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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Autism Science Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Disabilities, Health

Mission: The Autism Science Foundation supports autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. The organization also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.

Results: ASF has awarded nearly $3 million in funding to scientists doing autism research since our founding in 2009. We provide travel awards for autism stakeholders to attend the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) Annual Meeting (formerly, International Meeting for Autism Research or IMFAR) each year. We launched an awareness campaign to encourage brain tissue donation so scientists can investigate the neural underpinnings of autism spectrum disorders, registering over 1,000 new individuals in 2017 alone. ASF advocated successfully for a new medical classification code for autistic wandering, which became possible after the ASF-funded wandering study published in the journal Pediatrics. ASF board members and staff are frequently sought after by major national media (CNN, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, etc) to comment on autism related issues.

Target demographics: The Autism Community

Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2017, ASF provided nearly $1 million in funds through autism research fellowship grants and autism science initiatives.

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: We provide funding directly to scientists doing cutting-edge autism research to discover the causes of autism and develop better treatments. We also provide information to the general public and support the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

Community Stories

100 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation remains true to its mission of improving the lives of families and individuals living with ASD through its excellent research grant programs. ASF not only funds the important endeavors of established scientists, but it also encourages younger, budding researchers to pursue autism research careers through summer grants.

Importantly, nearly each dollar donated to ASF goes directly toward helping individuals with ASD. The outcome of ASF-funded research on the needs of adults with ASD is an excellent example: the results of the study led to the development of new programs to support social skills training at work for adults with autism, and to training programs for parents of adults with autism.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a 26 year old high functioning autistic adult who works 20 hours a week. I want more people to know that there are possibilities out there. The Autism Science Foundation invited me to speak about my autism. It was the best day of my life to tell everyone how it feels to have autism. Autism Science Foundation made a difference for me and will make a difference in the future of autism.

1 Christine Matthews

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a mom to an autistic son, I have found the Autism Science Foundation to be truly remarkable with their funding directly to scientists to perform research to discover the causes of autism and develop the best treatments. I am proud to be able to take part in the ASF’s participation in the “It Takes Brains” outreach program in order to respond to the severe shortage of brain tissue so desperately needed for continued autism research. They are bringing to light an often difficult to discuss topic that addresses the need for brain tissue donation, through pre-registration, from people with autism, the families affected by autism and even unaffected people. The ASF also participates in numerous outreach events allowing for direct talk with the families about the importance of learning the early warning signs of autism and by providing them with the tools they need to become strong advocates for their children with autism.

1 Bill81

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As the former creative director of Autism Speaks it was a honor to work with The Autism Science Foundation. Alison Singer and I worked together when she was at Autism Speaks and her vision and knowledge about autism science research is extraordinary. The top scientists in the country support the work that the The Autism Science Foundation is funding, like their Autism Brain Net program and their Wandering Study, which was published last year. In fact it was just announced that autism advocate Temple Grandin has agreed to donate her brain to the Autism Brain Net program. Wow!
I had the honor of working on their 5th year anniversary video and to see the work that The Autism Science Foundation has done in that short amount of time is mind blowing.

1 Mark Matthews

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am the father of a child with severe autism. I am extremely thankful that the Autism Science Foundation is in the forefront by encouraging families through outreach events to participate in autism research that will hopefully allow for more evidence based treatments that could be developed for my son and the multitudes of other children diagnosed with ASD. My dream of having my son live an independent life, as limited as it may be, is kept alive based on the efforts of a foundation such as the ASF.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of attending ASF's 5th Anniversary event in April. The information that was delivered that day from experts in autism research, individuals with autism, and Alison Singer, was amazing. Mrs. Singer and her staff are some of the most dedicated people in the nonprofit community. They continue to amaze with their dedication and drive to raise money, awareness, and support in the fight against autism.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Simply the most dedicated and focused organization I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Although somewhat small in size, they are quickly making up for it in stature by being an important player in providing both information to the autism community as well as spearheading an amazing number of important research initiatives.

