Employment Achievement Award

Employment Achievement Award

Triumph Foundation's Employment Achievement Award provides people with SCI financial assistance to achieve more success with current employer, for a license/product/equipment that will enable work, start a business, and/or increase their workplace success.

The goal is to help people become productive members of the community after a paralyzing accident.



Contestant Qualifications:

  1. Person with a spinal cord injury.
  2. Supply proof of income and corresponding financial constraint.
  3. Contestant shall agree and consent to, participate in as well as use their likeness in Triumph Foundation communications and promotions related to the Employment Achievement Award.


Application Instructions:

Email [email protected] for an application.


What is the Employment Achievement Award?

Triumph Foundation's Employment Achievement Award will give $5,000 to someone within the paralysis community to help them with their vocational pursuits.

What is the purpose?

We want to be a job creator, helping people put their talents to work and achieve their employment goals.

Who can apply?

Applicants must be a California resident with a spinal cord injury and available to personally receive the award at a ceremony.

I currently have a job. Can I still participate in the contest?

Yes. The funds can be used towards achieving more success at your current job.

How to apply?

Email [email protected] for an application. Include a brief description of your intentions for the Employment Award.

What is asked in the application?

We want to hear your story, and a business plan with a detailed budget describing how the funds will be used to enable you to become gainfully employed.

How do I submit my application?

Submissions must be emailed to [email protected] as an attachment with the email subject line: "[Your Name] Employment Achievement Award"

When is the submission deadline?

April 1, 2019

Who do I contact if I have any questions?

Contact [email protected] if you have any other questions.


Our Employment Achievement award had its genesis in 2015 launched as the Bill Hollman Return to Work Award.  Triumph Foundation received an endowment of $5,000 from the family of Bill Hollman to be award for the purpose of helping a person with a SCI to return to work by obtaining a job or generating revenue through some entrepreneurial venture. Bill Hollman became a C6/C7 quadriplegic in 1995 from an automobile accident. After extensive rehabilitation, he reemerged into the business world and went on to enjoy many successes in real estate. Bill passed away on January 7, 2013 and to honor his legacy his family desires to help others like Bill who aspire to return to work after injury.  Rebranded as the Employment Achievement Award in 2018, Triumph expanded the program to help those who currently work, but need assistance to be more successful.

Previous Winners

2018 Award Winner: Giselle Friedman 

On November 20, 2015, Giselle was on top of her game, working as a social worker and living a happy healthy life enjoying hiking, dancing and friends. That night, she fell out of bed - something so simple that has happened to all of us - but she tragically broke her C4 & C5 vertebrae in her neck, damaging her spinal cord becoming a quadriplegic. Her life traumatically changed in an instant. Not long after, we met her at our annual Christmas Outreach party at Northridge Hospital. We gave her a Care Basket full of resources and goodies- but it was more than that - it was her first hope for a life beyond injury.

Giselle made great strides in her recovery. Through grit, determination and hard work in physical therapy, she regained the ability to walk! However, she still faced significant limits to her activities of daily living and faced a crisis of employment as well. During her rehabilitation, she was unable to work and struggled to make ends meet. When she was ready to return to her job, Giselle required accommodations that her employer, the Los Angeles Unified School District, was unable to provide.

Recognizing her needs and great potential, Triumph gave her our Employment Achievement Award to help Giselle launch a private family counseling practice to continue the work that she loves. Her story of injury, recovery, and returning to contribute her talents to the community - Giselle represents a “grand slam” in terms of outcomes. We are proud to have played a role in her journey and triumph.

2017 Award Winner: Rob Balucas

2015 was a shaping up to be a breakout year for Rob. He had a thriving website design and marketing agency, babaLucas Creative, he fulfilled his dream to live in San Francisco, and was in the best shape of his life preparing for his first Ironman Race. Then in September, on a routine training bicycle ride, things took a drastic change. He lost control of his bike and crashed suffering a L1 burst fracture to his spine that left him paralyzed. However, that's not the end of his story, it's only the beginning.  He is determined to reclaim his life, and your gifts are helping him do it! 

He submitted his business plan and was chosen to receive the $5,000 Employment Achievement Award. These funds will help him reignite his business, hire employees, and purchase necessary software to get his career and life back on track. 

2016 Award Winner: Bardo Ramos

The winner of Triumph Foundation's 2016 Bill Hollman Return to Work Award is Bardo Ramos. In 2002 he and a group of friends were targeted in a drive by shooting that left 1 dead and Bardo shot 4 times. One of the bullets struck him in the neck and he sustained a C-5, 6, 7 spinal cord injury. He struggled coming to terms with his paralysis until he met a wonderful woman named Blanca that motivated him to go back to school and earn a Masters degree in Social Work.

Shortly after he got a job at the Department of Veterans Affairs in West Los Angeles. He was making a great impact with all the staff and the veterans from different war eras. In a way, having a physical disability gave him the ability to really connect with the veterans. However, his job required him to push his wheelchair between multiple domiciliary houses to serve 300 veterans located up and down long and strenuous ramps that lead into the buildings. This led to him straining his shoulders and being fatigued. He applied for power assist wheels to help him be more successful at work and better serve our nation's heroes. We are proud to announce that Bardo won our essay contest and your support got him the wheels that are necessary to propel his career forward.

2015 Award Winner: Austin Whitney

Austin Whitney won the Bill Hollman Return to Work Award in 2015 to help him build his business, Accessible Festivals. Watch the testimonial video on how he was enabled to follow his dreams and make a positive impact on the entire disabled community with the $5,000 investment. Triumph is very proud to say we had a small part in helping Austin and the important work he does with www.AccessibleFestivals.com