Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with
neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
About Kessler Foundation
WHAT WE DO
Disability research is an important tool for exploring ways to expand opportunities for competitive employment. More than 3,000 people with disabilities responded to the 2015 Kessler Foundation National Employment and Disability Survey. In this televised interview, Rodger DeRose, president & CEO, discusses how the survey's key survey about successes and obstacles in the workplace are guiding the efforts of policymakers, legislators, and philanthropic organizations.
Kessler Foundation leads the way in linking science and grantmaking so that people with disabilities can lead more productive, independent, and fulfilling lives.
The mission of Kessler Foundation is to improve quality of life for people with disabilities through discovery, innovation, demonstration, application, and dissemination.
The year 2015 marked an important milestone—the 25th anniversary of the Americans
with Disabilities Act. We celebrated that anniversary with the Kessler Foundation
National Employment & Disability Survey, the first survey of its kind. What made this
survey unique? The respondents—more than 3,000 people with disabilities—provided
valuable information on their personal experiences with employment.
And what did we find? Work is important to people with disabilities. Almost 69%
are striving to work. Those who are already in the workplace are seeking more
hours, or better jobs. Some are actively job-hunting, and others are preparing by
getting the training, education, and rehabilitation they need to succeed in the
workplace. And so, in this report we look at how the Foundation’s activities support
the majority who are “striving to work” through research that identifies obstacles to
leading full and productive lives, scientific advances that restore function, and collaborative
programs that provide ways to overcome obstacles.
Foundation scientists were awarded more than $9 million in 2015 for research projects aimed at finding new ways to restore function to people recovering from catastrophic illnesses and injuries. A major increase in funding for our work in human performance & engineering research has accelerated advances made through internal and external collaboration. A new research grant has enabled us to explore ways to help individuals with spinal cord injuries return to work as soon as possible.
The Foundation’s grant making continues to be a national example of innovation by funding sustainable programs, including social enterprises, faith-based initiatives, and public-private partnerships. In 2015, we awarded $2.75 million to employment programs in the New Jersey area, and in Illinois, Florida, Missouri, and Maryland, to prepare people for the workplace by providing job training and education, and connections with employers.
Foundation research was widely recognized in professional and consumer media throughout the year. One example was an online video series by the renowned medical journalist Dr. Sanjay Gupta, which highlighted our cognitive research in MS and stroke, and our robotics research involving testing exoskeleton-assisted walking in adults with recent strokes. Dr. Gupta’s team filmed our scientists at work in our research-dedicated facilities—the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation, and our state-of-the-art Gait Lab. In the business media, we were pleased to be named—yet again—among the “Best Places to Work in New Jersey” and “Best U.S. Nonprofits to Work For.” Also, we are proud to announce that the Foundation was ranked #5 in Fortune Magazine’s new national list -
“Best Workplaces for Recent College Graduates”.
These successes are only achieved through the concerted efforts of our management team, our directors, and our Board of Trustees. With their guidance, 35 new employees were hired to support the rapid growth in research activities in 2015, and plans were finalized for a move to substantially larger space. Every department met its budgetary goals, and more than 50% of our research proposals were awarded. We remain committed to ensuring that 100% of your donations fund our initiatives and change the lives of people with disabilities.
We encourage you to stay informed about the Foundation’s many activities by liking us on Facebook and following @KesslerFdn on Twitter. You can also view our educational and entertaining videos on Youtube, and listen to our exciting, new podcast series, “Inside Kessler Foundation” on SoundCloud.
Many pathways of rehabilitation research are pursued at Kessler Foundation, but all share the same objective – to help people achieve independence by returning to their homes, communities, and the workplace. In this televised interview, A.M. Barrett, MD, director of Stroke Research, discusses restoring function after stroke using a practical approach to detecting and treating hidden disabilities that impede recovery.