Charles Lafitte Foundation Announces $160,000 In Grants To Fund Autism Research And Educational Programs At The University Of Washington In Seattle

BRIELLE, N.J. – May 15, 2007 – The Charles Lafitte Foundation, a philanthropic organization committed to providing support for education, children’s advocacy, medical research and issues, and the arts, today announced the final installment of grants totaling $160,000 to autism research and educational programs at the University of Washington in Seattle.  The University’s Autism Center was awarded $60,000 and the Experimental Education Unit (EEU) received $100,000.

Autism is a neurological disability that affects normal development of social interaction and communication skills.  The University of Washington has made great strides in the study and treatment of autism, which, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affects 1 in 150 births nationwide.  Approximately 1.5 million Americans have been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder, which encompasses the varied symptoms and levels of functioning experienced by people living with autism.

The University’s Autism Center offers a variety of assessments and intervention services for children from infancy through adolescence with autism spectrum disorders.  The Center is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with autism through intervention, education, professional training, and research aimed at effective treatments, prevention and cure.  Due to the high cost of interventions for children with autism, which are not covered by insurance, families are often unable to meet their children’s needs.  The $60,000 grant from the Foundation will directly aide families by helping them afford these vital services.

“It’s daunting to realize that the autism community is growing every day as more and more families experience autism diagnoses,” said Suzanne Citron, Co-Founder of The Charles Lafitte Foundation.  ”The Autism Center is an invaluable resource for families living with autism worldwide by providing needed clinical services, research and professional training programs.  Since the lifetime cost of treating a person living with autism, starting with intensive early intervention, can be staggering, our donation will provide aide to families of the Autism Center to ease their financial hardships.”
The Foundation’s $100,000 grant to the University’s Experimental Education Unit’s (EEU) supports its early childhood center that offers inclusive educational programs and services for children with disabilities and their families in the greater Seattle area.  The EEU programs encourage the development of children’s cognitive, motor and social interactive skills by emphasizing educational and therapeutic interventions that are geared to each of their individual needs.

“The dedication and commitment by the University of Washington’s researchers and clinicians to research and treat autism has made a positive impact in the lives of children living with autism and their families.  By supporting the Autism Center and EEU, we are helping to pave the way for more progress to be made in the fight against autism,” said Jeffrey Citron, Co-Founder of The Charles Lafitte Foundation.

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About Charles Lafitte Foundation: Founded in 1999 by Suzanne and Jeffrey Citron, the mission of the Charles Lafitte Foundation ( HYPERLINK “http://www.charleslafitte.org” www.charleslafitte.org) is to provide for and support inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and others around them to lead healthy, satisfying and enriched lives.  To fulfill this mission, the Foundation acts as a grantmaker, innovator and volunteer for four main programs: Education, Children’s Advocacy, Medical Research and Issues, and the Arts and has given over $3.25 million in grants to not-for-profit organizations throughout the United States.  Jeffrey Citron is known as both a pioneer and visionary in the financial and telecommunications industries.  He is currently the acting CEO and Chief Strategist of Vonage, a leading provider of SIP-based, VoIP communications services, and previously founded and served as CEO of Datek Online Holdings, formerly the fourth largest online brokerage company, and Island ECN, formerly the second largest global financial exchange.

Contacts:
Jennifer Vertetis
Charles Lafitte Foundation
jennifer@charleslafitte.org

Lauren Ely, MWW Group
201-964-2437
lely@mww.com