News Article Details

$7 million autism initiative debuts

Times Leader - 9/28/2018

Sept. 28--WILKES-BARRE -- Longtime regional philanthropic figure John Moses summed up what was being announced simply.

"In order to make philanthropy work, you have to be able to make one plus one equal three," Moses said.

As chairman of the AllOne Foundation board, Attorney Moses stood before a room of who's who in area health care, education and charity services to introduce a new, $7 million initiative to improve regional services for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The program, dubbed Autism Collaborative Centers of Excellence (ACCE), involves local and national funding charities and a bevy of health care, education and community service entities.

Calling it "the largest donation by a private foundation to any social problem in the history of Northeastern Pennsylvania," Moses said it marks the "largest collaboration between the AllOne Foundation and other regional foundations."

"The best way to make philanthropy work is get other foundations to join you so that everyone is going together in the same direction," he said.

Along with AllOne, formed amid the merger of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Highmark Health, Moses said financial support for ACCE is coming from the The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Margaret Briggs Foundation, Northeast PA Health Care Foundation, Highmark Foundation, Geisinger Foundation and Moses Taylor Foundation.

The program involves the University of Scranton, Misericordia University, Geisinger Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute, Wyoming Valley Children's Association, Friendship House, Children's Service Center, Hope Enterprises, Allied Services, Goodwill Industries of Northeastern PA, Northeast Pennsylvania Center for Independent Living and the ARC of Luzerne County.

AllOne Foundation Executive Director John Cosgrove quoted Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Cosgrove outlined what each institution and agency will bring to a program planning to create "family friendly ASD Community Hubs" where individuals and families can get help in identifying autism and getting services and support. Other goals include setting up a network of qualified providers; delivering services and support across ages; enhancing undergraduate and graduate training in ASD fields; expanding respite care for families; and setting up a data collection and analysis program to track success and improve efforts.

Cosgrove said statistics show one in 68 people may have ASD, meaning some 17,000 in the 13-county region previously covered by Blue Cross NEPA.

For more information, call 570-208-1200 or go to AllOneforAutism.org.

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish

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(c)2018 The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)

Visit The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) at www.timesleader.com

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