Hard Times for Autism Speaks
This hasn't been accompanied by a reduction of Autism Speaks' hefty executive salaries, however, as pointed out in a recent editorial by former walk organizer Cindy Waeltermann entitled Autism Speaks. It’s a Living. After reviewing the expense information on the IRS Form 990 on the Autism Speaks website, she wrote:
Now I ask you, does this look like an organization that is suffering? It looks, to me, to be an organization that cares more about highly paid salaries, posh offices on #2 Park Avenue in New York, pricey fundraisers and getting its name in the newspaper. They seem to exist solely to pay salaries and throw parties…
…Autism Speaks is gaining quite a reputation in the autism community. They come into a town near you with their sweeping public relations teams, hold their annual “walk for autism” dog and pony show, sucking every last dollar out of the community, only to take it back to those posh #2 Park Avenue offices. While it may seem like a noble cause, the main result of Autism Speaks’ tactics is that LOCAL organizations that actually HELP people in your very own community by providing services and supports end up begging for funding. How long are we, as an autism community, going to close our eyes to what’s really going on here? The big corporate New York “show” organization is going from town to town like an infestation of locusts sucking out every last dollar that they can in order to pay 68% of its income in salaries and overhead.
In advising her readers to just "walk off," she also mentions that Autism Speaks has been protested and picketed by autistic adults and that it has been widely condemned for its spending, its scare tactics, and its treatment of autistic people.
I'll add to her observations that according to Autism Speaks' annual report, only 4% of its grants went toward family services anyway, even before the budget reductions. It was only a matter of time before parents started to realize that they had been duped. No organization can get away with a greedy scheme like that for very long.
But hate speech is free, unfortunately, so we're not likely to see any cutbacks there.
Labels: Autism Speaks