Els For Autism: Helping those with autism reach their potential

    Jan 03, 2018
The Els for Autism Foundation holds several fundraising events throughout the year to raise money and awareness for autism, including the Golf Challenge Series, which takes place between May and September across the U.S. and Canada, as well as the Wine Spectator & Cigar Aficionado Pro-Am, where top tour golf pros show others the ropes of the sport. CONTRIBUTED

What does Els for Autism foundation do?

Els for Autism Foundation was established in 2009 by Liezl and Ernie Els. The Els’ son, Ben, is impacted by the disorder which affects 1 in 68 children in the U.S. The world class pro golfer and his wife have devoted their efforts to a philanthropic project – The Els Center of Excellence. The center is a world-class facility hosting leading-edge programs and services. The foundation’s 26-acre Jupiter campus has all the essential components on one campus. With integrated programming and the continuity of service this allows, it is not only a game-changer for the local autism community, but makes the campus the perfect hub for a variety of global outreach activities.

How does your agency benefit the community?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurobiological disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities.

Els for Autism Foundation offers programs and services that are leading examples of what can be available to people with ASD. The Els Center of Excellence can serve more than 350 individuals with ASD on a daily basis. The campus houses two public, tuition-free charter schools:

• The Learning Center - serving ages 3-14

• The Learning Academy - serving ages 14-21

What is your agency’s focus for the future?

Throughout 2018, the Foundation will continue to provide a game-changing environment for our clients through the delivery of specialized programs and services, and will fundraise to finish building out the campus. Future build-out plans include:

• Sports Facility – an air-conditioned gymnasium, athletics fields, play courts and a swimming pool

• Medical & Research Services Facility – an on-campus facility to host medical services and study the causes and treatments of ASD

• Adult Services Facility – an on-campus, life-span service building for transition-age students and adults who have exited the school system

How can the community help?

The community can help in many ways: Become a donor and help us build-out the campus.

Participate in the Business Supporter Program. The Business Supporter Program’s objective is to deliver the foundation’s mission by keeping our families and communities informed about products, services and resources available from businesses who value and respect individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families.