The Quality of Life grants program, created by the late Dana Reeve, strives to empower individuals with disabilities and their families by providing grants to nonprofit organizations that improve quality of life through inclusion, access, independence, opportunities for community engagement, and other life-enhancing endeavors. Since the program’s inception in 1999, a total of 2,459 grants totaling over $18.3 million were awarded to organizations throughout the United States and beyond. Quality of Life grants have been awarded in all fifty states in the United States of America, and in 33 countries outside the United States of America.
The Quality of Life grants program funds a wide array of programs that are organized in three key thematic areas: Actively Achieving, Bridging Barriers, or Caring and Coping (ABC’s).
- Actively Achieving projects provide individuals with disabilities and their families opportunities to participate in activities that engage their bodies and minds. Actively Achieving projects promote interaction with other people in positive community settings, and nurture independence and personal growth. Sports, arts, recreation, education and employment initiatives are grouped in the Actively Achieving category. Examples of Actively Achieving grants include programs and projects such as wheelchair ballroom dancing, adaptive surfing, accessible hiking trails, inclusive accessible playgrounds, Paralympic sports training, accessible gardening, career training in the entertainment industry for individuals with disabilities, employment support services, a special camp for children that require mechanical ventilators, power soccer programs, and an internship program for students with disabilities at a university.
- Bridging Barriers projects address and provide solutions to barriers for independent living for individuals with disabilities and their families. Barriers may be structurally evident, such as lack of ramps or other means of access in buildings with stairs, or lack of curb cuts on sidewalks. Other barriers are far less obvious, such as lack of accessible transportation, inability to operate a computer because of loss of hand function, inability get dental or gynecological care because local clinicians don’t have accessible examination equipment, inability of uninsured or under-insured individuals to obtain a properly fitted wheelchair, and discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the workplace. Examples of Bridging Barriers projects include installing a hydraulic lift in a pool at a community fitness center, advocacy training for workers with disabilities, accessible transportation for veterans with disabilities, a wheelchair recycling program, and a transitional accessible housing program for adults with spinal cord injury after discharge from a rehabilitation hospital.
- Caring and Coping projects provide services that address the myriad complex day-to-day health and personal issues for individuals living with disabilities, their families and caregivers. Disability often causes a great deal of stress in a family, whether the onset is at birth or in a child’s early years and continues through that child’s life, or if disability is acquired later in life due to a traumatic injury or progressive illness. Prevention of secondary health conditions, fostering informed healthy life choices, and connecting with peers for emotional support are key areas of Caring and Coping projects. Injury prevention, disaster preparedness and response for individuals with disabilities, and research are also included in the Caring and Coping category. Caregiver initiatives are of paramount importance, as caregivers are at high risk for burn out and illness and their needs are often overlooked. An example is a program that provides care and vital support to the wives, partners and other female family caregivers of paralyzed, severely injured or ill service members, wounded or traumatized on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Other examples include a mindfulness training program for caregivers, a consumer health and wellness conference for families with spina bifida, a nurse help-line for individuals with quadriplegia, an injury prevention program on the Navajo nation, and a marriage enrichment program for couples impacted by multiple sclerosis.
Applications are welcome from nonprofit organizations with IRS 501(c)(3) status, municipal and state governments, school districts, recognized tribal entities and other institutions such as community or veterans hospitals. Grants are awarded to organizations that address the needs of people living with paralysis caused by spinal cord and other injuries, diseases or birth conditions, including (but not limited to) stroke, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The Reeve Foundation awards Quality of Life grants up to $25,000 to organizations that provide services to individuals with paralysis.
Funding is awarded twice yearly to nonprofit organizations that provide critical life-enhancing and life-changing programs and services that improve physical and emotional health. Funded projects offer a diversity of services and approaches: improving access; providing education and job training; sponsoring organized sporting opportunities; and more to individuals living with paralysis and their communities.
There are two application periods, called cycles, each year, and grant applications are submitted online through the Reeve Foundation website. Quality of Life grants are funded through a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living (AC) Award No. 90PR3001-01-00.
The Reeve Foundation gives special consideration to organizations that serve returning wounded military and their families, and to those that provide targeted services to diverse cultural communities. Requests to support the launch of new initiatives or the expansion of existing projects that serve individuals with paralysis are encouraged. Grant recipients should not rely on the Reeve Foundation for continued funding of their programs or projects. Current program funding enables approximately 25% of requests to be supported at some level.
Requests to support the launch of new initiatives or the expansion of existing projects that serve individuals with paralysis are strongly encouraged. At least 50% of funding will be dedicated to organizations that have not received prior Reeve Foundation Quality of Life support.
Who should apply?
The Foundation aids larger organizations in representing and protecting the individuals with physical disabilities on a national level as well as local groups in having an immediate and practical impact on individual lives.
The Reeve Foundation cannot award grants to individuals, but the Paralysis Information Specialist Team at the Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) can help individuals identify resources that can provide financial assistance. Please use our online feedback form or call the PRC (800-539-7309) and request to speak with a Paralysis Information Specialist.
For application information and guidelines, click here.