National Autism Association Invites Facebook Users to 'Chase the Hope' for $1,000,000

Jan 15, 2010, 09:53 ET from National Autism Association

Chase Community Giving provides opportunity for expanded programs benefiting families affected by autism

NEW YORK, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Autism Association (NAA) announced today its move into Round Two of the Chase Community Giving program, placing the organization into the running for $1 million dollars to be awarded to the top vote-getter in Chase's Facebook-based challenge, January 15-22.


Autism rates have risen dramatically over the past three decades, now affecting one in 110 children in the US.  "Despite this staggering number, autism remains the most underfunded disorder among our nation's children," said NAA board chair and parent Lori McIlwain.  "Autism is a national health emergency placing unimaginable burdens on families. Chase Community Giving on Facebook offers a way to expand NAA's programs that directly benefit families dealing with autism."  

The $1 million award would allow NAA to significantly broaden its existing assistance programs which address the most critical needs among families impacted by autism.  These programs include Helping Hand, which assists families in funding desperately needed treatments and therapies for their children, and FOUND, which was established to combat the rise in wandering-related deaths in the autism community. "One million dollars would have a huge impact on our ability to reach those who need our help the most," Ms. McIlwain commented.

In addition to its family care programs, NAA advocates for the most relevant scientific research, legislation for access to medical care, coverage for medical and safety devices, services and support over the life span and protection from abuse towards individuals with autism.  The award money would allow for enhanced legislative and educational efforts for these crucial issues facing thousands of families nationwide.

"NAA's programs are unique in the autism community and have made a tremendous difference for so many families in desperate need," said Michele Iallonardi of Hauppauge, NY, mother of three boys diagnosed with autism. "I encourage everyone with a Facebook account to log on and vote for the National Autism Association."

To vote for NAA in Chase Community Giving on Facebook, go to

To share "Chase the Hope" messages on Facebook, visit

CONTACT: Rita Shreffler (Nixa, MO), 401-632-6452

Wendy Fournier (Portsmouth, RI), 401-835-5828

SOURCE National Autism Association