Autism Science Foundation fundraiser on Philanthroper

12 Apr

The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) is running a fundraiser on Philanthroper. These are short (1 day) fundraisers with small amounts ($1 to $10). Below is the text from the fundraiser.

“You can make a big difference with money placed in the right scientific hands.”

– Alison Singer, Autism Science Foundation

It’s Autism Awareness Month. We know a lot and a little about it. We know it’s a development disorder affecting about 1:88 people. We know it affects boys four times more than girls. We know it can make simple communication and social interactions impossibly difficult for those who have it.

We don’t know “the cause,” but we strongly suspect a large genetic component since identical twins will usually share a diagnosis.

We do know we need to learn more.

The Autism Science Foundation is a new group of parents and doctors united to fund the freshest, most exciting ideas to track down the causes of autism and develop evidence-based treatments.

And they’re really good at leveraging small grants to young, driven researchers – like doctoral students – to explore promising new ideas.

“That first grant can make a huge difference,” explains President Alison Singer. “That’s the money that’s dried up from the federal government. That’s what makes or breaks someone’s career.”

It’s a smart approach: don’t write the biggest checks, just try to write the most important ones. Fund a researcher just enough to explore an idea and gather preliminary data. Then, with this germinating seed of science, a researcher can apply for a larger grant somewhere else to continue the work.

And sometimes, most of the legwork of this research has been completed in the umbrella of another study – there’s just no way to see it through.

“You’ll have a student working on another grant who says, ‘wow, we should also be looking at this function, or this particular protein,'” explains Singer. “That only takes a little bit of extra money.”

Given the ASF’s focus on young, driven minds, it’s not surprising that they themselves are a hot startup in the world of autism nonprofits. Nor is it surprising that they’ve already funded successful research at Johns Hopkins.

That said, they can only do what they do by raising money.

“We run this foundation on a shoestring,” says Singer. “At the end of the year, and we write those grant checks and the treasury goes down to zero. The money does not do anyone any good sitting in Citibank.”

One Response to “Autism Science Foundation fundraiser on Philanthroper”


  1. Autism Blog – Autism Science Foundation fundraiser on … | My Autism Site | All About Autism - April 13, 2012

    […] See more here: Autism Blog – Autism Science Foundation fundraiser on … […]

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