In 2020, PRIDE Industries renamed its fundraising arm in honor of the organization’s beloved late CEO, Michael Ziegler. The Michael Ziegler PRIDE Industries Foundation furthers Ziegler’s legacy of championing the organization’s mission of creating employment for people with disabilities.
“Mike was a charismatic innovator who created a social enterprise long before it was a widely known concept,” says Michele Bennyhoff, Director of The Michael Ziegler PRIDE Industries Foundation. “In his honor, we have created new, robust strategies to grow our service offerings.”
PRIDE Industries aims to create an inclusive world where people of all abilities have access to achieve their career goals. The Foundation helps the organization achieve its mission by funding six core categories: vocational training, paid internships, transportation, job coaching, assistive technology, and the I AM ABLE Employment Helpline.
Overall, these programs help thousands of people with disabilities overcome barriers to joining the workforce. The Foundation’s newest initiative is their I AM ABLE Helpline—the first resource of its kind in the country—which connects callers to employment programs and is accessible in English and Spanish. Within the last year, their live representatives helped over 1,000 people with disabilities, military veterans, former foster youth, and trafficking survivors—and connected many to paid internships and job coaching. They anticipate that this number will increase to 3,000 individuals in the next two years.
“100 percent of donations we receive directly support our mission,” says Bennyhoff. The Foundation generates revenue from community partners, private foundation grants, and donations through general fundraising campaigns, events, a planned giving program, and several endowments.
“The Foundation reached 30 percent growth over last year, and we would like to continue that trajectory,” says Bennyhoff. “We also aim to advance our national impact so that workplace inclusion and job opportunities for people with disabilities continue to increase.”