Program Timeline

Spring 2021 Quality of Life Grants – Direct Effect (up to $25,000) and COVID-19 Addressing Social Isolation

2021 1st Cycle Quality of Life Grants Program Calendar

  • Cycle Opens: February 2, 2021
  • Technical Assistance Webinar: February 9, 2021 (view the webinar recording here)
  • Deadline for emailed questions: February 12, 2021 (email to [email protected])
  • Proposals Due: March 16, 2021
  • External Review: March 22 – April 16
  • Internal Review: April 19 – May 17
  • Grants awarded and funded by the end of May
  • Grant period: June 1, 2021 – May 31, 2022

Quality of Life grant application process

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life grants program offers a tiered grants strategy awarding Direct Effect (Tier 1) grants up to $25,000 to support the same wide array of programs and activities that have traditionally been funded by the Reeve Foundation. In addition, we have created High Impact Priority grants (Tiers 2, 3 & 4) with higher maximum award amounts that focus on targeted high priority issues for people living with paralysis and their families. This enables the Reeve Foundation to continue to support valuable projects and services in communities throughout the United States of America, as well as to highlight, fund and publicize high priority issues and successful solutions. In addition, the Reeve Foundation offers High Impact Innovative Assistive Technology (HIIAT) grants - a program that is restricted to state and territory AT programs to expand their reach in the field of assistive technology - and Expanded Impact grants which are expansions of previously awarded QOL programs that have achieved demonstrable successful impact.

**COVID-19: Addressing Social Isolation** In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation is offering a special grant focus. Please see details below.

Requests from organizations not based in the USA are not eligible, and projects outside of the USA, even if the applicant organization is based in the USA, cannot be funded. Please see all of the Eligibility Criteria (through the link below).

All applications must be submitted online through the online grants portal.

Direct Effect Quality of Life grants

Direct Effect Quality of Life grants fund specific budget items up to a total of $25,000 to support the wide range of projects and activities that will clearly impact individuals living with paralysis and their families. Funded projects must be completed within 12 months after the award is received.

Examples of funded projects may include (but are not limited to): sports wheelchairs for a wheelchair basketball team; adapted glider in a community playground; kayak for a rowing program; accessible gym equipment; hydraulic lift at a pool; electronic door openers at a community center; workshop education series on sex and sexuality with a spinal cord injury; wheelchair accessible picnic table at a county fairground; program for preventing abuse in adaptive sports; camp programs; subsidized lessons for therapeutic riding; transportation costs for an inclusive afterschool program; and support groups.

Types of Direct Effect (Tier 1) Projects Funded

Direct Effect Quality of Life grants fund a wide range of projects including:

  • Adaptive Sports
  • Accessible Playground/Ball Field/Trail/Beach
  • Assistive Technology
  • Advocacy
  • Arts
  • Camp
  • Caregiving
  • Consumer Education
  • Durable Medical Equipment (see Funding Restrictions in a later section)
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Facility Accessibility Modifications
  • Fitness and Wellness
  • Healthcare
  • Accessibility Modifications
  • Media Development
  • Peer Mentoring and Support
  • Service Animal Program
  • Therapeutic Horseback Riding
  • Transportation
  • Transition from Institution to Home

Direct Effect grants will have short- to mid-range impact. Long-range impact and sustainability are not expected for projects at this level. Grantees will be required to submit a 6-month interim report and a final report and evaluation survey at the end of the project.

COVID-19: Addressing Social Isolation

The aim of the Reeve Foundation’s Quality of Life (QOL) grants program is to address social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic with the goal of enhancing connectedness of people living with paralysis and their caregivers to their communities and preventing adverse health outcomes.

Though we are looking to the field for innovative ways to address the program’s aim and goals, funds may support programs and projects to:

  • Connect isolated individuals and remotely foster engagement and connection through
    • Virtual support groups
    • Online activities to help support self-care and stress management
    • Virtual and online adaptive physical activity and health promotion programs
    • Art sessions
    • Gaming
  • Adapt services or create new services to continue to support and engage family caregivers
  • Facilitate connection through the use of technology, including
    • Increasing access to internet, broadband service, and tablets (via loan closets)
  • Provide programs with online opportunities for volunteering (Volunteering has been shown to have many positive health benefits)
  • Create strategies to strengthen and/or build social networks
  • Provide access to tools and resources to help people remain connected and engaged

Though grants will be awarded within the range of $25,000-$50,000, applicants must indicate a specific amount in their request with a corresponding budget.

