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Autism Speaks Seeks Applications for New Round of Family Services Community Grants

Grants Will Fund Innovative, Replicable Education Programs, Community Activities and Services for Teens and Adults with ASD in the U.S. and Canada

NEW YORK, NY (February 18, 2011) -- Autism Speaks, North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization, today announced that it is seeking applications in the U.S. and Canada for its sixth round of Family Services Community Grants to promote services that enrich the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Grant proposals are being solicited that address one of the following areas of need: Education, Recreation/Community Activities, and Young Adult and Adult Services.

For more information about the Family Services Community Grants offered in the U.S., visit Family Services Community Grants. Successful applicants will apply grant funding to support new programs or the expansion of existing projects. Letters of Intent will be accepted on a rolling basis through April 8, 2011, and all proposals will be due by May 9, 2011.

To date, Autism Speaks has allocated $2.4 million in funding for Family Services Community Grants in the U.S. to help community organizations across the country expand existing programs and create new ones that demonstrate true innovation. In the last grant cycle, in which over $500,000 was awarded to 24 organizations, Autism Speaks received over 650 applications from organizations throughout the U.S. Information about the grant recipients can be viewed here: Family Services Community Grants recipients.

This is the second year that Autism Speaks Canada will implement a Canadian Community Grants Program to support the field of services for individuals with autism and expand the capacity to effectively serve this growing community in Canada. In its inaugural year, over $550,000 was awarded to 26 grantees from across Canada. More information on the 2011 Canadian Community Grants Program can be found at www.autismspeaks.ca or by calling the Canadian office at (888) 362-6227.

“Our Family Services Community Grants have enabled numerous community-based organizations to develop and expand upon innovative programs,” said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks' executive vice president for programs and services. “We encourage service providers to share their ideas to better serve individuals with autism and apply for funding.”

A two-tier review process will once again be used to assess each grant application. In the first tier, each proposal will be reviewed by both the parent of a child with autism who has experience in the area of need and an autism professional with expertise in that same area. To help ensure objectivity, proposals will be assigned to reviewers located in a different geographic location from the applicant. Proposals that earn an established minimum score will reviewed by members of the Autism Speaks Family Services Committee. The online application process can be found on the Autism Speaks Family Services Community Grants page.

About Autism
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children in North America, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism increased 57 percent from 2002 to 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $160 million to research through 2014 and developing innovative new resources for families. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks' Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, which Autism Speaks celebrates through its Light it Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign with the Ad Council has received over $258 million in donated media. Autism Speaks' family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit and a community grant program. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government's response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 23 states thus far, with bills pending in an additional 14 states. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.

About the Co-Founders
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners, Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the boards of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, RAND Corporation and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright has an extensive history of active involvement in community and philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children. She is a Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has received numerous awards, such as the CHILD Magazine Children's Champions Award, Luella Bennack Volunteer Award, Spirit of Achievement award by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's National Women's Division and The Women of Vision Award from the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 Heroes and Pioneers category, a list of the most influential people in the world, for their commitment to global autism advocacy. They have also received numerous awards such as the first ever 'Double Helix Award for Corporate Leadership, NYU Child Advocacy Award, Castle Connolly National Health Leadership Award and The American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award. In May of 2010 they received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees from St. John's University in Queens and delivered the commencement address as the first married couple to be bestowed such an honor.