PCF Capital Grant Supports AbilityFirst Manufacturing Program

An employee at AbilityFirst’s Manufacturing Program inspects a tool used to create office supplies.

Pasadena Community Foundation recently announced the recipients for its 2021 Capital Grants Program, totaling $659,000 to 29 local nonprofit organizations. Over the course of the next few months, we are happy to showcase a few of the 29 organizations and the important work they’re doing to support Pasadena’s residents.

AbilityFirst: Strengthening Its Job Training Program

AbilityFirst provides person-centered programs to help people with disabilities achieve their full potential throughout their lives. Individuals who have autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other intellectual/developmental and physical disabilities can discover what is important to them and develop the skills that are important for them to achieve their goals.

Part of this mission is to support clients who desire meaningful work and job development experience. AbilityFirst’s Manufacturing Social Enterprise has become a vital part of the organization’s employment program. The enterprise was established by FVO Solutions, Inc. (FVOS) and has operated for 45 years; it merged with AbilityFirst last year. The enterprise offers the opportunity for adults with disabilities to produce office supplies (primarily two- and three-hole punches), which in turn, are sold to agencies of the U.S. Government, including the military. PCF’s Capital Grant funds will be used to convert the production equipment so that employees can manufacture heavy-duty punches using parts cast from aluminum instead of zinc. This equipment upgrade will result in products that are equally sturdy and durable but much less costly to make and ship, and easier for the employees to use.

“We are very grateful to Pasadena Community Foundation for its generous Capital Grant to upgrade the equipment used in the AbilityFirst Manufacturing Social Enterprise,” says Lori Gangemi, AbilityFirst’s CEO. “This investment will increase the overall profitability of the manufacturing enterprise. . .  and  augments and strengthens our 70-year-old programs to provide job training and support for individuals with disabilities. On behalf of everyone at AbilityFirst, thank you very much.”

A quick smile from a client-employee at AbilityFirst’s Manufacturing Social Enterprise.