With over 3,000 children receiving an autism diagnosis every year, New Jersey has one of the highest rates of autism in the country. Fortunately, there are many local and national charities you can donate to and support the autistic community.
Here are the 25 best autism charitable organizations to give to right now.
The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE)
The Asperger/Autism Network was founded in 1996 to provide education and information to families of autistic children and professionals.
The nonprofit works in close partnership with many national and international organizations to offer extensive resources on all aspects of autism. Their free online support groups and discussion forums are an opportunity for parents to connect, share experiences, and learn more about autism diagnosis.
As an independent nonprofit, the AANE relies primarily on memberships and donations.
More information: The Asperger/Autism Network
The Autism Community in Action (TACA)
The Autism Community in Action is a nonprofit that focuses on educating, providing resources, and supporting families struggling with autism. All programs are run by parent volunteers and are provided at little or no cost to families.
TACA’s charitable initiatives include the Parent Mentor Program that matches families with experienced mentors for one-on-one guidance. Parents of autistic children and anyone interested can navigate TACA’s website to learn more about all aspects of autism, including symptoms, diagnosis, special education, and therapies.
TACA also provides scholarships for medical and therapeutic interventions for autism. The availability of these scholarships relies on the generosity of individual donors, foundations, and the fundraising efforts of TACA chapters.
More information: The Autism Community in Action
Autism Connect Association
Autism Connect Association strives to bridge the gap between parents of autistic children and professionals. This nonprofit provides families with easy access to information about treatment options so that they can make the best decision for their children. In particular, they offer extensive information about new treatments for autism, such as cell therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Autism Connect offers a list of local support groups, therapists, and professionals, in addition to comprehensive autism-related resources such as apps, books, and therapeutic accessories. Their international prize-winning forum, Parent Connect, is the place for autism-related discussions managed by parents of autistic children.
More information: Autism Connect Association
4. Autism National Committee (AutCom)
Autism National Committee is an advocacy organization dedicated to “social justice for all autistics.” It was founded in 1990 with the goal to protect the human and civil rights of individuals with autism and ensure that they are treated equally and with dignity.
AutCom offers information, support, advocacy, and ongoing reappraisal of fundamental autism research and treatment issues. They organize a range of events and national conferences on topics like employment, law enforcement and autism issues, and civil rights for people with autism.
More information: Autism Nation Committee
5. Autism Research Institute (ARI)
The Autism Research Institute has spent over half a century supporting the autistic community by conducting and disseminating cutting-edge autism research.
In addition to having awarded more than a hundred research grants over the past decade, the charity has hosted numerous autism-related educational events. It has also funded a tissue bank for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the University of Maryland and a specimen bank for non-autistic individuals that provides comparison controls for researchers.
The ARI offers ample resources on all aspects of living with autism, including diagnostic checklists and the newest treatments. All donations go directly to the funding of autism research and education.
More information: Autism Research Institute
6. Autism Science Foundation (ASF)
The Autism Science Foundation was established in 2009 by Alison Tepper Singer, a former senior executive of Autism Speaks and Karen Margulis London, co-founder of the National Alliance for Autism Research, both parents of autistic children.
The ultimate goal of this charity is to support autism-related research. Donations help provide funding to graduate students, scientists, and organizations who conduct and disseminate autism-related research and the development of more effective treatments. To date, the ASF has awarded close to $3 million to the funding of autism research.
More information: Autism Science Foundation
7. Autism Society of America (ASA)
The Autism Society of America is the nation’s largest grassroots autism organization. Its goal is to provide information about autism, available therapies, and services. It supports families through a nationwide network of local chapters, but also advocates at the state and national levels to improve public policy, increase awareness, and promote autism-related research.
The ASA toll-free national helpline provides support to families who need crisis management, referrals for expert help, or general information about local, state, and national programs and services.
More information: Autism Society of America
8. Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism
Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism was founded by Doug and Laurie Flutie, whose son was diagnosed with a rare and severe form of autism. The foundation helps children and families struggling with autism gain access to necessary therapies, programs, and financial assistance to improve the quality of everyday life.
