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Autism Speaks Receives $75,000 Grant from QBE the Americas to Create Employment Tool Kit

NEW YORK, N.Y. (December 19, 2011) – Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, has been awarded a $75,000 grant from QBE the Americas to develop a new Employment Tool Kit, which will highlight the valuable contributions people with autism can provide to potential employers, including businesses, non-profit groups and government agencies.

“We’re thrilled about this donation,” said Richard Brown, Autism Speaks national director of leadership giving. “It will enable us to produce the Employment Tool Kit, post it on our website and make it available to employers willing to think about hiring individuals with autism. And it will help families explore viable employment options as their children move into adulthood.”

“QBE is pleased to support this outstanding organization that helps individuals be the best they can be,” said QBE the Americas President and Chief Executive Officer John Rumpler. “We want to assist people from all walks of life so they can help support themselves.”

“We hear from employers that they are extremely pleased with the skill, work ethic and productivity of their employees who have autism,” said Lisa Goring, Autism Speaks vice president of Family Services. “The Employment Tool Kit will help provide tools for employers to support individuals with autism so that they are successful in their jobs, and provides information for individuals with autism and their families to investigate various employment opportunities they may not otherwise have thought about.”

Autism Speaks is one of 10 charities receiving grants from QBE in 2011. More than 200 charities providing vocational services in QBE’s local communities were nominated and voted on by employees in 143 offices across the country.

About Autism
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 110 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 600 percent increase in the past two decades that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

About QBE
QBE Insurance Group Limited is one of the top 25 insurers and reinsurers worldwide. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, QBE operates out of 49 countries around the globe, with a presence in every key insurance market. The Americas Division, headquartered in New York, conducts business through various property and casualty insurance subsidiaries in 10 countries. QBE’s Americas Division produced $5.2 billion in gross written premium in 2010and an 89.7percent combined operating ratio.QBE Insurance companies are rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best and “A+” by Standard and Poor’s. For more information, visit qbe.com.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $160 million to research and developing innovative 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 $300 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, a Grandparent’s Guide to Autism, 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 29 states thus far, with bills pending in an additional 10 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 and Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association. He served as Vice Chairman of General Electric; and as the Chief Executive Officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the board of directors of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, Mission Product, EMI Group Global Ltd., and AMC Networks Inc., and is a Trustee of the New York Presbyterian hospital.  Suzanne Wright is a Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has received numerous awards, the Women of Distinction Award from Palm Beach Atlantic University, 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 the first ever Double Helix Award for Corporate Leadership from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the NYU Child Advocacy Award, the Castle Connolly National Health Leadership Award and the American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award.  In the past couple of years the Wrights have received honorary doctorate degrees from St. John’s University, St. Joseph’s University and UMass Medical School.