Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Autism Speaks and The New York Center for Autism to Celebrate "A New Decade for Autism" at May 9 Benefit Dinner

Dateline's Stone Phillips to Emcee and NYC Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein Will Give Keynote Speech

NBC News' Stone Phillips will serve as master of ceremonies and New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein will be the special guest and keynote speaker at “A New Decade for Autism,” a special fundraising dinner benefiting Autism Speaks and The New York Center for Autism Charter School on Tuesday, May 9 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers.

Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and raising money to fund autism research, recently launched a multi-year Ad Council public service advertising campaign whose goal is to increase awareness about the growing prevalence of autism and the need for parents and doctors to learn the early signs of autism. The New York Center for Autism's mission is to serve as a state-of-the-art model for educating children with autism in the public school system and to advance related public policy initiatives. The New York Center for Autism Charter School is New York State's first charter school dedicated exclusively to educating children with autism.

Major support for “A New Decade for Autism” is being provided by The Simons Foundation. Marilyn and Jim Simons, Laura and Harry Slatkin and Suzanne and Bob Wright are the event co-chairs. Patricia and James E. Cayne, Billi and Bernie Marcus and Ophelia and Bill Rudin serve as vice chairs.

For additional information about the event and to purchase tickets, please contact (212) 245-6570, ext. 18.

Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 166 children, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of the growing autism epidemic and to raising money to fund scientists who are searching for a cure. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, General Electric, and Chairman and CEO, NBC Universal. Autism Speaks and the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) recently combined operations, bringing together two of the leading organizations dedicated to accelerating and funding biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism spectrum disorders; to increasing awareness of autism, the nation's fastest growing developmental disorder; and to advocating for the needs of affected families. To learn more about Autism Speaks, visit

NYCA's mission is to serve as a state-of-the-art model for educating children with autism in the public school system, advance related public policy initiatives and to collaborate with and unite public and private institutions, universities and individuals dedicated to advancing and furthering the fields of autism research and education. Our mission will be achieved by the establishment of the NYCA Charter School, an innovative science- based lab school build on best clinical practices, by providing dynamic on-site observational training and outreach for public school educators, by creating centralized access to comprehensive resources for educators, practitioners and families affected by autism and by facilitating ongoing research into autism spectrum disorders. For more information, please visit