Joey’s Fund and Hope Fund distribute grants to families of autistic children to help them cover additional expenses like respite care, art classes, and camp tuitions.
More information: Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism
9. Have Dreams
Have Dreams uses donations to help improve the quality of life of autistic individuals through a variety of services and information. In addition, they provide a wide range of downloadable resources, training materials, and support for parents of autistic children, professionals, and schools.
Their best known charitable initiative is the Have Dreams Academy, a development program for young adults with autism who are interested in pursuing competitive employment. Other programs include parent training and after-school programs for elementary, middle and high school students on the autism spectrum.
More information: Have Dreams
10. The Miracle Project
The Miracle Project is a New Jersey theater and film program designed to help children and young adults with autism build communication skills and self-esteem through music, acting, and dance. The charity provides expressive arts and social skills classes for individuals with autism of all abilities, including non-speakers.
The Miracle Project designs expressive arts classes specifically for autistic children who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. They also offer inclusive professional acting training for television and film and social skills groups for kids and teens with autism.
More information: The Miracle Project
11. NEXT for AUTISM
Founded in 2003, NEXT for AUTISM addresses the needs of children and teens with autism and their families by creating and supporting educational, clinical, and vocational programs. The charity partners with multiple national, regional, and local organizations to help improve services for people with autism.
NEXT for AUTISM dedicates its funds to charitable programming, including the New York charter school for autistic children. They also founded Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism, dedicated to helping autistic high school students transition from school to work and opened the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain to provide clinical services to autistic people.
More information: NEXT for AUTISM
12. Autism New Jersey
Autism New Jersey is the largest statewide organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with autism and their families. This accountable nonprofit is committed to promoting autism awareness and public policy initiatives. The organization focuses on disseminating information on laws, regulations, government policy, education rights, and programs to help individuals with autism advocate for themselves.
Autism New Jersey membership is the best way to stay informed about the upcoming events and news in the local autism community.
More information: Autism New Jersey
13. Autism Family Services of New Jersey (AFSNJ)
Autism Family Services of New Jersey was founded in 2004 as an affiliate of The Family Resource Network, an umbrella organization for community-based programs that serve individuals and families with disabilities.
AFSNJ is dedicated to providing respite care, after-school care, medical assistance, case management, as well as recreation programs for autistic children and their families throughout the state of New Jersey. They also hold the largest gathering for families affected by autism in New Jersey at the Annual Autism Beach Bash in Belmar.
More information: Autism Family Services of New Jersey
14. Autism Speaks New Jersey
Autism Speaks is the largest autism research organization in the country. This nonprofit sponsors autism research in addition to conducting awareness and outreach activities.
The Autism Speaks New Jersey chapter is dedicated to helping individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support. They partner with governments and organizations to promote the understanding and acceptance of people with autism on a global level.
More information: Autism Speaks New Jersey
15. Autism MVP Foundation
Established in 2015, the New Jersey Autism MVP Foundation supports higher education, recreation and therapeutic-based programs, organizations, and initiatives.
They provide scholarships to graduate students from Monmouth University and Temple University who wish to pursue a career in the fields of autism education and therapy. By increasing the number of educators and therapists in the state, the organization aims to help more children on the autism spectrum reach their potential.
More information: Autism MVP Foundation
16. Greenwich Autism Alliance Foundation (GAA)
New Jersey based Greenwich Autism Alliance Foundation uses 100% of its funding to provide local grants to families of children with autism and special education teachers. They have granted over one million dollars to families and agencies, schools, and professionals who work with individuals with autism, such as Autism New Jersey (ANJ), Rutgers University DDDC (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Autism of Delaware, and New Jersey Daredevils.
More information: Greenwich Autism Alliance Foundation
17. Autism Healthcare Collaborative (AHC)
The Autism Healthcare Collaborative is an internationally recognized nonprofit that focuses on facilitating medical services for families affected by autism.
The AHC connects families and local physicians with medical experts around the world via videoconferences. This model allows families to avoid the unnecessary costs associated with medical travel, while providing expertise to local providers to ensure quality care. They have also donated medical equipment to the Developmental Learning Centers in Warren and New Providence, New Jersey, devoted to helping children with autism overcome their fear of medical exams.