Other non profits should take a long look at how an organization can remove itself entirely from internal conflicts and bickering, and spend all the time and resources staying focused on the job at hand.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the parent of a child with autism. I have worked with ASF on the formation and launch of It Takes Brains, the public outreach program of Autism BrainNet, which is a new group of leading research institutions that will collaborate on brain research. Scientists are unable to conduct this important research because of the severe shortage of donated brain tissue, and It Takes Brains is reaching out to families to register to donate brain tissue. I'm proud to support ASF, for its dedication to science-based research and its role in informing and supporting the autism community.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As the parent of a child with severe autism, I am so grateful to ASF for fighting for research and treatments to improve the quality of life of individuals like my son. Their incredibly important projects include alerting the public to the issue of wandering in the autism community and funding research that will hopefully lead to new therapeutics for treating aggressive and self-injurious behaviors, and ultimately, core deficits in language and socialization. I have tremendous hope that someday my son will be able to lead a more independent, meaningful life because of strategies and treatments that became possible due to support from ASF.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a professional in field of autism and greatly appreciate the funding that Autism Science Foundation provides to scientists for research. I also have a great respect for the grant opportunities available to pre and post doctoral students. Further, I am most impressed by the great minds and people that comprise the scientific advisory board. I happen to work with two of these individuals on a daily basis which is enough alone to endorse Autism Science Foundation as a five star foundation! This is an amazing foundation that will continue to help change lives of children with ASD, their families and the professionals working with individuals on the spectrum, both nationally and internationally, for many years to come.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a current grantee of the Autism Science Foundation. The funding and support provided by ASF has allowed me to develop methods to improve social skills and peer engagement of children with autism in public schools. Contrary to what many believe, it is possible to change the social outcomes for children with autism. Through this research, I have helped many children with autism engage in meaningful social interactions such as games, conversations, and joint activities with their peers that has led to increased joint engagement on the playground, friendships, and play dates. This research has changed the social context of recess that has led to children with autism having a much more positive experience in school. Without ASF, this research would not have been possible.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a member of the scientific advisory board for ASF. In this capacity, I've had the opportunity to see first hand the extraordinary efforts that go into supporting early-stage scientists who devote their careers to understanding and treating autism, and supporting individuals with autism and their families. In this difficult economic time for research, ASF is rescuing excellent young scientists who will go on to make important contributions. Of note also is how lean ASF is as an organization. Relative to other non-profits, a huge portion of donations go directly to funding scientists and helping families.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a former caregiver of autistic children, my heart goes out to all the families affected and all those afflicted with autism. I strongly support all research to solve the riddle and eliminate the cause; as well as support those who are struggling every day. ASF is a powerful tool to reach those goals.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation is a leading organization in autism research and advocacy. Through their funding, they enable bourgeoning clinicians and scientists to pave the way for their careers by funding pre- and postdoctoral fellowships for autism-related research. ASF also funds travel grants that enable family members to participate in the annual International Meeting for Autism Research, which brings together 4000 experts in the field of autism from over 50 countries. These opportunities allow families to share their experiences with leading experts in the field, which in turn shapes research to be more translatable to the community.

