Autism Speaks and Lindt Seeking Nominations for 'Lindt Unsung Heroes of Autism' Lindt USA to Honor Individuals for Contributions to Autism Cause; Part of Ongoing Initiative with Autism Speaks

STRATHAM, N.H., Jan. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Premium chocolate manufacturer Lindt USA announces beginning today it is seeking nominations for the Lindt Unsung Heroes of Autism program.  One in 110 children and countless family members across the country are touched daily by the effects of autism.  The Unsung Heroes program -- part of Lindt's partnership with Autism Speaks during the Easter season -- honors ordinary individuals who are extraordinary champions for those affected by autism in their family, home and community.  

Now through February 15, 2011, people can visit www.LindtGoldBunny.com to nominate themselves, or someone they know, for the opportunity to be chosen as one of three Lindt Unsung Heroes of Autism.  Selected from an impressive pool of applicants, past honorees have included champions for autism education and research, family program providers, legislative activists and those who have established foundations and schools to benefit those directly affected by autism.

The Lindt Unsung Heroes will each receive $5,000 toward their efforts and initiatives supporting those affected by autism.  The honorees will be celebrated at events within their community, as well as receive recognition at, and paid travel to, a Lindt Unsung Heroes of Autism event in New York this spring.  All three honorees will also be featured on LindtGoldBunny.com.  

"We're very excited to be honoring champions for the autism cause for a third year as part of our partnership with Autism Speaks," said Thomas Linemayr, chief executive officer and president of Lindt USA.  "We look forward to another extraordinary pool of Unsung Heroes of Autism applicants in 2011."

"We are delighted Lindt continues to honor local heroes who are the everyday champions of a cause that affects so many," said Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks, North America's largest autism research and advocacy organization.  "It's wonderful to see people who give so much, whether in their own family lives or those of others, be recognized and supported in this way."

Nomination Details

Individuals can nominate themselves or someone they know to be considered as a Lindt Unsung Hero of Autism.  To be eligible, nominees must be 14 years of age or older and a resident of the 48 continental United States or the District of Columbia.  Entries must consist of a 250-500 word essay describing how the nominee embodies a Lindt Unsung Hero of Autism.  

A panel of judges, including representatives from Lindt and Parents magazine, will review the submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstration of a strong and sustained commitment to autism, including a personal sacrifice
  • Illustration of a creative and innovative concept that furthers the goals of living with autism, raising awareness and/or research initiatives in his/her community
  • Impact of individual contributions on the lives of others or on his/her community who are impacted by autism
  • Identifiable changes that have been the result of the individual's activities

In addition to the Lindt Unsung Heroes program, for the past three years, Lindt has partnered with Autism Speaks during the Easter season to support those affected by autism and to raise funds and awareness for the cause.  Lindt is supporting Autism Speaks again this coming Easter season with a 10 cent donation from all Lindt Gold Bunny purchases, a $1 donation for every free e-card sent from LindtGoldBunny.com and proceeds from the upcoming Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction.  In addition, beginning today Lindt will be hosting a Facebook fan count donation page at Facebook.com/LindtChocolate.  For each time a fan "likes" the page Lindt will donate $1 to Autism Speaks, up to $5,000.  For more information or to view the official rules and guidelines please visit www.LindtGoldBunny.com.

About Lindt & Sprungli

Founded in 1845, Lindt & Sprungli is a global leader in the premium chocolate category, offering high-quality products in more than 100 countries.  Lindt & Sprungli operates eight production facilities in Europe and the United States and employs 7,400 worldwide.  Lindt USA operates more than 40 retail stores in the U.S. and maintains wide distribution through extensive retail and wholesale channels.  For more information on Lindt, visit www.lindt.com.

About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $142.5 million to research through 2014 and developing innovative new resources for families. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks' Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, which Autism Speaks celebrates through its Light it Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning "Learn the Signs" campaign with the Ad Council has received over $249 million in donated media. Autism Speaks' family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit and a community grant program. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government's response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 23 states thus far, with bills pending in an additional 14 states. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.

About the Co-Founders

Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners, Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the boards of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, RAND Corporation and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright has an extensive history of active involvement in community and philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children. She is a Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has received numerous awards, such as the CHILD Magazine Children's Champions Award, Luella Bennack Volunteer Award, Spirit of Achievement award by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's National Women's Division and The Women of Vision Award from the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 Heroes and Pioneers category, a list of the most influential people in the world, for their commitment to global autism advocacy. They have also received numerous awards such as the first ever 'Double Helix Award for Corporate Leadership, NYU Child Advocacy Award, Castle Connolly National Health Leadership Award and The American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award. In May of 2010 they received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees from St. John's University in Queens and delivered the commencement address as the first married couple to be bestowed such an honor.  

SOURCE Lindt & Sprungli



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