear the unknown. The section 503 federal mandate, while controversial in its approach, can potentially show employers the value that employees with disabilities add to the workplace while also easing their concerns.

In “The Wrong Way to Help the Disabled” (4.8.12), James Bovard highlighted the common employer fears when considering hiring people with disabilities—lower productivity and heightened costs from providing reasonable accommodations. These concerns are proven to be


Suburban News of Union reports on Kessler Foundation’s funding for affordable housing for people with disabilities

Suburban News of Union reports on Kessler Foundation’s funding for affordable housing for people with disabilities

April 28, 2015

Elaine Katz, VP, attends dedication of Apartments at St. Elizabeth

West Orange, NJ. Eleven units of affordable housing for persons with physical disabilities were created at the former Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Convent at 176 Hussa Street in Linden, NJ, thanks to awards from HUD, a grant from Kessler Foundation and partial funding from the County of Union.

Elaine Katz, VP of Grants and Special Initiatives represented Kessler Foundation at the dedication ceremony of The Apartments at St. Elizabeth’s on April 26. Also in attendance were Union County Freeholder Christopher Hudak, Union County Manager Alfred Faella, Charles Newman, President of New Jersey Connect, Linden Mayor Richard