The Kessler Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities through discovery, innovation, demonstration, application, and dissemination.
To that end, the foundation is inviting concept applications from nonprofit organizations for its annual Signature Employment grants program, which supports pilot initiatives, demonstration projects, and social ventures that lead to the generation of new ideas focused on addressing and solving the high unemployment and underemployment of individuals with disabilities.
In 2017, the foundation has prioritized serving Americans with disabilities that live in rural states and other areas with more limited service delivery. Preference will be given to proposals that foster collaborations among different community agencies, local government, and business to promote employment for people with disabilities in these communities. Although Signature Employment Grant proposals can be submitted from any state, funding priority will be given to projects serving individuals in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Grants of up to $500,000 over two years will be awarded for qualified pilot projects that demonstrate significant innovation. Signature grants are not intended to fund project expansions or bring proven projects to new communities.
A 15 percent match of the total request amount is required, with this additional percentage added to the total project budget. Funds must be newly acquired and available for the grant project.
All interested candidates must submit an online concept application no later than March 17, 2017. Upon review, select candidates will be invited to submit a full proposal by July 10, 2017.
Any organization recognized as tax-exempt under the Internal Revenue Code may apply for funding. This includes nonprofit agencies, public or private schools, and public institutions such as universities and government (state, local, federal) based in the United States or any of its territories.
See the Kessler Foundation website for complete program guidelines, information about previous grant recipients, and application instructions.