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While the last remnants of Halloween candy may still be around, we, at the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, are gearing up for another busy holiday season.  With Thanksgiving upon us we wanted to pause and let you know why we are so very grateful this year.  From new programs, to grants and, of course, all the people who make our work possible, we are thankful beyond measure to continue helping so many families with loved ones living their lives on the spectrum.

1. Donors: We have an army of over 2,600 donors so far this year, an increase of 600. We cherish these relationships and always look forward to seeing their friendly faces at our annual fundraising events, including the Flutie 5k, Golf Classic, and “A Night to Shine” Gala.

2. Corporate sponsors: When businesses use their resources for good, we all win. We are fortunate to have partners like TripAdvisor, The New England Mazda Dealers, Wireless Experience, Irving Oil, Eastern Bank and more that believe in and support our mission.

3. Grantees: A record number of organizations applied for grants this year. We look forward to celebrating them, hearing their inspiring stories and learning best practices at our Partners Summit on December 9th. It’s an honor to be able to further the work of so many wonderful autism organizations and programs.

4. Recognition: This September we were awarded the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Sports Award for our innovative and influential approach to using sports to build a “Culture of Health” in our community. We are humbled by this national recognition and inspired to do more.

5.  Active lifestyle programming: A year ago we launched “Autism on the Go” in honor of the late Joan and Dick Flutie. This program recognizes the Flutie’s and their passion for instilling a love of recreation and physical activity in their own children. This year we awarded six “Autism on the Go” grants to families so they could continue to take part in different recreational activities.  We are happy to be able to honor the Flutie’s and their legacy.

6. Board support: We have a committed and talented Board that donates their time and expertise to guide and support us in ways to best serve families on the autism spectrum.

7. Adult independence programing: In 2014, we decided to put a stake in the ground and do something to help children aging out of the school system gain employment.  After researching other business models, we started Flutie Spectrum Enterprises (FSE), a social enterprise creating micro-businesses to employ adults with autism.  We are thankful for our customers, employees, and partners as we watch this business continue to grow.

8. Access to service: Realizing the gains that many people with autism have achieved using the iPad, the Allison Keller Education Technology Program was created to help fill the financial and technological gap for schools and organizations that assist individuals with autism. Over the past four years, we have granted over $270,000 to 57 schools and organizations for established technology programs or to grantees interested in starting a program.

9. Dougie’s Team: Dougie’s Team consists of individuals who participate in a variety of sporting events to raise money for the Flutie Foundation. We are proud to be an official charity partner for the 2017 Boston Marathon and are even prouder of the 15 individuals who have been selected to represent us at this prestigious event.

10. Families: We are so touched by the incredible families we meet along the way. Hearing how your lives have been made better by our programs and funding is what makes our jobs so rewarding and keeps us working harder. We are humbled by you and are deeply committed to doing our part to make things easier along the way.

Wishing you joy this holiday season,

The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation Team