WEST ORANGE, NJ--(Marketwire - Jan 30, 2013) - Kessler Foundation awarded a $500,000 Signature Employment Grant to the Center for Head Injury Services, in St. Louis, Mo., to establish Destination Desserts -- a social enterprise to expand employment opportunities for individuals with brain injury. This Signature Grant is included in the $2.17 million in grants distributed by Kessler Foundation this year to improve employment and job training options for Americans with disabilities.
Employees with and without disabilities will work together to prepare and deliver baked goods while earning market wages. Individuals with brain injury will receive therapeutic and vocational rehabilitation services. Their job training will be support advancement of their careers at Destination Desserts and preparation for careers in other businesses.
"Kessler Foundation funds innovative initiatives to help solve the low employment rate for people with disabilities," said Elaine Katz, vice president of Grants and Special Initiatives at Kessler Foundation. "Through a business started for, and mostly run by, individuals with brain injury, they will gain skills needed for successful employment. When people with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in the workforce, society sees them for their abilities and they become valuable members in the workplace."
Destination Desserts' business plan was designed by business experts in baking and marketing. By the end of the first year, 40 individuals with disabilities will have undergone training. The enterprise will also purchase a branded food truck for deliveries. Through sales, Destination Desserts expects to be self-sufficient by the end of the third year.
Signature Employment Grants are Kessler Foundation's largest grants. Awarded for a period of two years, Signature Grants can range from $250,000 to $500,000. This is the second year that the Signature Grants were available to organizations nationwide.
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.