Luke’s Journey Autism Fund
Luke’s Journey Autism Fund was established on March 3rd, 2016 by Doug Underwood in collaboration with Autism Empowerment. The mission of Luke’s Journey Autism Fund is to provide grant opportunities and resources for families in Southwest Washington as well as the Greater Portland metro area, who need financial assistance to cover costs specifically related to supporting their child or children diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
Luke’s Journey Autism 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 grant dollar amounts will be determined by Luke’s Journey Fund committee depending on funds raised.
The intent is for Luke’s Journey Autism Fund to become an independent foundation sometime in 2018. In the meantime, Autism Empowerment serves as a fiscal sponsor and holds the money for Luke’s Journey Autism Fund in a restricted fund.
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 Journey Autism 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 counties in southwest Washington or the greater Portland, OR metro area (Clackamas, Clark, Cowlitz, Hood River, Lewis, Multnomah, Pacific, Skamania, Wahkiakum or Washington).
- Children must be 18 years of age or younger with a documented autism spectrum diagnosis (DSM-IV or DSM-5)
- 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.
What might the grant cover?
There is a broad range of services and equipment that may be covered by a Luke’s Journey Autism 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 Autism Fund committee members.
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/DDD 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 Autism Fund committee members.
How do I apply?
Applications are now open for the first round of grant funding and will be accepted via mail through December 31st, 2017.
Funding decisions will take place in January and/or February 2018. Fund distribution will begin in February 2018.
To download an application, click here -> Luke’s Journey Autism Fund Instructions and Application
For our first round of grant funding, Luke’s Journey Autism Fund has $5,000 to give away in grants. It is anticipated at this time that five (5) $1,000 grants will be made, although final determination will be made by the grant committee. To apply, you will need to fill out and mail in a completed application with requested attachments.
Who makes the determination of funding?
Grant funding decisions will be made by Luke’s Journey Autism Fund committee members which will review and score each request. No one person makes the determination. We are sorry to say that due to limited resources, we are unable to fund all requests that are made. 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 depend on a number of factors, including the amount of funds available to award, financial need of applicant and the number of applications received.
Luke’s Journey Autism Fund is still continuing to raise funds for future grant requests and disbursements. Although we are currently a fund at Autism Empowerment, the intent is for Luke’s Journey Fund to eventually become its own foundation.
How is Luke’s Journey Fund funded?
Doug came to Autism Empowerment with an incredible idea! For his 50th birthday in July 2016, Doug cycled 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 Autism Fund. This 200+ mile bicycle race from Seattle to Portland took place with over 10,000 bicycle riders participating. Most riders make it a two-day event, but Doug made it in ONE, Saturday, July 16th!
For future fundraising, Doug and Luke’s Journey Fund volunteers will be hosting bike rides and fun events throughout the community. Luke’s Ride 2017 happened in July 2017 and there is expected to be a 3rd Luke’s Ride in summer 2018.
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 Autism Fund?
There are multiples ways you can help support Luke’s Journey Autism Fund.
- Make a donation online through our Autism Empowerment website. You can direct funds to any program that you would like including Luke’s Journey Autism Fund.
- Mail a check payable to “Autism Empowerment” and mail to:
c/o Luke’s Journey Autism 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!
Luke’s Journey Autism Fund and Luke’s Ride Logo design was graciously donated by Becky Harper from Radiant Design Studio.