Magruder's & NAAR Team Up

Magruder's Supermarkets are Selling Footprints at 11 Stores in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia

For Magruder's, greater Washington, D.C.'s only locally owned supermarket, helping those affected by autism runs in the family.

Beginning this Memorial Day, May 31, Magruder's is launching the “Footprints” campaign to benefit the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and raise funds for autism research. The program runs through Labor Day, September 6, in all 11 of Magruder's stores throughout the National Capital area. Customers will be invited to purchase blue or green footprints at check out for a donation of $1 or $5.

“We are thrilled to partner with NAAR and help raise funds for research focusing on this devastating disorder that affects more than one million Americans,” said Gary Bortnick, Magruder's chief operating officer. “Our company's support of the “Footprints” campaign will enable NAAR to fund research that will help the many families in our community whose lives are directly touched by autism.”

Magruder's supermarkets will feature posters and general information on autism and NAAR that are designed to educate customers and employees about the disorder and the need for increased funding for biomedical research. Footprints purchased by customers will be displayed in the stores.

NAAR's partnership with Magruder's is the result of the efforts of Diana Caramanico, a NAAR volunteer from Rockville, MD. Caramanico's son, Michael, has autism. A few years ago, she met three grandchildren of Louis Fanaroff, chairman of the board at Magruder's, who worked at a summer camp that included children with special needs. When Caramanico mentioned that she was looking for someone to work with her son, the youths suggested she contact another grandchild in the family, Nathan Bortnick. Nathan's father is Gary Bortnick, chief operating officer of Magruder's.

Nathan, now a junior at Hofstra University, quickly developed a special relationship with Michael and worked with him for two years to help develop and enhance social and behavioral skills. The relationship between Nathan and the Caramanico family laid the groundwork for NAAR's request for Magruder's to consider a “Footprints” program.

“Magruder's is more than a family-owned company. It is a family that truly cares about the community it serves,” said Caramanico. “I know first hand the type of people who bring Magruder's to life and I am extremely thankful to all of the employees who will make the “Footprints” campaign a huge success. Together, we will help solve the autism puzzle.”

Autism is a complex brain disorder that often inhibits a person's ability to communicate, respond to surroundings or form relationships with others. First identified more than 50 years ago, autism is typically diagnosed by the age of two or three and considered a spectrum disorder because symptoms and severity vary from individual to individual. Most people with autism spectrum disorders require lifelong supervision and care and the most severely affected will never be able to speak. Autism spectrum disorders affect people of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and occur in as many as one in every 166 births. Some studies place the prevalence even higher.

According to a recent poll conducted by NAAR, a majority of Americans believe that autism research should be awarded a much higher priority and want both the government and the private sector to increase research funding to develop better methods to diagnose and treat autism and to find a cure for the disorder.

About NAAR

Established in 1994, the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) is the first non-profit organization in the country dedicated to funding and accelerating biomedical research for autism spectrum disorders. The organization was established by parents of children with autism concerned about the limited amount of funding for autism research. To date, NAAR has committed $14.9 million in grants for biomedical research projects worldwide that seek to find the causes, prevention, effective treatments and, ultimately, cure for autism spectrum disorders. Walk F.A.R. for NAAR is the organization's signature fundraising and autism awareness event, which is held annually in numerous communities across the United States. Additionally, NAAR was instrumental in establishing the Autism Tissue Program, a parent-led brain tissue donation program for autism research.

About Magruders

Established in 1875, Magruder's is Washington, D.C.'s oldest grocery company and today, is the National Capital Area's only family owned supermarket. The company employs 450 people and operates 11 stores in Washington, D.C., Montgomery and Prince George counties in Maryland and Fairfax County and Alexandria in Virginia.

Established in 1994, the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) is the first non-profit organization in the country dedicated to funding and accelerating biomedical research for autism spectrum disorders. The organization was established by parents of children with autism concerned about the limited amount of funding for autism research. To date, NAAR has committed nearly $30 million in grants for biomedical research projects worldwide that seek to find the causes, prevention, effective treatments and, ultimately, cure for autism spectrum disorders. Walk for Autism Research is the organization's signature fundraising and autism awareness event, which is held annually in numerous communities across the United States. Additionally, NAAR was instrumental in establishing the Autism Tissue Program, a parent-led brain tissue donation program for autism research.