Autism has been an issue in the United States for nearly a century, but it still hasn’t reached awareness like other more prevalent diseases. This is largely due to lack of funding and charities that don’t have enough funds and resources available to support those with autism. If you’re trying to find good causes, here are 20 worth donating too.
There are many charities out there that do not deserve your donations. There are 20 charities that are worthy of your donations.
You probably know someone with autism or are connected to someone with autism given that one in every 59 children today suffers from autism spectrum disorder This can indicate that you want to help the autistic community by making a donation to a charity focused on the disorder. But the wisest course of action isn’t just to give money to a charity with the term “autism” in its name. For instance, would you rather give to a charity that attempts to “cure” autism or one that supports autistic people and their families? Do you care if a company exclusively employs people from a certain state or area of the nation? What if a company only allocates cents from every dollar to fulfilling its claimed mission?
We’ve produced 20 Autism Charities Worthy of Your Donations to assist you in doing research on nonprofits and selecting the best one for your financial support. We studied mission statements, spoke with people involved with the autistic community, and checked charity watchdog websites like CharityWatch and Charity Navigator to create our list. Here are 20 organizations we think are deserving of your hard-earned cash.
The Autism/Asperger Network
What They Do: The Autism/Asperger Network aims to assist individuals on the autism spectrum (plus their family members, partners, and professionals) throughout their lifetimes. The network provides a mix of in-person and virtual services such as a referral program, support network, and conferences. The Autism/Asperger Network is largely run by those on the Autism Spectrum.
Donations are used to fund the network’s efforts to inform, educate, support, and advocate on behalf of people, families, friends, and professionals.
What They Do: Asperger’s Canada is a large non-profit organization, and the umbrella under which the Autism Society of Canada is incorporated. The organization aims to “see the potential in people living with autism” and to “see and respect the person as an individual first” in all that it does.
How Donations Help: Money donated to Asperger’s Canada goes towards funding research, education, and services to benefit those on the Autism Spectrum and their families. It also helps the organization achieve its mission as outlined above.
Action by the Autism Community
What They Do: Formerly known as Talk About Curing Autism, Action by the Autism Community is a non-profit organization. It provides education and support to individuals and families living with autism. According to its website, the organization’s vision is “for every individual diagnosed with autism to lead an independent life.”
How Donations Help: Action by the Autism Community currently has a three-star rating by Charity Navigator. Donations to the organization help fund the various programs offered at no-cost to families and individuals. These programs include:
- a program for parent mentors
- additional scholarships
Associated with Autism
What They Do: “Together we can change the future of our children.” That’s the motto of the Associated with Autism, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering individuals living with autism. The Associated with Autism works to provide individuals and their families with “easy access to a community of parents, professionals, resources, and treatment options.”
How Donations Help: Donations to Associated with Autism go towards facilitating the creation of information and hosting webinars and conferences to help connect families with information, professionals, and peers.
The National Committee on Autism
What They Do: According to its website, The National Committee on Autism is “the only autism advocacy organization dedicated to ‘Social Justice for All Citizens with Autism.’” It was founded in 1990. The Committee aims to protect and advance the human and civil rights of all persons with autism spectrum disorder and related challenges.
How Donations Help: The National Committee on Autism is entirely run by volunteers. “Every penny” that is donated by the public goes towards providing outreach through:
- training programs
- the national congress of the organization.
Research Institute for Autism
What They Do: The Research Institute for Autism (ARI) conducts scientific research related to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of autism. The Institute aims to improve lives of those with autism by providing new research to those on the spectrum, their families, and the professionals with whom they work.
How Donations Help: Research Institute for Autism boasts a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. Money donated to the Institute goes towards:
- performing research on autism
- funding partner organizations’ research
- delivering knowledge and instruction to people who might benefit from it.
Science for Autism Foundation
What They Do: A top-rated non-profit, Science for Autism Foundation is an important part of the world of autism research. According to the Foundation’s website, “Science for Autism Foundation provides funding directly to scientists conducting cutting-edge autism research to discover the causes of autism and develop better treatments. ASF also provides information about autism to the general public and supports the needs of individuals with autism and their families.”
How Donations Help: A “What We Fund” section on its website outlines exactly what Science for Autism Foundation does with money donated. In short, money goes directly to researchers and organizations conducting cutting-edge research.
Society for Autism in America
What They Do: Society for Autism in America has chapters throughout the United States, though it is ultimately a grassroots organization. It offers offers personalized support, insight, and advocacy. Society for Autism in America also runs an online database of local information and recommendations for families and professionals.
How Donations Help: Society for Autism in America is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and donations are tax deductible. Donations help support:
- training for autism
- aiding families of autistic children.
The Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network
What They Do: The mission of the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network (AWN) is “to provide community, support, and resources for Autistic women, girls, nonbinary people, and all others of marginalized genders.”
How Donations Are Helpful AWN is divided into four major projects:
- financial support
- outreach and education
- community and assistance
Public donations are used to fund:
- producing newsletters and collections
- assisting black autistic persons
- financing programs for education and outreach
- donating money to charity causes and community activities.
The Network for Autistic Self-Advocacy
What They Do: The Network for Autistic Self-Advocacy is a nonprofit organization run by and for individuals with autism. According to its mission statement, the Network’s goal is “to empower autistic people across the world to take control of our own lives and the future of our common community, and seek to organize the autistic community to ensure our voices are heard in the national conversation about us.”
