The mission of the Foundation for Physical Therapy is to fund and publicize physical therapy research that determines the scientific basis and value of services intended to optimize physical functioning by physical therapists, and to develop the next generation of researchers.


The vision of the Foundation for Physical Therapy is to change the face of healthcare by providing a society that thrives on mobility with the innovative research needed to optimize physical functioning.


Established in 1979, the Foundation has awarded more than $17 million to launch and fund the research careers of more than 575 physical therapists around the country in scientific, clinical, and health services research.

Our Foundation alumni have gone on to leverage their grants to secure an estimated $753 million from other funding sources in order to produce groundbreaking evidence of physical therapy’s crucial role in such areas as:

  • Recovering from stroke, injury, and accidents;
  • Improving mobility for children with cerebral palsy; and
  • Offering pain-free movement in patients with low-back pain.

The Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization governed by the Board of Trustees.   In 2009, APTA and Foundation leadership worked together to improve the clarity of the Foundation’s bylaws, to recognize the Foundation’s independent nature, and to promote sound and transparent governance for the future. The new bylaws communicate the healthy collaborative but independent nature that supports a philosophical partnership between the two organizations.

To learn more about the Foundation for Physical Therapy and APTA’s relationship, please review the Physical Therapy Journal article, “Above Board: Clear Bylaws Support the Research Mission of the Foundation for Physical Therapy” written by former Foundation President, Richard K. Shields.


The Foundation for Physical Therapy will continue to support the many researchers around the country who are now developing new treatments and approaches in so many arenas, including: orthopedics, geriatrics, pediatrics, neurology, chronic conditions, and cardiology.

The Foundation Board of Trustees adopted a multiyear strategic plan in 2014 focused on five organizational priorities to accomplish by 2019:

Goal 1: Research Portfolio
Identify and advance innovative research priorities that will have high impact on society;

Goal 2:  Centers of Excellence
Develop Center of Excellence research networks;

Goal 3:  Awareness
Expand awareness of the Foundation and the value of its funded research;

Goal 4: Fundraising
Increase funds to support innovative research;

Goal 5: Organizational Stability
Develop and implement plans to create a self-sustaining and efficient organization that perpetuates its legacy.

How You Can Support Us

We invite you to join us as we work together to advance the applications of physical therapy and provide evidence of physical therapy’s enormous impact on recovery, rehabilitation, and retaining an active, healthy life.

Meet our Board of Trustees.

Meet our Staff.

Meet the reviewers currently serving on the Scientific Review Committee.

View our 2015 Form 990.

Audited Financial Statements 2014-2015.

Read the 2015 Annual Report.