There are a variety of autism charities and nonprofits to support parents, caregivers, and individuals within the autism community. Some charities are large while others are small, and most aim to provide services to support the autistic community. 

It can be helpful to know which autism nonprofits are the most trustworthy and how much of their donations go to support the cause and the people it reportedly serves.

Organization for Autism Research (OAR)

One of the top-rated autism charities and a national organization, OAR supports applied research and science and is known for being reputable and transparent about its actions, finances, and policies. More than 80% of the funds donated to OAR go directly to programs and services supporting the autism community.

OAR was founded by grandparents and parents of children and adults in the autism community and focuses on supporting the following:

  • Families
  • Researchers
  • Self-advocates
  • Educators

This organization offers college scholarships for people with autism, grants to support educators learning about autism, autism research, and educational content for all members of the autistic community.

Autism Speaks

An organization with an international presence, Autism Speaks serves the autistic community in a big way with numerous corporate partners and sponsors and hosting many big events, including walks and advocacy programs. 

Raising hundreds of millions of dollars each year to support the autism community, 85% of every dollar donated goes back into programs and services for autism advocacy and research.

Autism Speaks funds go directly to support adults and children with autism through the following platforms:

  • Research
  • Advocacy
  • Services
  • Programs
  • Educational resources

With many programs and services directed to help people with autism, Autism Speaks also supports educators, caregivers, providers, researchers, and self-advocates within the autistic community.

Autism Society of America

he Autism Society of America is a community-based organization with local affiliates to help offer support and resources to people with autism and their caregivers, and families. Offering a comprehensive online resource database, a National Helpline, and the most comprehensive national conference on autism, the Autism Society employs individuals with autism on their board of directors and in leadership roles in the organization.

The Autism Society supports more than 600,000 people with autism and their families each year through the following avenues:

  • Advocacy
  • Information and referrals
  • Research
  • Building community

National Autism Association (NAA)

NAA works to help the autistic community with urgent needs to help people with autism reach their full potential, including the following six mission statement areas:

  • Hope
  • Thoughtful awareness
  • Education
  • Direct tools
  • Research
  • Advocacy

The NAA creates tangible tools to help educate and train first responders, schools, caregivers, and families, and to provide people with autism direct resources and educational programming.

Autism Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)

ASAN is a grassroots nonprofit organization set up to advocate for public policy regarding equal opportunities, rights, and access for people with autism. Because it is run completely for and by people with autism, they directly influence the conversation.

ASAN is a disability rights organization that strives to:

  • Advance civil rights for people with autism.
  • Improve public perception of autism.
  • Support self-advocacy.
  • Develop autistic cultural activities.

Autism/Asperger Network (AANE)

AANE is an inclusive community and an independent, nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts. It offers support and services with respect and validation. The overarching goal is to help people with neurodiverse profiles lead connected and meaningful lives.

The AANE provides the following:

  • Education
  • Advocacy 
  • Support
  • Community

AANE supports individuals with autism, professionals, and families impacted by autism. Approximately 80% of donations and contributions go directly to services supporting autism and individuals with autism.

Autism Science Foundation (ASF)

The Autism Science Foundation, or ASF, works to directly fund scientists who are conducting autism research to further develop treatments and discover the roots and causes of autism. The ASF also strives to educate the general public about autism and its impact on individuals and families.

Donations to ASF are tax-exempt as the organization is a nonprofit. ASF works to make every donation dollar count toward important autism research.

The Autism Community in Action (TACA)

The Autism Community in Action, TACA, was formerly known as Talk About Curing Autism. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to supporting and educating families living with autism and helping individuals diagnosed with autism lead independent lives. 

TACA provides services and programs to individuals and families impacted by autism for free or at little cost with help from charitable donations.TACA has chapters in 27 states and supports families and individuals on a local level with mentor programs, education, support, and resources. More than three-quarters of donation dollars go directly to services and programs supporting autism and families affected by autism.

Autism Research Institute (ARI)

Awarding more than 100 research grants in the last 10 years alone, ARI strives to support autism research and education strictly through generous donations and without government influence. 

ARI supports:

  • Parents and caregivers of people with autism.
  • Individuals diagnosed with autism.
  • Therapists and clinicians working with people with autism.
  • Researchers investigating autism treatments, causes, and unbiased assessments of causes and treatment methods.

ARI provides online educational resources and events for caregivers and parents of children with autism, continuing education credits for professionals, a newsletter providing information on research updates, and annual think tanks. It also offers an online assessment tool — the ATEC (Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist) — for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

NEXT for Autism

Focusing on helping and addressing the needs of people with autism and their families in the present, as opposed to in the future, NEXT for Autism is a nonprofit organization that spends more than 80% of its received donation dollars on programs and services supporting the autism community directly.NEXT for Autism strives to help people with autism and their families connect to their local communities by offering support, resources, services, and educational opportunities. NEXT for Autism looks to support people with autism throughout their entire life span in all stages of life to lead fulfilling and connected lives.