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Winning Apprentice Contestants Raise Awareness, Funds for Autism Speaks

More Than $98,000 Raised from The Apprentice Finale Will Go Toward Research into Growing National Health Crisis

(New York, New York – December 20, 2005) - Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and raising funds for critical autism research, was a big winner on the season finale of the hit NBC-TV show The Apprentice.

In the program's final task, assigned by Donald Trump, a team of contestants led by eventual winner Randal Pinkett was assigned to produce an event to benefit Autism Speaks. The event, a celebrity charity softball game, was rained out, but Randal's team still managed to raise an impressive $11,000 for Autism Speaks. Suzanne and Bob Wright of Autism Speaks with winning Apprentice team member Josh Shaw (right) at celebrity auction fundraiser. Click here for photo galleries. 


Suzanne and Bob Wright with Apprentice's Josh Shaw


In addition, Yahoo! Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig announced at the live broadcast that Yahoo!, a sponsor of the program, would donate $50,000 to Autism Speaks.

Following the Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 Apprentice programs, Autism Speaks, which has seen traffic skyrocket on its website, raised an additional $37,000 from donations via . During the period of December 15-18, the number of visitors to the web site was up 494% over the same period two weeks earlier.

Give now to Autism Speaks. Click to make a donation

“Millions of Apprentice viewers are now aware of the critical nature of the autism health crisis and the effect it is having on families,” said Alison Singer, senior vice president of Autism Speaks. “The funds raised by Randal's team, as well as the generous donation by Yahoo! and the strong donation response from viewers, will greatly aid our efforts to support critical research.”

Mark Burnett Productions selects the charities that participate in The Apprentice, and Mr. Trump makes all decisions about contestants.

[View an Autism Speaks-related video segment from the Dec. 8 show.]

Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism 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 signed a memorandum of understanding to combine operations and bring 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 the nation's fastest growing developmental disorder; and to advocating for the needs of affected
families. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit

Media Contact: Adam Pockriss, (202) 843-8286,