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Elaine Katz of Kessler Foundation Named Humanitarian of the Year by Community Access Unlimited

Elaine E. Katz, MS, CCC-SLP, senior VP of grants and communications at Kessler Foundation, received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from Community Access Unlimited. The award was presented at the organization’s Annual Gala Dinner Dance at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott on October 24, 2019.

Katz was one of three members of the community recognized at the event, which marked Community Access Unlimited’s 40th year of service to the disability community. Stephen Hehl of the law firm Hehl and Hehl received the Public Leadership Award, and community organizer Arthur “Skip” Winter was honored with the Ira Geller Award for volunteerism.

“All of us share the same needs,” noted Katz, “for independence, self-sufficiency, and the opportunity to contribute our talents to society through work that sustains us personally as well as financially. Partnering with organizations like Community Access Unlimited enables Kessler Foundation to invest in programs that help people with disabilities attain their goals. I am honored to accept this award from those who share our mission,” she said. “Together, we will continue to change the marketplace and increase the participation of people with disabilities in competitive integrated employment.”

Rodger DeRose, president and CEO of Kessler Foundation commented: “At the Foundation, we prioritize employment as the pathway to independence for people with disabilities. With Elaine’s leadership, our grant making program has provided nearly $45 million to support the proposals of local and national partnerships for effective and sustainable employment programs. This award is most fitting since her influence in the field extends well beyond the individuals who benefit from these programs,” he emphasized, “allowing us to leverage dollars and human capital to stimulate new ideas that may be models for policy change.”

For more than 25 years, Katz has worked with non-profit organizations in the areas of board development, fundraising, marketing, and business development. Katz often speaks about innovative practices for employing people with disabilities, and is the author/co-author of articles and papers on related topics. She currently serves on the board of directors of JESPY House, New Jersey Association of People Supporting Employment First (NJAPSE), Essex/Newark Disabilities Issues Committee, and on the program committee of the Council of NJ Grantmakers. She is also an appointed member of Empower NYC Advisory Board, Workforce Matters National Steering Committee, ReelAbilities NY Advisory & Council, ReelAbilities 2019 Selection Committee and the NJ Veterans and Community Collaborative Network. Her awards and recognitions include the GiGo Fund Civilian of the Year Award, Community Options’ Betty Pendler Award, and the Jespy House Award for Leadership.

About Community Access Unlimited
Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating its 40th year in 2019, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community. CAU gives a voice to adults and youth who traditionally have little power in society, assisting its members with housing, life skills, employment, money management, socialization and civic activities. CAU also supports opportunities for advocacy through training in assertiveness, decision-making and civil rights. Currently serving more than 5,000 individuals and families, CAU continues to grow each year. For more information about CAU and its services, contact us by phone at 908.354.3040, or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.
About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes - including employment - for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit

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