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Els for Autism Breaks Ground on New Adult Center

Written By: 
Marc Blitstein / President & CEO
Support for the developmentally disabled has been a part of ADC’s mission for over 35 years. As one of New York State’s largest private employers of this incredible population, we’ve seen firsthand how a job can make a difference in someone’s life.
 
In 2014, seeking a way to provide funding on a national level, we partnered with the fledgling Els for Autism, cofounded by the legendary golfer Ernie and his wife Liezl. The foundation is committed to better understanding the aspirations of people with autism spectrum disorder and helping them to fulfill their potential to lead positive, productive, and rewarding lives. Throug their high-quality programs and innovative interventions, they’ve become a game-changing resource for individuals and families on a local, state, national, and international level.
 
As part of our collaboration with Els, ADC developed a line of professional blood pressure instruments and medical shears with a puzzle-piece theme, donating 10% of all sales. It’s provided a humble but steady stream of royalty payments to their charity.
 
This week, Sandi and I had the honor of attending an event at their Els Center for Excellence campus in Florida, a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Stoops Family Foundation Adult Service Center. We were happily greeted by both support staff and participants who were thrilled to have us as their guests.
 
Speakers included Els for Autism co-founder Marvin R. Shanken, publisher of such venerable magazines as Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado; Ernie and his wife, Liezl, a relentless advocate for the cause; Executive Director Dr. Marlene Sotelo, who helped us set up the cause marketing program eight years ago; and a handful of other benefactors.
 
But for me, the most moving speech was delivered by a young man named Merrick Egber who, holding both a new college degree and a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, was hired by the foundation. Merrick now serves as an administrative assistant and blog contributor, among other responsibilities. (Read Merrick’s personal account of his work with the foundation here.)
 
It was a truly wonderful day.
 
See more coverage about the April 4 groundbreaking here.