Luke’s Journey Fund

Luke’s Journey Fund was established on March 3rd, 2016 by Doug Underwood in partnership with Autism Empowerment. The mission of Luke’s Journey Fund is to provide grant opportunities and resources for families in Clark County and Cowlitz County, WA, who need financial assistance to cover costs specifically related to supporting their child or children diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

Luke’s Journey Fund is inspired by Doug’s son, Luke, who was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at age 3. Realizing that insurance does not always cover recommended services, therapies, and equipment, Doug approached Autism Empowerment to set up a fund to help families with youth on the autism spectrum have better access to services they need that are financially out of their reach. Luke’s Journey Fund grants are available for up to $1,000 per child, per year.

Additionally, the hope is that families will get better connected with the programs, resources, and services offered by Autism Empowerment and other groups within the community.

Luke’s Fund Grant Eligibility

The intent of the fund is to help as many children on the autism spectrum as possible; however, the number of grants given and the dollar amounts available will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of funds available to award and the number of applications received.

  • Children must live in Clark or Cowlitz counties in the state of Washington.
  • Children must be 18 years of age or younger with a documented autism spectrum diagnosis (DSM-IV or V)
  • The requested therapy, service or equipment must be directly related to the child’s autism treatment and recommended in a referral letter from a doctor, therapist or special education professional.
  • Preference is given to families exhibiting financial need. Extenuating circumstances are considered.
  • FUNDING UPDATE: As of  September 2016, we currently have raised over $3,450 in donations that have been earmarked directly for Luke’s Journey Fund. We are very appreciative to all individuals and businesses who have donated! There is a great need in our community and we want to be able to offer meaningful grant amounts. At this time, our Board has decided to collect donations through the end of 2016 and once we reach $10,000 or December 31st, 2016 (whichever comes first), we will release on our website an application with instructions and eligibility requirements. Grant funding decisions will be made by the Luke’s Fund Committee at Autism Empowerment, and our first awards will be in early 2017.

What might the grant cover?

There is a broad range of services and equipment that may be covered by a Luke’s Fund Grant.  Each person on the autism spectrum is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Here is a list of some of the autism services and equipment that may be covered.

  • Center and home based therapies including, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA and Speech Therapy
  • Summer camps
  • Electronic communications including tablets and apps
  • Professional Advocacy and IEP assistance
  • Recreational Leagues and Scouting program fees
  • Scouting Programs (including camps)
  • Sensory Items
  • Service dogs and animals
  • Therapies including music, dance, aquatic, art and hippotherapy

This list is not exclusive nor is it a guarantee. Final decisions will be determined by Luke’s Journey Fund Committee through Autism Empowerment.

Are there any areas the grant will NOT cover?

These are a few areas that the grant will not cover.

  • Initial autism diagnostic appointments
  • Installation or maintenance of items covered by grant funding
  • Personal travel to and from therapy appointments
  • Items already covered through existing insurance or DDA benefits.
  • Services or equipment that were purchased prior to grant approval.

This list is not exclusive. Final decisions will be determined by Luke’s Journey Fund Committee through Autism Empowerment.

How do I apply?

To apply, you will need to fill out and mail in a completed application with requested attachments. Our first funding awards are expected for early 2017. You should expect to see a copy of the application on our website in Winter 2016.

Who makes the determination of funding?

Grant funding decisions will be made by the Luke’s Journey Fund Committee at Autism Empowerment which will review and score each request. No one person makes the determination. We are sorry to say that we are unable to fund all requests that are made.

We are currently raising money to build Luke’s Journey Fund and the first round of decision making for grant applications will be in early 2017. After that time, we expect that grant decisions will be made quarterly or sooner, depending on a variety of factors. The intent of the fund is to help as many children on the autism spectrum as possible; however the number of grants given and the dollar amounts available will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of funds available to award, financial need of applicant and the number of applications received.

How is Luke’s Journey Fund funded?

Doug came to Autism Empowerment with an incredible idea! For his 50th birthday in July, Doug is going to bicycle over 200 miles in ONE DAY from Seattle to Portland in one epic journey to raise money, autism awareness, acceptance and support for Luke’s Journey Fund.  This 200+ mile bicycle race hosted by the Cascade Bicycle Club is called the Group Health STP presented by Alaska Airlines and over 10,000 (!) bicycle riders are expected to participate on Saturday, July 16th and Sunday, July 17th.  Most riders make it a two-day event, but Doug made it in ONE, Saturday, July 16th!

Here’s the fun part! Even through the race is over the journey is still going cYou can support Doug through the crowdfunding listing for Luke’s Journey Fund <– here. Of course, you can also donate to Autism Empowerment at this website and have the funds earmarked for Luke’s Journey Fund. (Just click that green DONATE button at the bottom of your screen!)

AND… if you’d like, we encourage you, your children, family and friends to join Doug in Luke’s Journey, you can do so anytime from home through your own bicycle ride, walk or special event!

We are accepting donations to Luke’s Journey Fund at any time. The more money raised by generous folks like you, the more youth and families we can support. Please share this opportunity with your friends, family, and colleagues.

How can I make a donation to help fund Luke’s Journey Fund?

There are many ways that you can help support Luke’s Journey Fund.

  • Make a donation online through our website. You can direct funds to any program that you would like including Luke’s Journey Fund.

Autism Empowerment
c/o Luke’s Journey Fund
P.O. Box 871676
Vancouver, WA 98687

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, your donations are tax-deductible where permissible by law. Thank you!

In-Kind Donations

Luke’s Journey Fund and Luke’s Ride 2016 Logo design was graciously donated by Becky Harper from Radiant Design Studio.

More Questions

Please feel free to email us at