Hi Friends,Today is a very special day to us, it's National Autism Awareness Day. If you know someone or a family that has a child\/adult with Autism, we encourage you to be mindful, supportive and understanding. It's touched our lives deeply and is the reason that we started FlapJacked. You can read about our son, Jace, and how he has impacted our company here.\r\nIf you are interested in helping out or donating to the cause, we have listed our favorite not-for profit organizations below with some advice on finding the right organization for you and your needs.\r\nIt can be very tricky to choose an autism-related charity that not only meets your personal criteria but is also worth supporting as an organization. That's because different groups have different missions. Some groups are geographically focused (national or regional) and others have a very specific focus. (For example, they may only serve autistic adults while others may only underwrite particular types of research.) Think about what means the most to you while looking at available options as well as some other ways to get involved and give back. \r\nMake sure you do your research before considering giving back. For a great resource of tracking any charity, The Charity Navigator is a great resource for reviewing an organization, it’s mission, programs and even down to where the funds are spent. \r\nOur favorites are featured below and are at the top of many not-for-profit charity lists for their great missions, their dedication to their cause and appropriate use of funds.\r\n~Jennifer \u0026amp; David Bacon\r\n \r\nNATIONAL:\r\nOrganization for Autism Research (OAR)\r\nOAR is rated #1 on our list because of its careful and appropriate use of donor funds, its transparency, and its accountability. It is a national autism organization that "strive[s] to use science to address the social, educational, and treatment concerns of self-advocates, parents, autism professionals, and caregivers." OAR was created in 2001 by parents and grandparents who shared a common belief that applied research would answer the questions that parents, families, individuals with autism, teachers and caregivers confront daily. No other autism organization has this singular focus. OAR offers programs such as:\r\n\r\nScholarships to college for adults with autism\r\nPrograms and resources for autistic self-advocates\r\n"Hire autism," a portal for employers interested in hiring adults with autism\r\n\r\nAutism Research Institute (ARI) Founded in 1967 by Dr. Bernard Rimland, ARI conducts and fosters scientific research designed to improve the methods of diagnosing, treating, and preventing autism. It is ARI’s mission to improve the health and well-being of people on the autism spectrum through research and the education of professionals, those who are affected, and their families. ARI also disseminates research findings to parents and others worldwide seeking help.\r\n \r\nREGIONAL:\r\nTurning Pointe Autism Foundation\r\nFounded in 2007 by Kim and Randy Wolf to provide families with the support needed when managing the challenges faced by children with Autism. The Wolfs personally understood this because their son Jack is impacted. With the need growing for services, the Wolfs expanded the Foundation's commitment to incorporate educational initiatives, family supports, residential plans, and recreation programs. Turning Pointe Autism Foundation continues to create innovative programs and services to assist individuals and families as they navigate through the lifelong impact of Autism.\r\nSouthwest Autism Research \u0026amp; Resource Center\r\nEstablished in 1997, the Southwest Autism Research \u0026amp; Resource Center's (SARRC) mission is to advance research and provide a lifetime of support for individuals with autism and their families. SARRC provides programs that address the needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) of all ages by offering an early intervention program for newly diagnosed through community-based life skills and vocational experiences for teens (ages 13-18); and employment services for adults.