Grants focus on fitness and military/veteran assistance

Short Hills, N.J. - (February 22, 2011) The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation announced today that is has awarded nearly $500,000 in Quality of Life grants to 74 non-profit organizations. Developed in 1999 by the late Dana Reeve, the Reeve Foundation's Quality of Life Grants are awarded twice yearly to non-profits dedicated to improving the lives of those living with paralysis. In total, over 1,800 Quality of Life grants have been awarded since the program began, totaling more than $14.2 million.

The largest grant was awarded to Arizona Bridge to Independent Living in Arizona in the amount of $25,000 to support the Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center for People with Disabilities. Under construction, this 45,000 square-foot sports complex and fitness center (SPOFIT) will feature two full-size basketball/rugby courts, an accessible running track, a 7,000 square-foot fitness center with fully accessible exercise equipment, and an accessible aquatics center. The SPOFIT is located at the Disability Empowerment Center, which houses ten disability-related organizations, including the Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association.

Nova Southeastern University, Inc. in Florida received a Reeve Foundation grant for $12,800 to support maximizing inclusion, participation, engagement and overall quality of life of persons with spinal cord injuries through application of the 3G Wireless Apple iPad. This project aims to build a bridge for individuals with spinal cord injuries to once again engage with others resulting in greatly improved overall quality of life.

Eleven military and veterans programs were awarded almost $70,000 for aiding service men and women that have sustained mobility impairments.

ArtStream, Inc. in Maryland has been awarded $6,250 to support their program, Allies in the Arts: ArtStream's Artists-in-Residence Project with wounded warriors and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This program, also supported by the American Red Cross, will focus on the creative process as an important element in healing and rehabilitation for service members and their families.

The American DanceWheels Foundation, Inc. in Pennsylvania, received $5,000 to support So You Think You Can't Dance? Veterans Wheelchair Ballroom and Latin Dance Program which offers dance training to veterans with spinal cord injuries and their able-bodied partners.

"The Quality of Life grants program Dana envisioned twelve years ago reflects what she always believed in," said Peter T. Wilderotter, president and CEO of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. "People living with paralysis have a right to a life with dignity and empowerment. The organizations awarded these grants provide just that to these individuals, their families, and caregivers."

The Reeve Foundation's Quality of Life grants are divided into three categories; Actively Achieving, Bridging Barriers and Caring and Coping. Quality of Life grants are funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Award #1U59DD000338). These grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations that address the needs of people living with paralysis caused by spinal cord and other injuries, diseases and birth conditions.