The Allen Speiser Memorial Vocational Rehabilitation Fund awards grants to advance vocational rehabilitation services. Vocational rehabilitation is the process of assisting people with any disabling condition to acquire the social, educational and work skills that will lead to employment.

  • 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, publicly supported organizations such as schools and municipalities, and organizations using a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor
  • Organizations serving residents of Onondaga, Madison, Oswego, Cortland or Cayuga counties

Grant applications are accepted from programs that promote the placement and retention of employees with disabilities in the workforce. The Fund offers grants to support special projects, make new investments or provide additional staff training – filling in the gaps that aren’t covered by government sources or other private funding. The following examples are eligible for funding:

  • Training for auxiliary personnel – training or technical assistance for professionals, employers, or other individuals who provide workplace oriented services to individuals with disabilities.
  • Equipment and assistive technology – any items or pieces of equipment that will be used to enhance functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities in the workplace.
  • Materials for building and enhancing job readiness – materials that professionals or employers can use to enhance the employability skills of individuals with disabilities.
  • Work supports promoting job accommodation – may include assistance preparing for work, getting to and from work, meeting personal needs in the workplace and performing job functions.
  • The Speiser Fund’s annual grant application deadline typically falls within mid-March each year.
    • 2021 Deadline: March 5, 2021
  • Grant requests should generally not exceed $2,000. However, collaborative and/or innovative projects may exceed a $2,000 request.
  • To apply, use our online form:
Apply Here

If your nonprofit has received a Speiser Fund grant, we request that you submit a final report. These reports assist us in assessing our grantmaking efforts.

Submit a Report

Allen Speiser devoted his life to helping others in Central New York. In 1964, he founded Consolidated Industries, a vocational rehabilitation facility for people with disabilities. Speiser held the position of executive director for 25 years, until his retirement in 1989. Speiser believed his greatest accomplishment was having the opportunity to serve the disabled through vocational rehabilitation. Volunteer work became a large part of Speiser’s life because of his cultural and family background. He always saw a need for going beyond the job and education. Speiser stated, “I feel that everybody should be doing this in order to make this a better world… because people in this world need other people in this world.”

Advisory Committee

  • Robert Goodfellow
  • Thomas Lazzaro, Ph.D.
  • Peter J. Leofsky
  • Joseph E. McMahon
  • James Nash
  • Harvey Pearl, Ph.D.
  • James C. Rentos
  • Adelaide L. Silvia
  • Brian Walton
  • Stuart Weinberg

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