The Kessler Foundation in West Orange, New Jersey, has announced 2011 grants totaling $2.7 million to thirty-eight organizations in five states working to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Through its Signature Employment Grants program, which supports non-traditional ventures that increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, the foundation awarded more than $1.7 million to five nonprofits and universities working in Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, while through its Community Employment Grants program it awarded $688,848 for education, training, and placement programs for people with cognitive and physical disabilities, including veterans. The foundation also awarded fourteen Special Initiative grants totaling $138,500 for grassroots projects in the arts, sports, and education fields, and in support of initiatives that promote awareness and acceptance of people with disabilities.
"People with disabilities make up 20 percent of the population, but only 3 percent of the workforce," said Kessler 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."
For a complete list of the foundation's 2011 grantees, visit the Kessler Foundation Web site.