SHORT HILLS, N.J., July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, a leading nonprofit dedicated to enhancing care and improving quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, announced it has awarded $537,550 in Quality of Life grants to 73 nonprofit organizations nationwide. Conceived by the late Dana Reeve, Quality of Life grants support nonprofit initiatives that mirror the Reeve Foundation's mission to empower the paralysis community.
Funded twice yearly, grant requests were evaluated and scored based on a rigorous review process to determine funding for organizations that improve daily life for those living with paralysis, as well as their families and caregivers. Since its inception in 1999, the program has awarded 2,380 grants, totaling over $17.6 million. With the grant amounts varying in size, the awarded organizations focus on improving health, increasing independence, providing education and fostering community involvement.
"At the heart of the Reeve Foundation mission is a commitment to redefining what it means to live with paralysis. The Quality of Life grants program is instrumental to our work so that we continue to serve the disability community and enable people to enjoy healthier, more independent lives," said Niketa Sheth, Senior Vice President of Quality of Life, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. "Each cycle, we receive a blend of new and former applicants from across the country, extending the Reeve Foundation's reach so that we are always working to empower and support individuals living with paralysis. We are pleased to award grants to over 70 standout organizations and look forward to the next cycle of applicants."
America's Vetdogs – Veterans K-9 Corps in Smithtown, New York, received a grant for $15,000 to fund a service dog program that provides independence, mobility and companionship for veterans and military personnel of all eras – from World War II to those recently wounded in active conflicts.
Wheels of Progress, located in New York City, was awarded $22,000 to address the critical shortage of accessible housing for young adults with paralysis who are moving out of nursing homes and transitioning to a more independent home environment.
Grants were also extended to programs that alleviate transportation hurdles, such as the Assist to Independence program in Tuba City, Arizona. To support the purchase of an accessible minibus, a grant was presented for $25,000 which will provide transportation for individuals who live in un-served and under-served areas across the Navajo, Hopi and San Juan Southern Paiute Tribal Lands. With this instrumental purchase, individuals will be transported to medical facilities, advocacy meetings, life skill courses and peer mentoring classes with the goal of heightening independence for the disability community.
In this past Quality of Life grant cycle, there was a noted rise in applicants focused on enriching the lives of children living with disabilities through summer camps, social activities and sports centers. Bennett Institute Booster Club in Baltimore, Maryland, received $4,460 to purchase and repair sports wheelchairs for basketball so that more players can participate in the game.
Other grants extended within the category of adaptive sports include a grant for $6,500 to Community Rowing in Brighton, Massachusetts, to underwrite the purchase of programmatic equipment for the Para and Military Veterans Rowing Program. The initiative combines the extensive physical benefits of rowing with the social cohesion of a team experience. Participants within the program include children, teens, adults as well as veterans. Additionally, the Disabled Sports USA Far West program in Truckee, California, received $3,000 to support an adaptive water ski program and purchase critical pieces of equipment.
Educational initiatives like the New Alternatives for Children in New York City and Shane's Inspiration in Sherman Oaks, California, were awarded grants for $4,800 and $5,000 respectively. New Alternatives for Children provides an array of cultural, educational and recreational activities for children, such as in-class interactive play dates at playgrounds. Not only is this program beneficial for the participating children, it also provides much needed respite for caregivers. Shane's Inspiration also focuses on enhancing experiences for children by striving to engender strong social skills for kids living with disabilities, as well as instilling lessons of understanding and compassion with peers.
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grants Program was created to address the myriad needs of children and adults living with paralysis, as well as provide assistance and education to their families and caregivers. The grants support critical life-changing initiatives that aim to improve physical and emotional health while increasing quality of life and independence. Funded projects offer a diversity of services and approaches: improving access; providing education and job training; sponsoring organized sporting activities; and much more. Quality of Life grants are funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Award #U59DD000838).
About the Reeve Foundation
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. We meet all 20 of the Better Business Bureau's standards for charity accountability and hold the BBB's Charity Seal. The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) is a program of the Reeve Foundation, and is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Award No. U59DD000838. For more information, please visit our website at www.ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-539-7309.
SOURCE Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation