The Henry H. Kessler Foundation in West Orange, New Jersey, has announced thirty grants totaling $8.5 million to benefit individuals with physical disabilities through research, employment, and special initiatives.
The grants were awarded to organizations that work to improve the lives of New Jerseyans with physical disabilities and to prevent devastating injury. The majority of the funds, $5.7 million, will be used to support ongoing studies at the Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation, which investigates new rehabilitation techniques for people with physical disabilities, including programs that benefit those with spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, and other neuromuscular conditions.
The foundation also awarded $946,000 to Newark-based NJIT: Continuing Professional Education to support the recruitment and training of individuals for information technology jobs and to provide comprehensive job placement; $404,000 to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark in East Orange to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities by renovating program space, collaborating with local employers, and increasing opportunities for job development, training, and internships; and $75,000 to the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Trenton to establish a statewide, business-led advocacy and leadership effort to influence hiring practices and increase employment for the disabled.
"For someone with a physical disability, finding and keeping a job is often a challenge," said John Lasser, co-chair of the foundation's grants committee. "We hope that through our funding we can increase employment in New Jersey for people with disabilities and thereby improve their quality of life."