Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Autism Speaks Attacks Local Charity's Fundraising Walk

When a local autism charity in Vermont decided to hold its own fundraising walk and keep the proceeds in the community, rather than inviting Autism Speaks as it had done last year, Autism Speaks reacted like a spiteful schoolyard bully and deliberately set out to sabotage the local group's event.

As reported by the blog Don't Tell the Donor, a watchdog site that blows the whistle on unsavory doings by nonprofit organizations:

...some parents began to question why they were raising money for national research when local families in Vermont needed immediate assistance.

As a result, one of last year's community sponsors - a group called Autism Support Daily - decided to organize their own walk and call it the Second Annual Vermont Walk on Saturday, September 29th. Rather than give up the event they helped organize - Autism Speaks is fighting back by organizing their own walk on Sunday, September 30th at the same park!

As a result of this dispute, it's likely both groups will only raise a fraction of what was raised last year...

I'm sure the lowlifes at Autism Speaks are very well aware that they won't attract any contributions by holding a walk one day after the local fundraiser. They are intentionally spoiling both events for the purpose of intimidating other local autism charities into staying out of their way, like a gang of hooligans claiming their turf.

The group that they're attacking, Autism Support Daily, seems to be a decent bunch of folks who are providing genuinely useful services. The language on the Autism Support Daily website is generally positive and respectful. Here's how the group describes itself:

At Autism Support Daily, we are dedicated to empowering, supporting and educating families and friends of children with autism as well as individuals with autism by providing guidance, support, informational resources and family-oriented activities, in addition to financial assistance for medical, educational or professional services, treatments or programs for those with autism, while building a heightened public and professional awareness of the challenges faced, with emphasis on enabling those with autism to achieve independent living.

Once again, the bullies at Autism Speaks have shown the depths of their nastiness with this selfish, greedy attack on a community group that is working to help families.



  • From the very beginning, with the introduction of the fund-raising flick with the five fanatical momz, I"ve thought the actual name of this organization should be Narcissism Speaks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:46 AM  

  • While Autism Support Daily does seem less of an autism-haters club than AS, I couldn't help but notice and all-too-familiar pattern.

    First, they have a discussion forum for parents, and one for parents-and-professionals. I guess it never occurred to them that actual autistics might have something useful to contribute to the discussion. Second, and as evidence of the first, they appear to be quite fond of "person first" language -- "individuals with autism" as opposed to "autistics" -- something that few of us take kindly to.

    One would think that such a resourceful organization as Autism Sneaks would know better than to alienate those whose fundamental ideology about autism (the deficit/disease model) is not in opposition to their own. Ironically, I can't help but be both amused and encouraged to see once again that they don't know how to pick their battles, and can't distinguish friend from foe.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:02 AM  

  • Considering that Autism Support Daily actually have done something real I get the impression that they are alot more reasonable environment to discuss actual issues related to autism rather than Autism Speaks - who have a rather funny view of what actually is issues for autistics.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:48 AM  

  • Monopoly tactics ftw :(

    By Blogger elmindreda, at 1:32 PM  

  • I agree, what can we do to get rid of Autism Speaks?

    By Blogger John Best, at 9:21 PM  

  • Autism Speaks is in an ackward situation, isn't it? We hate it for its genetic research (and for its pity message). The curebies also hate it, for its genetic research.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:47 PM  

  • It probably would have been less problematic to cal the walk something else- like "FIRST Annual Walk for Friends and Neighbors" or something like that, and picking a weekend different from whenever the AS walk was last year (was that also in September?) June in Vermont is lovely. So is October, when teh leaves are in full swing. Or have a different type f event, like a fair. Saying it was the "second" walk is just begging for AS to get titchy.

    By Blogger Joeymom, at 7:56 AM  

  • what do you think of these walks in the first place?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:55 PM  

  • Miss Crip Chick: Good question... I'd say it depends on how the walks are done. If the overall attitude is respectful, and the money is used in ways that actually help people (rather than eugenics research), then I think it's a reasonable method of fundraising in today's social climate.

    Ultimately, though, our society needs to get away from the charity mindset and start making services and accommodations regularly available to all sorts of people with different needs and abilities, rather than arbitrarily treating certain kinds of services as special frills that can only be provided through the kindness of charitable donors.

    By Blogger abfh, at 8:32 AM  

  • When I showed up at a local AS fundraiser and stood outside on public property handing out information about mercury in vaccines, I was told that if I didn't leave, I would be arrested. The police were called out but didn't arrest me. They told me that I was within my rights. One of the local AS big wigs, Shari Goldberg, later lied on a local newsgroup, saying that no arrest attempt was ever made.

    I say let them have their events wherever and whenver they want to if it's legal. The more people see of them, the more they will be seen for the thugs that they are.

    Robin Nemeth

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:58 AM  

  • I'm not surprised. I emailed Autism Speaks to asked if they wanted to be involved in the fundraising activity I am organizing and presenting (in my spare time, I have a day job) - I even said I was thinking of directing 100% of the proceeds to Autism Speaks. The fundraiser is a push-up marathon (as many as you can do in 4 hours). Autsism Speaks ignored my emails and invitation to telephone me. Only after I sent a few emails asking why they would not even respond, someone finally emailed and said it is not the type of event that they want to be associated with. So there. I'll have to find another autism group to send the donations to. I'm going through with this with my own money and some generous friends. I can't believe this. I was offering them all proceeds, top billing etc.

    By Blogger Larry C, at 7:33 PM  

  • HI everybody, I like this blog. I am working in this project : http://www.freewebs.com/acrossamericaforautismawareness/
    and am learning the hard way about ASA and AS red tape for activities that actually reach the regular folk. They ignore my requests to work tegether on our project, their main interest seems to be big local fundraising for their national programs. I don't know how many people living daily with autism are really benefited from their money. I am still looking for supporters, and I think my project DOES benefit the folks living with Autism. Righ now I need support my self, but later on would like to help fundraise to an organization that work helping families with their daily struggle. I was checking out Easter seals but got a little surprised when I learned that their budget is over 320 million !!! - monthly cost around here 1,300 !!! Anybody know of some worthy group ? ANybody want to help in my project ??
    Thank you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:16 AM  

  • Larry C. and Anonymous -- I recommend The Autism Acceptance Project, which presents conferences and other events to improve society's understanding of autism and to dispel prejudice.

    By Blogger abfh, at 8:32 AM  

  • I think Autism Speaks behaves less like street hooligans, and more like bratty children. Having their little walkie, parading around shouting "We were hear first! We were hear first!"

    For a group of people so unfond of people, who might behave more like small children. Perhaps they need to stop acting so infantile themselves.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:33 AM  

  • Shame on you, all of you. Have you actually checked to see where AS money goes? Are you, so quick to judge, too busy to notice that communities can apply for grants for local projects and assistance? These walks are ways for families and friends to relieve their frustrations and anguish and have a sense of control in a crazy cycle of therapies, setbacks, and tears.

    Autism Speaks was the only organization to reach out to our family after my son's diagnosis; they sent out an entire binder filled with therapy types, contact info, and HOPE. Shame on you for being so self-absorbed to see the good in people banding together to do more.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:45 AM  

  • Oh my goodness! I think everyone needs to just take a deep breath. It seems that in every area of our lives we are attacked, afraid we will upset someone or judging others. Why is it that people are not thinking of others first? I bet both of these groups have good people with hearts of gold. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that our way is not the only way to reach a common goal. Please everyone, let us not be so critical, afraid of change or afraid of loss that we cannot love and accept one another and our different approaches to life. Our power for Autism fundraising is in our different ideas and approaches.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:16 AM  

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