By Michelle Diament
September 14, 2017
The nation’s largest autism advocacy group is reporting a sharp drop in revenue and is cutting expenses and distributing fewer grants as a result, newly-released financial data shows.
|A newly-released tax filing indicates that revenue was down significantly|
at Autism Speaks in 2016. (Autism Speaks/Flickr)
Autism Speaks took in $47.5 million in 2016, roughly $10.5 million — or 18 percent — less than the previous year.
At the same time, the group scaled back its spending on grants by some $1.8 million, shaved a similar amount from its payroll and chopped $10 million in other expenses.
The figures come from Autism Speaks’ tax filing for 2016, which was publicly disclosed this month in accordance with federal tax rules.
Aurelia Grayson, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit, attributed the slump to changes in funding for the group’s MSSNG research program — an effort to sequence the DNA of over 10,000 families affected by autism — and declines in fundraising from Autism Speaks Walks.
The revenue slide came as the nonprofit saw significant leadership changes with the departure of the its president and chief science officer as well as the death of co-founder Suzanne Wright.
Autism Speaks said it has made changes designed to encourage renewed growth going forward, with the introduction of a new 10-year vision, a revamped mission statement and a three-year strategic plan.
“The key drivers of this business plan were setting the organization on the path to increased revenue, mission activity and building the financial health of the organization,” Grayson said.
Though she did not address specifics about revenue year to date, Grayson said “we look forward to continued growth in 2017.”