To date, the organization has reached over 12,000 individuals through its programs and services.
More information: Autism Health Collaborative
18. Merlin’s Kids
Merlin’s KIDS is a nonprofit organization based in Midland Park, New Jersey, that pairs service dogs with autistic children to improve their socialization skills and self-confidence. The foundation is known for its thorough evaluation and training of service dogs to meet each child’s unique needs. All dogs are rescued from shelters, rehabilitated, and trained specifically for the children they will serve.
More information: Merlin’s Kids
19. FACES 4 Autism
FACES 4 Autism started as a small support group known as Families for Autistic Children created by the Mosca family whose son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS in 2002.
Today, the charity focuses on creating inclusive opportunities for those with autism, as well as programs that foster self advocacy, independence, and dignity. They organize a variety of family activities, community awareness programs, and educational events, in addition to providing resources on autism to families and educators in the South Jersey area.
More information: FACES 4 Autism
20. REED Autism Services
Since its foundation in 2003, REED Autism Services has been supporting individuals with autism through high-quality educational programs.
REED Academy is a private, nonprofit school for autistic children in Oakland, New Jersey where educators work one-to-one with autistic students, focusing on academic as well as life skills.
The REED Next program provides comprehensive support and services for adults, including job training, community integration, and support with daily life skills. The foundation has also launched Greens Do Good, the first hydroponic vertical farm in New Jersey. The farm offers job training and employment opportunities for teens and adults with autism.
REED Autism Services heavily rely on donors to raise critical funds to support their programs.
More information: REED Autism Services
Spectrum360 provides educational and therapeutic programs for individuals on the autism spectrum who have learning, language, and social challenges. Donations make it possible to offer programs and services to individuals with autism that they cannot obtain from other resources.
The organization offers continuing education for students from age 3 to 21 in Verona and Livingston, New Jersey. In addition, it runs day programs for adults that offer vocational and internship opportunities, including a culinary institute and a film production studio.
More information: Spectrum360
22. Eden Autism
Eden Autism is another New Jersey-based nonprofit organization with more than four decades of success in providing services to autistic children, young adults, and their families.
The Eden School is a private school for children with autism from ages 3 through 21, accredited by the National Commission on Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES) and approved by the New Jersey Department of Education. The school offers early intervention, vocational training for adolescents with autism, as well as residential and employment services.
Donations to Eden Autism support a range of the nonprofit’s education, employment, residential and outreach services.
More information: Eden Autism
23. Paper Mill Playhouse
New Jersey’s largest producing theater, Paper Mill Playhouse, fosters a creative environment that promotes inclusion and access for all.
The innovative Lend Your Voice Project enables children with autism to gain confidence by performing in a school musical. The theater offers autism-friendly performances modified to accommodate individuals with autism and their families. Paper Mill also actively mentors arts organizations across the country to help them serve families of children with autism in their communities as well.
Paper Mill Playhouse’s accessibility programs have been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, VSA arts/MetLife, and the New Jersey Department of Recreation as a role model for performing arts organizations in the country.
More information: Paper Mill Playhouse
24. American Autism Association
Since its foundation in 2010, the American Autism Association has been offering educational material through its Autism Help Hotline and workshops for families of children with autism, along with free therapeutic athletic programs to low-income families.
The association provides extensive resources on autism to families, educators, and advocates, including grants, scholarships, assistance finding the best local therapists, health care providers, and schools for autistic children.
More information: American Autism Association
25. Turning Pointe Autism Foundation
Turning Pointe Autism Foundation was established in 2007 with the goal to raise the quality of educational support for autistic children and young adults. The nonprofit works with schools to increase independence and improve communication and social skills in individuals with autism.
The foundation operates two programs. The CN Day School offers autistic students a full-time aid, learning behavior specialist, and a team of inter-disciplinary clinicians. The Career College program, on the other hand, focuses on practical training. Students who graduate from this program are guaranteed an interview with one of Turning Pointe’s employment partners and 98% of students secure employment after graduation.
Donations to Turning Pointe Autism Foundation go towards supporting the students and teachers at the two schools.
More information: Turning Pointe Autism Foundation