AutismAid, an ambitious new non-profit organization was formally announced early today by Founders Tim Welsh, a longtime Autism advocate known as @TannersDad on Twitter, and Lawrence Goldfarb, a successful businessman, founder of LRG Capital Group and Bay Area Autism activist.
I’ve known Tim via Twitter for more than three years now, and he debriefed me about the news via a Skype conversation Monday night.
“I feel like I won the lottery,” he said as he explained how the organization came to life after a serendipitous encounter via Twitter between the two. According to Tim, Lawrence was looking for ways to extend his existing Autism advocacy to a national level. Tim approached him with a number of ideas he conceived years ago – including the proposal of forming an umbrella organization similar to United Way – which could help fund and support Autism support groups for families across the country.
The idea immediately resonated with Lawrence and soon the two were in constant communication and the conversations quickly evolved into the blossoming of AutismAid. “It seemed like the perfect name given the recognition and success of other groups such as FarmAid and LiveAid,” Tim said. And surprisingly, the domain was available, so they snatched it up.
As I noted earlier, they have very ambitious goals for the organization. Their desire is to refocus education on key issues in autism and the mobilization of communities to create a sustainable safety net, effectively providing a balance of services in the community that they feel has not been adequate.
As Tim succinctly explained: “We want to stop situations where parents are killing their autistic children and themselves because they don’t know what else to do.” Tragically, this has been happening throughout the US at an alarmingly increasing rate the past few years.
One way Tim and Lawrence hope to improve situations for parents and families impacted by Autism is to identify local success stories – organizations and groups that have demonstrated programs on a local level – and provide funding and resources to extend those programs on a national level. This is one of the first tasks identified, and they are currently inviting “businesses, non-profits, the medical community, and individuals from neighborhoods around the world to participate in the cause.”
AutismAid doesn’t yet have a website but it’s under construction and Tim promised it will be live soon. For now, visitors can sign up for the newsletter and upcoming announcements.
I told Tim that this news literally made my week (and month) on a number of levels. First, I’m simply thrilled for Tim because he has been a tireless advocate for the autism community and now has a partner with a like-minded vision and resources to help implement his vision. He will now be able to impact even more families than before and be able to be 100% focused now that his work and passion are tied together. He’s essentially been working two full time jobs – trying to provide income for his family while also advocating on Twitter and social media. Secondly, I think this is a welcome development for the community and is sorely needed. The autism community is notoriously fragmented at both a national and local level, and there is a need to help centralize resources and best practices for families and those impacted by autism (of all ages).
I applaud Tim and Lawrence for taking this initiative and look forward to supporting AutismAid personally and professionally in the future.
Follow Tim Welsh at https://twitter.com/TannersDad