The mission of the Eagles Autism Foundation is to support the highest quality and most impactful autism research and care to improve the lives of affected individuals and families now, as well as foster the acquisition of knowledge, technologies, and discoveries that will bring new opportunities in the future. While we remain steadfast in our commitment to fund the most innovative research, we also recognize the immediate need to serve individuals through the community grant program. Stay tuned for updates regarding our 2022 funding process.
Our Impact 2021
Dr. Emanuel DiCicco-Bloom
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Chair of the NIH Developmental Brain Disorders study section, member of the Society for Neuroscience Audit Committee, serves on Autism Science Foundation and the American Brain Coalition panels
Dr. Anita Bhattacharyya
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dr. Kristofer E. Bouchard
University of California, Berkley
Pl, Neural Systems and Data Science Lab, Biological Systems & Engineering Division, LBNL Group Lead, Computational Biosciences Group,
Scientific Data Division, LBNL, Assistant Adjunct Professor Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute &
Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, UC Berkeley
Dr. Eric Butter
Ohio State University College of Medicine
Dr. Maria Chahrour
University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
Dr. Damien Fair
University of Minnesota
Professor, Institute of Child Development; Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School;
Redleaf Endowed Director, Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain
Dr. Tarik Haydar
Children’s National Hospital
Director, Center for Neuroscience Research Professor, Pharmacology and Physiology; George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Professor, Pediatrics; George Washington University School and Medicine and Health Sciences
Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology; Boston University
Dr. Kenneth Kwan
University of Michigan
Dr. Adriana DiMartino
Child Mind Institute
Dr. Damon Page
The Scripps Research Institute
Dr. Celine Saulnier
Neurodevelopmental Assessment and Consulting Services
Dr. Sara Jane Webb
Seattle Children’s Research Institute; University of Washington
Dr. Maureen Barr
2021 Research Grants
Eric Morrow – Mechanisms of neurodevelopmental abnormalities in 17q12 CNV-associated autism
Maria Chiara Manzini – Establishing synaptic PDE4D signaling as a therapeutic target for autism
Crystal Engineer – Restoring auditory processing in a rat model of Rett Syndrome
Allison Curry – Assessing driver readiness among autistic adolescents
Byoung-IL Bae – Role of excessive embryonic neurogenesis in autism
2021 Community Grant Recipients
A.J. Drexel Autism Institute – Gender Identity and Autism
There has been found to be a higher co-occurrence of transgender identity among individuals with autism than in the general population. Little is known about how transgender individuals with autism feel about their experiences and how they can be best supported in their communities and outside of clinical settings. This grant will help fund the research and partnership with transgender individuals with autism in the Philadelphia community and existing organizations.
A.J. Drexel Autism Institute – Policy and Analytics Center
The Life on the Spectrum Workshop Series is created by autistic individuals, for autistic individuals to generate content and education geared towards aging individuals on the Spectrum. The funding from the grant will be utilized to meet Philadelphia’s language needs including translation, interpretation, captioning services, and for self-advocates’ time to develop and execute the series that will be shared locally, statewide, and nationally covering a large range of topics.
The Center for Autism Research
Funding provided directly from Huddle Up for Autism event, “The Center for Autism Research (CAR) coordinates and supports research on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). CAR’s goals are to identify the underlying causes of ASD in order to develop effective treatments, and support individuals with ASD and their families by providing evidence-based resources and education.”
Center at Hampton House
The Center at Hampton House has been founded on the need to find new pathways to employment and social engagement for young adults. They provide various programs to help develop a variety of lifelong skills that pave the way towards employment, independent living, and social enrichment. The funding from this grant is going to be used to help continue to grow their program, reach more students, and enable Hampton House to provide more opportunities for these students through local internships, housing, and financial planning support as a pathway to independence.
Community Behavioral Health – Evidence Based Practice and Innovation Center (EPIC)
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy is evidence based and built on the Principles of Behavior Analysis with intervention focusing on challenging behaviors. Of the 31 Philadelphia PCIT clinicians less than 1% identify as part of the Black or Latinx communities, and 75% of the Community Behavioral Health members receiving PCIT services are part of those communities. The funds from the grant will be used to train 12 Black and Latinx therapists in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy for children with ASD. The goal in this project is to use funds to support the building of a more culturally representative provider community for care for Black and Latinx families. The PCIT trainers are associated with academic institutions including: Florida Tech, Iowa State, and University of Arkansas.
