Apply for a Grant
Autism Action Partnership leverages its support of Autism programs in Nebraska and southwest Iowa by offering grant awards to various projects that address challenges facing individuals diagnosed with Autism and/or promote awareness of the disorder. Please note that our ability to award grants for worthy community programs depends on the success of our own fundraising and, therefore, availability of funding fluctuates year to year.
Autism Action Partnership is seeking proposals for programs that serve individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and their families within Nebraska and southwest Iowa.
Generally, AAP will initially fund programs that: (a) Directly impact individuals on the autism spectrum; (b) Have the potential to be high impact; (c) Have the potential to provide a worthwhile return on investment; and (d) fill a gap in services that are not currently being provided by or funded by other agencies or entities. Furthermore, AAP will continue to fund programs that (a) Directly impact individuals with ASD; (b) Have demonstrated high impact, (c) Have demonstrated a worthwhile return on investment; and, (d) Have not since been funded by or provided by other agencies or entities, or become obsolete or otherwise superseded by alternate and/or low cost options.
Specifically, AAP will fund programs that meet the above “general” criteria and fall into one of the following five categories:
(1) Supporting and Strengthening Families. These are programs that recognize the challenges that face families impacted by autism and seek to improve the quality of life for those families, thereby strengthening them resulting in positive outcomes for individuals with ASD. Examples of programs include the Autism Legal Clinic, which assists families with free legal services and advice, family advocates supporting parents whose children have been diagnosed with ASD, and free or reduced cost clinics for behavioral treatment for children where the families do not have services covered by insurance. Moreover, this category includes special events or programs specific to families affected by autism that provide a measure of fun and/or respite for the families, such as “Night at the Children’s Museum,” “Night at the Zoo,” free indoor trampoline park experiences, and support for creative outlets for individuals on the autism spectrum like fine art classes and performing arts workshops. Finally, we will support families through an active and cutting edge website that has the latest information about resources and services for families, so that those impacted by autism have a place to turn for the help they need.
(2) Workforce Development. The rate of unemployment for individuals with ASD is estimated to be nearly 90%. Given the growing number of adults with ASD, this will be a major crisis for the economy. Furthermore, the lack of employment and meaningful activity results in deleterious outcomes for those with ASD. AAP has researched the issue and concluded that long term supported employment services is the key to reversing this trend and creating opportunities for the majority of people with ASD who can work in a meaningful career. AAP has also surveyed the existing landscape of providers in Nebraska and has found that no other agency is providing long-term supported employment services specific to the ASD population. To this end, AAP is funding the Partnership for Autism Career Employment, which will employ the TEACCH supported employment services model, beginning in the Omaha Metro Area and expanding when feasible.
(3) Social Skills/Education. The most significant barrier facing a majority of children and young adults with ASD is social skills development. Despite this well-documented reality, very little is being done by schools or other agencies to develop this aspect of life for people on the autism spectrum. AAP will continue to invest in developing social skills among children and young adults through programs like Circle of Friends and Transitions. AAP will also seek ways to fill gaps in education services for children with ASD where feasible.
(4) Awareness/Acceptance/Understanding. Even though the number of individuals with autism is growing, and even though most people know someone touched by autism, there continues to be a lack of awareness, tolerance and understanding of this important issue. Furthermore, policy-makers and policy-drivers often lack key data informing their decisions regarding people with autism. AAP sees promoting these values of awareness, tolerance and understanding as consistent with its vision of a society that is truly inclusive of individuals with ASD. Therefore, AAP will invest resources in raising awareness and tolerance of ASD in our community through the annual Light it Up Blue Campaign, our Vintage Affaire fundraising gala, our annual Autism Summit, and through our website and social media endeavors. AAP will also invest resources in promoting a better understanding of autism in Nebraska through the Project for an Autism Database, which seeks quantitative data about the prevalence of autism in Nebraska and its impact on services and employment.
(5) Supporting Capacity in Autism Community. Other organizations serving the ASD community perform a necessary and vital function related to key aspects of AAP’s mission and vision. Therefore, in certain key and defined circumstances, AAP will direct resources to help build or sustain the capacity of those organizations. This can take the form of direct grants, event sponsorships, partnerships, or in kind support.