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Signature Employment Grant

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Schools, IHEs, and Agencies
to Increase Work Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Kessler Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

06/12/20 5:00 PM ET


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Grants to USA and territories nonprofits, public and private schools, universities, and government entities to reduce unemployment rates among people with disabilities. Applicants must submit a concept application prior to submitting a full proposal. Funding is intended for innovative pilot programs, social ventures, and demonstration projects that increase employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

For 2019, the Foundation has a special interest in projects that use benefit planning, workforce incentives, and part-time employment to help people with disabilities obtain employment or re-enter the job market following injury. However, all submitted innovative grant concepts on any topic are eligible for funding.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180030

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Yearly funding ranges from $100,000 to $250,000. The Foundation allows for indirect costs up to 15 percent for Signature Grants.

Term of Contract:

Organizations may apply for up to two years of funding. The grant period is January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2022.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Any organization recognized as a tax-exempt entity according to the Internal Revenue Code may apply for funding. This includes non-profit agencies, public or private schools, and public institutions, such as universities and governmental entities (state, local, federal) based in the United States or any of its territories.

Organizations can apply for funding through a fiscal sponsor. The fiscal sponsor must be a tax-exempt entity according to the Internal Revenue Code and have a formal relationship with the organization working on the project. If a grant is awarded, the fiscal sponsor is responsible for exercising proper expenditure of funds as well as meeting any reporting requirements under the grant term.

Application organizations must have operating budgets greater than $3,000,000.

Organizations employing a large number of staff members self-identifying as having a disability is scored higher.

Organizations approved for funding under the Signature Employment Grants Program must obtain matching funds equal to 15 percent of the Kessler Foundation grant. Matching fund verification is required after grant approval.

Kessler Foundation will not fund projects that discriminate in hiring staff or providing services on basis of race, gender, religion, marital status, sexual orientation or national origin.

Kessler Foundation does not fund any purely research-based projects. They do not fund lobbying activities, grants to individuals, scholarships, and projects not related to improving the lives for individuals with disabilities. They also do not fund any vehicle purchase such as cars, vans, trucks or buses.

General operating grants are not supported.

Pre-Application Information:

The Grant Concept application deadline is February 14, 2020, 5:00 PM ET. Acceptance notification will be on March 30, 2020.

The Invited full proposal deadline is June 12, 2020, 5:00 PM ET. Grant approval notification will be by December 14, 2020.

All interested applicants must submit an online concept application. After scoring and review, a selected group of candidates will be asked to submit a full grant proposal. The concept is scored and reviewed for originality, creativity, feasibility, and collaborative stakeholder team. Final grant candidates are selected from the full proposal candidate pool.

All potential grant candidates will meet with Kessler's Grant Committee by video conference in the fall of 2020. All grants recommended for funding are subsequently approved by our Board of Trustees.

Organizations approved for funding must obtain matching funds equal to 15 percent of the Kessler Foundation grant. Grant recipients will be required to submit documentation with the source, date, and amount of the matching funds or a pledge letter that meets the matching funds requirement.

Organizations may submit only one application per calendar year. Organizations funded for three consecutive years in the community employment or special initiative grant programs cannot apply in the 4th year for funding. After a one year break, organizations may reapply for funding.


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Online application:

Kessler Foundation
120 Eagle Rock Avenue
East Hanover, NJ 07936-3147

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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