A.J. Drexel Autism Institute – Transition Pathways
Project Career Launch is a school to work transition program that serves students with ASD at the school district of Philadelphia. At the conclusion of completing the program the participants are connected to employment and/or further education aligned with their career goals. Funding will be used for stipends for autistic participants and leaders, soliciting their input in focus groups, surveys, and speaking events. Funding will also support stipends for students to participate in important career development activities, internships, and training opportunities as they prepare to enter the workforce.
A Step Up Academy
ASUA’s mission is to prepare students to become engaged participants in society by developing innovative academic, social, emotional, and behavioral programming as well as impact community partnerships. During this time, the project they are receiving funding for is a new program called Spectrum. Spectrum is a concept design for a school agricultural program where students build a business from the ground up and lead all aspects of its function. For students not yet at transition age, this program will create in-house opportunities for unique inclusion experiences and hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.
Elwyn Early Learning Services
Elwyn Early Learning Services acts as the sole provider of early intervention evaluation and services in the city of Philadelphia. When the pandemic hit, they began offering tele-services via phone call or video calls. 98% of their families participated this way seeking translation and interpretation services as English was not their first language. These unbudgeted expenses totaled several thousand dollars each month. With this grant, they are seeking the funds to help support their ongoing need for tele-services while Elwyn is adapting to a new set of budgetary needs. Languages served include Arabic, Cambodian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Vietnamese, and Russian.
Ken’s Krew is requesting this grant to help support their Retail Training Program in which they will be training and preparing 40 young adults with ASD for sustainable careers. This initiative is in effort to combat the 80% unemployment rate in the neurodiverse community. These funds will go towards promoting this program and assisting members of the ASD community with gaining confidence in their ability to perform in the workplace along with providing them the opportunity to earn a fair wage and reach their full potential.
Kinney Center for Autism Education
The Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at Saint Joseph’s University is expanding its commitment to college students with autism by offering an on-campus residential option that builds community and provides increased support. The new residence hall will be available to undergraduate students enrolled in the ASPIRE program, an immersive program providing autistic students with a wide range of personalized support services. The expansion of services aims to enhance the transition from adolescence into adulthood for individuals on the spectrum, as the number of young adults on the spectrum continues to grow. This grant would fund a sensory-friendly common space, created in the principles of universal design that facilitates relationship and skill building resulting in improved graduation outcomes.
Penn Dental Medicine
Penn Dental wants to make a shift in dental education and care with the aim to increase dental healthcare for adults with disabilities, including adults with autism. The grant will be used to fund professional videos filmed through the eyes of the patient, and with some of the patients acting as “new” patients, walking them through the procedures of arriving at the office, a first appointment, and then what further appointments after that one would look like as well. These videos are going to be used to hopefully break down the barrier between caring for a new patient and their needs and accommodations. The hope is that these videos will help to eliminate any nervousness about a new environment that could potentially lead to an emotional or behavioral outburst.
The Philadelphia Orchestra wants to continue their partnership with a sensory-friendly in-person performance by their full orchestra on Friday May 20 as a kick-off to Eagles Autism Challenge this year. The event will include a live and virtual performance that will also be used in their Our City initiative. At the live performance they will include activities such as the instrument petting zoo, instrument making station, t-shirt and mask decorating and potentially Philly food trucks. The goal is to create an inclusive and sensory-friendly environment so all neuro-diverse individuals and their families can enjoy their time and potentially support EAC as well.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania
In 2018, the Special Olympics PA launched a new initiative called Cities of Inclusion with the goal to make Philadelphia a city where people with disabilities can lead healthy and fulfilling lives as respected members of a more inclusive society. The funding from this grant will go towards renewing support for a COI fellow, support longitudinal attitude research to help measure and evaluate effectiveness of COI initiatives and provide support for hosting another COI Summit to bring together a wide variety of stakeholders.
Valley Forge Education Services
VFES offers educational, summer, and employment-regulated programs for children and adults with special needs. VFES’ grant funding from the Eagles Autism Foundation is to be used for staff job coach training and on-campus job supplies for our vocational programs. Their vocational programs serve a direct need in the autism community and further the Foundation’s mission of enhancing the lives of people with autism.
Variety is requesting to fund their customized workforce development model, VarietyWorks. This program supports youth ages 14-24 presenting with autism and intellectual disabilities as they obtain meaningful employment in the community. VarietyWorks is rooted in their Theory of Change, which states that when young adults with disabilities have access to choices and engage in individualized instruction and employment experiences, they will become self-confident, independent, and better prepared for life.