Signature Employment Grants
Supporting innovative solutions with potential for public or private replication. Success is ideas that spark new models to increase employment for people with disabilities. For our 2020 grant request for proposals, we have a special interest in projects that address the intersection of race, class, gender, disability and poverty within the framework of helping individuals with disabilities obtain employment or re-enter the job market following injury. Partnerships across sectors, such as public/private collaborations with economic development organizations, banks and municipalities are particularly of interest. However, all submitted innovative grant concepts on various topics are eligible for funding.
What We Fund
We look for new pilot initiatives or demonstration projects that generate new ideas. For 2020 grant awards, Kessler Foundation has a special interest in projects that use benefit planning, workforce incentives, and part-time employment to help people with disabilities (PWD) obtain employment or re-enter the job market following injury. We hope that a better understanding of how to manage current benefits and coordination with other public benefit systems (e.g. housing vouchers, SNAP, TANF) dispels the myths behind working and increase employment participation. However, all submitted innovative grant concepts on any topic are eligible for funding. Organizations may apply for up to two years of funding. Yearly funding ranges from $100,000 - $250,000 with maximum project funding at $500,000. Application organizations must have operating budgets greater than $3,000,000. Indirect costs are funded up to 15 percent. Kessler Foundation does not fund any purely research-based projects.
Who Can Apply
Any organization recognized as a tax-exempt entity according to the Internal Revenue Code may apply for funding. This includes non-profit agencies, public or private schools, and public institutions, such as universities and governmental entities (state, local, federal) based in the United States or any of its territories. We do not fund outside the United States. Kessler Foundation will not fund projects that discriminate in hiring staff or providing services on basis of race, gender, religion, marital status, sexual orientation or national origin. Organizations employing a large number of staff members self-identifying as having a disability is scored higher.
All interested applicants must submit an online concept application. After scoring and review, a selected group of candidates will be asked to submit a full grant proposal. The concept is scored and reviewed for originality, creativity, feasibility, and collaborative stakeholder team. Final grant candidates are selected from the full proposal candidate pool. All potential grant candidates will meet with Kessler's Grant Committee by video conference in the fall of 2020. All grants recommended for funding are subsequently approved by our Board of Trustees. Signature Employment Grants will be awarded on December 14, 2020 for the grant period January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2022. Organizations approved for funding must obtain matching funds equal to 15 percent of the Kessler Foundation grant. Grant recipients will be required to submit documentation with the source, date, and amount of the matching funds or a pledge letter that meets the matching funds requirement. All approved grants are assigned to an external evaluator paid for by the Foundation. All grants are awarded at the discretion of Kessler Foundation.
Previously awarded grants Grant listing by year
- For additional questions, please email us at KFgrantprogram@KesslerFoundation.org.