How Donations Help: The Network for Autistic Self-Advocacy spearheads a number of initiatives each year. All are largely supported by donations. These initiatives include:
- advocacy for public policy
- Training in leadership for autistic self-advocates
- the growth of cultural activities for people with autism.
Doug Flutie Jr. Autism Foundation
What They Do: Founded by former football star Doug Flutie, the Doug Flutie Jr. Autism Foundation aims to “help people and families affected by autism live life to the fullest.” To achieve this mission, the Foundation sponsors a variety of programs and activities to improve the quality of everyday life for individuals on the autism spectrum.
How Donations Help: Money donated to the Doug Flutie Jr. Autism Foundation goes towards:
- financing the aforementioned initiatives and projects
- financial assistance for autistic families
- broad advocacy
Dream a Dream
What They Do: Dream a Dream is a Chicago-based nonprofit. It offers a number of support programs to children, teenagers, and adults on the Autism Spectrum. Examples of provided support include :
- a program after school
- workplace education
- adult daycare services
- services for families and people in need of general help.
How Donations Help: All donations made to Dream a Dream go towards supporting the organization’s many programs and services for children, teens, and adults with autism.
The Miracle Initiative
What They Do: As described on their website, The Miracle Initiative is a “fully inclusive theater, film, social skills and expressive arts program for individuals with autism and all abilities. Through shared creative experiences with peers, The Miracle Initiative encourages individuals with autism, other disabilities, and all abilities to develop social and job skills, enhance communication, increase self awareness and confidence, ease anxiety, and find joy in experience.” How Donations Help: The donation page of The Miracle Initiative’s website lays out exactly where donated money goes. For example:
- $75 buys a youngster one-on-one assistance in class.
- A $500 award covers the cost of one semester for an autistic student.
- An attendee of the summer program receives costumes and painting materials for $100.
National Society for Autism
What They Do: The National Society for Autism (NAS) is a United Kingdom-based organization with chapters in:
- Ireland, Northern
- focuses on eight private schools
- assistance in job placement
- community members are trained
- creates mentoring initiatives
- among many other things, provides help at home and at school.
How Donations Help: It is very likely that a person with autism living in the U.K. has benefited at some point in time by the National Society for Autism’s work. Donations from the public ensure that NAS is able to provide those services listd above.
What They Do: As its name may imply, Following Autism seeks to strategically design, launch, and support innovative programs. These programs are meant to help individuals with autism lead fulfilling and productive lives. As stated on the organization’s website, they continually ask, “What’s next for people on the autism spectrum?”
How Donations Help: Unlike many organizations on our list, NEXT focuses less on research, and more on assisting individuals with their immediate needs. Donations go towards creating cutting-edge educational, clinical, and vocational programs. Following Autism enjoys a three-star rating on Charity Navigator.
organization supporting research on autism
What They Do: The organization supporting research on autism (OAR) is a national organization that “strive[s] to use science to address the social, educational, and treatment concerns of self-advocates, parents, autism professionals, and caregivers.” The organization supports applied research “that examines issues and challenges that children and adults with autism and their families face every day.” It places a special focus on adults with autism.
How Donations Help: According to Charity Navigator, OAR is the top organization supporting autism research. Scholarships, the “Recruit Autism” site to encourage companies to hire individuals with autism, and numerous programs and tools for autistic self-advocates are just a few of the OAR activities that are supported by donations.
Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center
What They Do: Based in Arizona, the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) seeks to advance research and provide support to those with autism spectrum disorder and their families. It offers a variety of programs, including:
- early treatment for newly diagnosed patients
- vocational training for teenagers from 13 to 18
- assistance for individuals with autism seeking jobs.
How Donations Help: The Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center is one of the few programs that offers a lifetime’s worth of support to individuals on the Autism Spectrum and their families. Donations help to fund their various programs for children, teens, and adults. SARRC has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.
What They Do: Institue STAR conducts research, provides training, and sponsors programs which assist children with Sensory Processing Disorder, autism, and other sensory-related challenges. How Donations Help: Institue STAR collects donations to help fund the initiatives outlined above. Additionally, the Institute — based in Colorado — is currently running a Capital Campaign to fund a state-of-the-art permanent facility.
Autism Turning Pointe Foundation
What They Do: Autism Turning Pointe Foundation is another autism-related charity with a four-star rating on Charity Navigator. Founded in 2007, the foundation operates schools and other learning environments where students on the Autism Spectrum can:
- Become independent
- enhancing social and communication abilities
- prosper as a person.
How Donations Help: Donations to Autism Turning Pointe Foundation go towards supporting the students and teachers at the foundation’s schools. The organization’s donation page outlines exactly what a donation provides. For example, $29 provides a sensory lamp for a sensory room A $329 donation provides an iPad for a student tocommunicate with teachers and peers.
MIND Institute at UC Davis
What They Do: UC Davis is well known for being a pioneer in all things medical. In fact, the MIND Institute is a part of the UC Davis Medical Center. This institution conducts studies on the diagnosis, treatment, and education of autism. The organization’s purpose is to “bring together professionals from every field relevant to early brain development working together toward one goal: identifying and developing therapies for people with neurodevelopmental impairments.” The Institute regularly undertakes larger-scale, peer-reviewed investigations than are feasible for many other institutions.
How Donations Help: Donations to the UC Davis MIND Institute help support the many prestigious, peer-reviewed research the Institute carries out each year.
There are many autism charities that deserve your donations. The list includes organizations like Autism Speaks Autism Society of America, and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Reference: autism organizations.
- local autism charities
- most reputable autism charities
- best autism charities reddit
- autistic self advocacy network
- oar autism
Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.