Lisa Goldstein was first introduced to REED by long-time board member Susie Arons in 2011… and the rest is history. This year, REED’s vice president of development is celebrating ten years with the organization.
So much has changed since Lisa walked through REED’s doors a decade ago. “We have expanded beyond a single school, to also serve adults with autism through comprehensive day, residential, and supported employment programs,” explains Lisa, who is responsible for all of REED’s fundraising efforts. “As our programs have grown to serve so many more children and adults, our needs have grown exponentially!”
Educating and caring for individuals with autism is costly. REED’s fundraising helps fill critical gaps that ensure our population continues to learn and thrive throughout their lifetime. With funds raised, we can secure vehicles to safely bring our adults into the community and provide cutting-edge technology that empowers individuals with autism and supports our exceptional educational services.
Lisa credits generous donors with the launch of REED Academy’s swim program, literally a lifeline for children with autism. “Swimming is a critical skill to be mastered as early in life as possible to prevent the risk of drowning. It also offers families and caregivers the peace of mind knowing their children are safe,” she says.
As REED has evolved over the years, so too has the fundraising landscape. “When I first started with REED, we were mostly doing large in-person gatherings,” Lisa explains. Online fundraising has opened up opportunities to reach so many more individuals, groups, and families eager to support this deserving community. Donors anywhere can host a fundraiser on Facebook, support REED through the AmazonSmile program, and bid on silent auction items.
The global pandemic forced REED to devise additional ways to virtually engage with donors. For example, REED’s annual gala and Go the Distance for Autism pivoted from in-person to virtual events without missing a beat. As the pandemic continues to impact our lives, Lisa is unwavering in her commitment to stay in step with what’s going on in the world.
The need, says Lisa, is greater than ever. As the number of adults with autism surges, there are not enough quality programs and services to support this vulnerable population. Right now, an alarming number of adults with autism in New Jersey are on waiting lists for quality day programming and long-term residential care. “The more resources we can devote to our programs, the more individuals with autism we will be able to support,” says Lisa.
Registration for this year’s Go the Distance for Autism Gone Virtual, scheduled for May 16, 2021, is now open. And, on July 19, REED will host its first-ever golf event at Edgewood Country Club. Stay tuned for details.
While the fundraising landscape has evolved, one thing hasn’t changed. “We can’t do it alone. We need the support of our donors and the entire REED community,” says Lisa.
Interested in supporting the REED Foundation for Autism? Click here to donate now.