/R E P E A T -- Azrieli Foundation Invests $1.8 Million in Programming for Adults with ASD and Developmental Disabilities/

Miriam Foundation Receives Largest Private Donation in its History

MONTREAL, Sept. 23, 2011 /CNW/ - At the Annual General Meeting of the Jewish Community Foundation on September 19, 2011, the Azrieli Foundation announced that it is donating $1.8 million to enhance the programming and services offered by the Miriam Foundation for adults with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

"Our donation is motivated by a number of factors," said Dr. Naomi Azrieli, CEO of the Azrieli Foundation. "Adults with developmental issues unfortunately represent a growing and often forgotten segment of our population. Programs and services have not kept pace with demand and with the help of the Miriam Foundation we are hoping to begin to fill that gap by supporting the development of employment, recreational activities, and most importantly a supportive community. Our goal is to help these adults fulfill their potential."

"We were also attracted by the Miriam Foundation's track record," Dr. Azrieli said. "Since its founding more than forty years ago it has been at the forefront of innovation and research in the field. Its focus on knowledge transfer, research and care for people with ASD and developmental disabilities is worthy of broad-based community support and we encourage others to follow our example."

Funds will be used to support existing and new adult programming. These include:

  • Urban Society and Young Urban Society Programs that bring together young adults between the ages of 17 and 23 on alternate Sundays between April and June for a full-day outing. Activities ranges from skating to going to the movies and watching the St. Patrick's Day Parade;
  • Good Rockin' Tonight is a drop-in centre that provides animated programming such as arts and crafts, music and games;
  • Adult Pragmatic and Social Skills Group helps participants use language to greet others, make demands, make requests and provide information; change their language to correspond to the intended audience; and learn the rules of conversation;
  • Modelled after a program developed at Ohio State University, the Next Chapter Book Club brings adolescents and adults with intellectual disabilities together in a bookstore or café to read and learn to read, talk about books and make friends.
  • Business Promotion and Development, in conjunction with Miriam Home and Services, will provide enhanced work opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities;
  • Transition from School to Work program for 18 to 25 year olds will help create a bridge between school and adult life.

"This investment in a segment of our population that until now has tended to be neglected is most welcome," said Diane Guerrera, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Miriam Foundation. "We congratulate the Azrieli Foundation for its foresight and thank them for the confidence they have placed in us.

"Their gift," Mrs. Guerrera said, "represents a major milestone for our Foundation and will enable us to remain a leader in our field and, most importantly, meet the growing needs of our clients and their families."

The Miriam Foundation, established in 1970, provides the financial resources and leadership required to support rehabilitative, vocational and residential programs and services for children and adults living with intellectual disabilities or autism.

The Azrieli Foundation is a Canadian philanthropic organization that supports a wide range of initiatives and programs in the fields of education, architecture and design, Holocaust commemoration and tolerance education, scientific and medical research, developmental disabilities and the arts.

SOURCE Azrieli Foundation

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