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

Grants Will Fund Education Programs, Community Activities, Supportive Technology and Services for Teens and Adults

NEW YORK, NY (February 7, 2007) -- Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism advocacy organization, today announced that it is seeking applications for its second round of Family Services Community Grants to promote services that enrich the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Grant proposals are being solicited that address one of the following areas of need: education, recreation/community activities, equipment/supportive technology and young adult and adult services. For more information about the Family Services Community Grants visit


Successful applicants will apply grant funding to support new programs or the expansion of existing projects. All applications must be submitted online at: (The due date for applications is March 28, 2008. )

Last December, Autism Speaks approved more than $565,000 in funding for twenty-nine family services community grants to help community organizations across the country expand existing programs and create new ones that demonstrate true innovation. Autism Speaks received 355 applications from organizations in 41 states and Canada in this initial family services grant cycle. Information about the first grant recipients can be viewed here: /community/fsdb/grants_funded_2007.php

“The goal of our Family Services Community Grant program is to facilitate the expansion of services for individuals with autism and work collectively to more effectively serve this growing community,” said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks Executive Vice President for Programs and Services. “ There are many great organizations doing remarkable work and improving the quality of life for our children. We want to bring attention and resources to these programs so the autism community can benefit from more and better services.”

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 (FSC).

The FSC members will consider the following criteria for each program:

  • Field building -- increasing services (new opportunities) and the capacity of service providers;
  • Number of individuals served; including the ability to serve individuals who had not previously been served by the organization.
  • Innovation and creativity;
  • Geography;
  • Ability to address the needs of the underserved;
  • Replicability;
  • Services provided for individuals across the spectrum.

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 150 children in the United States, 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 autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism, and to advocating for the needs of affected families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks has merged with both the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's three leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit /.