Ideas to Work Fund
The Ideas to Work Fund (IWF) Grant Program was established by SourceAmerica in 2011 to provide matching grant funds to nonprofit agencies so they can create more jobs for people with significant disabilities. The goal of this program is to encourage nonprofits to develop innovative initiatives that have strong potential to create jobs.
To date, SourceAmerica has provided funding to 30 nonprofits across the country, which has created nearly 1,300 jobs for people with significant disabilities. IWF Grant Program projects include a franchise opportunity, an electronic recycling program, an elder and healthcare food service program, paid internship programs, a contract manufacturing and distribution services program, and two nonprofit consortiums.
AccessAbility, Inc. created the Imagine Design Gifts kiosk to provide people with disabilities the training, work experience, and customer service skills needed to obtain competitive employment. While working in the kiosk, the individuals also worked with placement staff to obtain a competitive job within the community. This initiative enabled AccessAbility to reach a broader base of people with disabilities and new business partners from the positive community exposure.
AHRC NYC partnered with Specialisterne, a global nonprofit organization that trains people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for jobs in the technology industry. This IWF project used the Specialisterne model for assessing and training people with ASD, and after the training program was complete, AHRC and Specialisterne collaborated to create internships and job opportunities for the trainees. This program has numerous successes, including the creation of significant business opportunities that had previously been out of reach.
Brevard Achievement Center (Brevard) was funded in 2014 to develop staffing services opportunities and Brevard remains committed to the ongoing success of this program because of the viable job placement opportunities it provides.
Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley (GWESMV) leads the Veterans and Employers Connection—a community alliance that was created through funding from an IWF grant in 2014 to help veterans navigate the local support system available to them. The Connection has a website to connect veterans with employers and vice versa: http://vetsemployerconnect.org/
Until the Connection was formed, most of the organizations providing services to veterans in the Miami Valley area were not aware of the services the other organizations were providing, and there was very little coordination or collaboration. The Connection helped these organizations maximize the value they provide and is helping veterans capitalize on the unique opportunities that exist in the Miami Valley.
One example of the Connection's success is a veteran who was hired by GWESMV through the Connection as an assistant computer technician and whose job performance was so good that he earned the customer service award for GWESMV's Business Services Division.