Ka S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ASF supports research as to the causes of autism spectral disorders through the medical community which will untimately find the causes and cure for them. The immunization community appreciates their strong support for vaccines because of their research that provides indications that genetic issues are most likely root causes. This shines the light of truth on the importance of vaccines and immunizations continuing to keep our communities' immunization rates high, preventing childhood diseases (complications and death) and for adults of all ages through immunization practices. Their education materials are spot-on and must be of enormous educational assistance and emotional comfort to families of ASD who are searching for answers and a toolkit to make sure they care for all the needs of their loved one.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Working as a professional in a related field, I really appreciate ASF's efforts to educate others about the science that exists surrounding autism. I often find myself referring parents and other members of the public to this valuable resource. In particular, parents of children diagnosed with autism are frustrated and want to understand what causes this disease. Having ASF as a source of information and support for them is so important and is a necessary organization for professionals trying to help parents in this situation.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ASF is one of the best resources for the autism community. I have had the pleasure of working with the organization and its Executive Director Alison Singer over the past several years and am impressed by their strong use of science to guide their policies and decisions. And more impressly, ASF has been a remarkable leader in raising funding to continue to drive that so-important research into the causes, and management, of autism. And finally, their website is one of the best designed and informative sites there is on autism. Kudos!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation is amazing organization that raises money to support evidence based research on all aspects of autism. The Autism Science Foundation provides trustworthy, reliable, cutting edge information. ASF's president, Alison Singer, is tireless in her dedication to find the causes and treatment of autism and we are lucky to have her paving the way.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I cannot overemphasize the importance of non-physicians who step to the plate and explain to parents that vaccines are safe, and not responsible for the rise in autism rates in the childhood population. This organization has done more to dispel inaccurate rumors about vaccines than any other non-physician group in our country. There is no telling how many lives this group has saved through their down-to-earth advocacy. As a Past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I was very involved, in 2008, when pediatricians were really struggling, and losing the battle, to the anti-vaccine groups who were trying to convince parents to refuse immunization because of the possibility that vaccines could cause autism.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation seeks to find science-based factors that contribute to autism. The information is provided as research and adds substantially to the body of knowledge about the condition. Families impacted by autism need up to date information and can find it on the ASF website. I recommend it often to those who seek to understand autism.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation provides the public with important, timely, science-based information about what does and does not cause autism. Excellent job, keep it up!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) stands at the top of the list of non-profit autism organizations. ASF provides science-based information for the public about autism and its causes, as well as straightforward information about what does NOT cause autism. Alison Singer -- as ASF's founder and leader -- my hat is always off to you!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation has provided needed information and training to the immunization community conveying the fears and concerns of parents struggling to find answers to the causes of autism. Alison Singer’s CASE method approach on empathetic conversations with parents has changed the way the medical community is addressing questions and concerns. The office support staff that have been trained using the Autism Science Foundation’s guidance feel empowered to approach parents on a tough subject with grace.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation removes all the erroneous noise regarding "causes" of autism and allows for a true scientific dialogue. This organization goes beyond bringing hope--it brings accurate science. So not only can we improve treatments for our children--one day we will be able to protect them through prevention.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Alison Singer and the Autism Science Foundation provide an evidence-based approach to the care for children with autism and autism related conditions and has many times served as the lone voice of reason regarding vaccination and autism. The method that the foundation has promulgated for clinicians' respectful conversations with vaccine-hesitant parents, the C.A.S.E. approach, has convinced a lot of clinicians and clinicians-in-training that they do not have to give up or give in to vaccine hesitancy but can address concerns positively, respectfully, and successfully.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation has given a true outlet for the scientific community to reach and impact the many families affected by autism. They have given a voice to those who have not had one in the past. They make a true impact by funding students who will can make a real difference in the scientific world of autism- which is so desperately needed. The Autism Science Foundation never fails to inform the public on new initiatives and makes the scientific community accessible to the General Public. My first job out of College was working for the Autism Science Foundation, and each day I was part of this organization I truly felt that we were making an impact.

Trish Parnell

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation promotes science-based research and strives every day to identify the causes of autism.

The foundation also works in service to families affected by autism, as well as serving as the public face of autism.

It is the only such organization to which we refer individuals with questions or who are in need of help.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) is doing an immeasurable amount of good for our communities by helping to encourage research into the real cause of autism. Someday we will have a better understanding of how to prevent this devastating condition and it will be because of organizations like ASF. I applaud this non profit for advocating for evidence based research and for having the courage to respond to bad scientific theories that do nothing to advance our knowledge of autism. Kudos to ASF! I personally give money to this organization because I believe in their mission and vision. And because I want to be a small part of the incredible work that they do.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Where autism advocacy is like a minefield, Autism Science Foundation never fears to tell the truth and tell it straight. Parents seeking accurate information can rely on their commitment to science and truth-telling in a way no other autism advocacy group can promise. Their funding of research is not bound to political agendas. If only all foundations were run like ASF...

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Autism Science Foundation has been instrumental in forwarding scientific research on the causes of and the treatments for autism and promoting evidence-based policies to guide legislators. Their mission is critical to ensuring that the families of autistic children and adults have access to science-based research and practice options. Although a fairly new organization, their contribution has already led a path towards hope for the future for all those affected by autism.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve interned with the Autism Science Foundation since the summer of 2012. As an intern, I have noticed the organization’s devotion to funding research for autism as well as publicizing that information for the general public through their website and programs. Though small, the organization is committed to its mission and works diligently to raise funds and support the research of autism.

Mukund M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked for the Autism Science Foundation during the summer of 2012. The organization is well run and works to find a cure for autism through raising money for research. As an intern, I have worked in the office in New York City, and I have been able to see the commitment shown by the staff and it makes me feel as though my time here has been well spent.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked for ASF as a volunteer since the organization's founding in 2009. From May through July 2011, I worked in the ASF office full-time as an intern. During my time at ASF, I helped plan several fundraising events. I also received a travel grant and was able to attend the International Meeting for Autism Research in San Diego, where I met many top researchers. I also interviewed several renowned scientists about their research and their involvement in the field. Working for ASF was a wonderful learning experience.

1 Ben R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked at Autism Science Foundation through the summer of 2011. My duties include updating social media outlets as to our activities, speechwriting, and processing donations. The charity is small, allowing it to be transparent with donors and able to meet the needs of researchers looking for grant funding. In all, an excellent experience

Review from Guidestar