High Impact Priority Tiers

The High Impact Priority Quality of Life Grant Tiers (Tiers 2, 3, & 4) offer three increasing levels of grant funding. High Impact Priority grants fund high priority issues for individuals living with paralysis. Priorities were identified through conversations with myriad stakeholders and validated by a community needs assessment survey conducted by Vanderbilt University. Grantee organizations will demonstrate capacity to implement the grant without intensive technical assistance and capacity building, as well as capacity for program development, evaluation and sustainability. Funded projects are expected to be completed within 12 months of receiving the award. Each High Impact Priority Tier is targeted to focus on a High Priority issue for the community of individuals living with paralysis as follows:

High Impact Priority Quality of Life Grant Tiers:

  • Tier 2 – 10 grants of $30,000 for the following Priority Areas:
    • Transportation
    • Respite/Caregiving
    • Disaster Preparedness
  • Tier 3 – 4 Grants of $40,000 for Nursing Home Transition
  • Tier 4 – 5 Grants of $50,000 for Employment

Description of High Impact Priority Tiers:

Tier 2

  • Transportation – Grant funds support nonprofit organizations and programs that provide accessible transportation to people living with paralysis to access services in their communities. In addition, funds may support adaptive driving education programs to enable people with paralysis to learn how to drive and increase their independence and transportation options.
  • Respite/Caregiving – This grant area recognizes family caregivers and the vital role they play in caring for those with paralysis. Funds support nonprofits that offer exemplary and innovative respite care services that are evidence-based, appear promising, or are trying new service models.

Forms of respite supported through this grant area are:

    • Emergency Respite
    • Home-Based Services
    • Sitter-Companion Services
    • Consumer-Directed Respite
    • Out-of-Home Respite
    • Family Care Homes or Host Family
    • Respite Center-based
    • Adult Day Healthcare Centers
    • Parent/Family Cooperative

Grant funds cannot be used to support respite in the following environments:

    • Corporate Foster Home Settings for Children and Teens
    • Residential Facilities
    • Respitality Model
    • Hospital-Based
    • Hospice
    • Camps
  • Disaster Preparedness – Grant funds support nonprofit organizations and programs that address the emergency preparedness needs of people with paralysis in a natural disaster environment.

Tier 3

Nursing Home Transition – Funds support Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and other organizations that provide transition services across the country to transition people with paralysis living in nursing home back into their homes or a community-based setting of their choice. Funds also support projects focused on diversion (keeping people living with paralysis who are at-risk from entering a nursing).

Tier 4

Employment – The Employment – High Impact Priority grants are one of Reeve’s top priorities because employment is fundamental in achieving and maintaining independence, while being one of the most challenging obstacles to individuals living with paralysis. In addition, gainful employment allows people living with paralysis to achieve enhanced financial security, higher quality of life, and improved community connections.

Grant funds support programs and projects that:

  • Assist individuals living with paralysis to enter, re-enter, remain, and advance in the workplace;
  • Create career pathways to meaningful, living wage jobs; and
  • Provide job development services to people living with paralysis, including career education, adaptive technology and career training with the goal of finding gainful employment.

Grants funds may not provide stipends and funds may not be given directly to workers or program participants as salaries or other incentives.

Expanded Impact and HIIAT

To learn more about these grants programs, please visit the description and information pages at: Expanded Impact and High Impact Innovative Assistive Technology (HIIAT).

Grant Review Process

Learn more about the Quality of Life Grant Review Process.

Helpful information

  1. Direct Effect and COVID-19 Addressing Social Isolation Grant Application and Program Guidelines
  2. People-First Language Guide
  3. A Quick Guide to Establishing Evaluation Indicators
  4. Eligibility Criteria
  5. Budget and Expense Allocation Form
  6. Budget Narrative Template
  7. FAQs (questions received for the current grant cycle)

Click here to access the online application portal.

Webinar: Applying for a Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grant

This presentation is tailored specifically for nonprofit organizations seeking a Reeve Foundation Quality of Life grant for a program or project that directly impacts the lives of individuals living with disabilities and their families.


This webinar was presented on February 9, 2021.

Please be sure to see the FAQs above for questions received prior to, during, and after this webinar.