Many families wonder whether they can write a grant proposal and receive funds to help them manage the financial challenges that come with an autism spectrum diagnosis. The good news is that there are such grants; the bad news is that most are very small (less than $500) - and all are very competitive. What's more, many will only pay for specific medical expenses, and send the funds directly to the medical provider. A growing number of foundations, though, are making autism a priority for non-profit grants, which means local organizations that serve families have a better chance of receiving funds than ever before.
The Helping Hand Program provides families with financial assistance in getting necessary biomedical treatments, supplements and therapy services for their autistic child. Do not apply for this grant if you are seeking funds for respite care, fencing, trampolines, swingsets, trips to Disney World, etc. Also be aware that this grant maker will pay your medical provider directly; no funds will come through your hands.
This organization does give grants to families, but the details are unclear from their website. It seems to be the case that they fund families with multiple autistic children first; then those with greater financial need.
One-time $500 grants are awarded to families in financial need. All funds awarded are paid directly to the vendor or service provider to pay for therapy equipment, safety equipment or services.
The grants provide financial relief for families who have children with medical needs not covered or not fully covered by their commercial health benefit plan. The Foundation aims to fill the gap between what medical services/items your child needs and what your commercial health benefit plan will pay for.
Neighborheart grants are only for families located in Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Families that care for children and adults with autism in this region can apply for a Quality of Life Grant in the range of $100 to $500.
This organization uses donor funds to provide financial assistance, support, guidance, recreational activities and educational training to families and friends of children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Grants total no more than $400 per family, and may be limited to the Vermont area (though that information isn't provided on the foundation's website).
Families living in Wisconsin may apply for up to $500 per year in support of medical treatments for their child with an autism spectrum disorder. Funds from the grant go directly to the medical provider (and not to the family).
This is a unique program that provides interest free microloans (in the amount of a few hundred dollars) to families from other families. Families interested in receiving a loan post on the blog, and may receive contributions that must be paid back over time.
The creators of this blog list dozens of small local granting agencies which give to families and organizations.
This site includes a list of foundations offering small grants to families living in Massachusetts and New England.