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Kessler Foundation Announces $2.17 Million in Grants to Increase Disability Employment

WEST ORANGE, NJ -- (Marketwire) -- 01/31/13 -- Kessler Foundation awarded $2.17 million in grants to organizations that advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The grants fund major programs in three states, as well as community initiatives primarily in the New Jersey area. Since 2005, the Foundation has distributed more than $27 million for employment projects for individuals with disabilities. The Foundation also awarded grants to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts for people with disabilities.

"We are excited to announce the newest recipients of Kessler Foundation's grants," said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. "I'm proud of the diversity of the funded programs as well as the potential of these new collaborations. The impact of our grant funding is clear; when talented individuals with disabilities join the workplace, society sees their abilities instead of their disabilities."

More than $1.3 million in Signature Employment Grants was awarded to programs in Maryland, Missouri and Washington, D.C. This is the second year that signature grants were available nationally. The three pilot projects funded will create employment models with OfficeMax and the Credit Union Association of New York as well as launch a social enterprise, Destination Desserts, which will train and employ individuals with disabilities.

Twenty Community Employment Grants, totaling $702,670, fund education, training and placement programs for people with physical and cognitive disabilities. These grants support businesses that primarily employ people with disabilities and career development for students and adults with disabilities.

Kessler Foundation also awarded 12 Special Initiative Grants totaling $159,500. These invitation-only grants support grass roots initiatives in the arts, sports, film and education for people with disabilities.

DeRose credits Elaine Katz, vice president of grants and special initiatives at Kessler Foundation, for increasing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities in N.J. and throughout the nation. "Elaine is a leader in advancing social entrepreneurial techniques in building businesses that hire people with disabilities and train them for future employment. With her input and expertise, successful employment and business models continue to be developed, which are often replicated across the country."

View all of Kessler Foundation's 2012 grantees at http://kesslerfoundation.org/grantprograms/grantlistingsbyyear.php.

Kessler Foundation also distributed more than $58,440 in Hurricane Sandy Emergency Grants to non-profit organizations that help individuals with disabilities affected by the storm. Grants addressed immediate needs, such as the loss of equipment and accessible housing, damaged wheelchairs and modified vehicles and restored operations to disability-related organizations. Grant applications are awarded on a rolling basis. To apply, visit kesslerfoundation.org/grantprograms/hurricanesandyemergencygrants.

Kessler Foundation is currently accepting applications for its 2013 Signature Employment Grant cycle. Deadlines for online proposals are February 3 for Signature Grants and March 15 for Community Grants.

About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, the largest nonprofit organization in the field of disability research and employment, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition and mobility for people with multiple sclerosis, brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, and other disabling conditions. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for job training and employment for people with disabilities. Since 2005, Kessler Foundation has invested more than $27 million in organizations and programs to increase the participation of people with disabilities, including veterans, in the workforce through strategic funding and philanthropic leadership. For more information, visit kesslerfoundation.org. Follow Kessler Foundation on Facebook, Twitter (@KesslerFound) and YouTube.

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