Autism Alliance of Michigan’s 2018 Holiday Heroes

The Autism Alliance of Michigan (AAoM) recognizes its 2018 Holiday Heroes. Our Holiday Heroes have made the lives of families living with Autism better this year with their leadership, their generosity, and their kindness. From all of us at AAoM, we wish you a very happy holiday season and healthy 2019!

Catalyst Club

The Catalyst Club raised $90,000 for our families this year. The Club is the joint effort of a number of individuals from throughout the Metro Detroit area focused on making a difference in the lives of children in Southeastern Michigan. Their generous donation will allow AAoM to purchase almost 200 GPS devices and provide 2,000 safety kits for our families.

Karen Colina Wilson Smithbauer

Dedicating one million dollars this year, Karen became our biggest individual contributor. Ms. Smithbauer’s generosity and thoughtfulness is vital in protecting individuals with autism against mistreatment of any kind. Her donation will fund a new initiative-AWARE: Alliance Working on Abuse Responsive Education and will help AAoM continue its efforts to serve adults and children with autism in Michigan and raise public awareness that will protect a population who are unable to protect themselves. For more information on AWARE, please contact or 877.463.2266.

Michigan Legislators

Senators Dave Hildenbrand, Peter MacGregor, Curtis Hertel, and Rebekah Warren

Senator Hildenbrand championed the expansion of the MiNavigator program, helping AAoM reach more families and connect more individuals with the treatment they need. Together with colleagues on both sides of the isle, these Senators helped make sure the MiNavigator program and Michigan’s Autism Medicaid program has the resources to serve families across the state.

Representative Laura Cox and House Speaker Tom Leonard

Both dedicated supporters for Autism support services in Michigan, Representative Cox and Speaker Leonard worked hand in hand to make sure the MiNavigator program was a top priority for the Michigan House of Representatives.

Representative Fred Durhal

A consummate leader and champion for Autism support, Representative Durhal worked with his Democratic colleagues in the Michigan House to make sure that the MiNavigator program was a top priority for them and at the fingertips of the families in their districts.

DTE Energy Foundation and Company

Contributing over $100,000 this year for various programs, including New Parent Bootcamps, MiNavigator Program and event support, DTE is and has been a great champion for advancing Autism support across the state.

Crain’s Detroit Business – Dustin Walsh

After breaking the business case for employing individuals with autism, in Crain’s, Dustin Walsh showcased what AAoM‘s work to connect employers to talent in the Autism community. Dustin is also vocal on social media (especially Twitter) about the benefits of people with ASD in the workplace and shouting out AAoM regularly.

Companies across Michigan

Companies across Michigan are partnering with Upbound to hire employees with Autism, tapping a workforce that is talented, reliable, and ultimately successful.

Kellogg Company

Autism benefits are now available for Kellogg’s employees across the country. A special thanks to the Kellogg Company for providing coverage that will improve quality of life for their families living with autism.

Autism Hero Walk Volunteers

An annual event at the Detroit Zoo, this event supports AAoM programming and sees record numbers of walkers, volunteers, and supporting companies.