The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation has awarded Eskenazi Health a grant to support an initiative that provides work experience for students with disabilities in their fields of study, experience that could potentially aid them in securing a job in the future. 

The award was one of 107 grants totaling over $735,482 recently presented by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide more opportunities, access, and daily quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, their families and caregivers. Conceived by the late Dana Reeve, the program has awarded over 2,600 grants totaling over $19 million since 1999.   

"Eskenazi Health Foundation is thankful for the continual support of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation that allows the Initiative for Empowerment and Economic Independence to enhance the lives of those often not afforded the opportunity to have meaningful internships in their field of study due to their physical disability," said Ernest Vargo II, CFRE, president and CEO of the Eskenazi Health Foundation.

The funds will provide support for the Eskenazi Health Initiative for Empowerment and Economic Independence, a partnership between Eskenazi Health and the Ball State University Disability Project in conjunction with the Office of Disability Services. The $22,900 Quality of Life grant is funded through a cooperation agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is the second time Eskenazi Health has received a grant from the Reeve Foundation. 

"The Eskenazi Health Initiative for Empowerment and Economic Independence provides meaningful work experiences to help students prepare for careers in diverse fields and reinforces that people with physical disabilities can and do make significant contributions to the nation’s workforce," said Christia Hicks, vice president of human resources at Eskenazi Health.

In 2013, Eskenazi Health and Ball State formed the unique partnership to increase the number of internship opportunities available in Indianapolis for students with disabilities. Eskenazi Health has had several students participate in the program, and five students have committed to the program for the 2016 summer semester.

"The dedication and work ethic of people with disabilities make them valuable employees; however, these assets are often overlooked by employers," said Greg Fehribach, Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County Board of Trustees member and a distinguished fellow with the Ball State University Disability Project. "This unique partnership between Eskenazi Health and Ball State has allowed students with disabilities to have meaningful, paid internships and job shadowing opportunities that build skills, résumés and confidence."

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grants program supports critical life-enhancing and life-changing initiatives that improve physical and emotional health and increase independence.

"The Reeve Foundation is committed to supporting programs and resources that foster independent living, improved health and community engagement," said Donna Valente, director, Quality of Life Grants, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. "The recognized grantees are instrumental to our work at the Reeve Foundation as we strive to serve the disability community with a roadmap of resources and programs to enhance their quality of life."

Valente said funded projects offer a variety of services and approaches, improving access, providing education and job training, sponsoring organized sporting activities and much more.

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 Administration for Community Living, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (cooperative agreement number 90PR3001-01-00). For more information, please visit our website at or call 800-539-7309.

CONTACT: Todd Harper
Phone: 317.880.4785
Pager: 317.310.5972


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