oops they did it again: Autism Speaks’ 2013 financials just released.

The numbers used to analyze Autism Speaks’ spending were taken from its 2013 audited financial statements.  The report is available on the Autism Speaks website here.

2013 as love expSo Autism Speaks finally released its audited financial statements.  I wish I could say that I am surprised by their brazen irresponsibility.

Instead of rehashing their sordid history, I’m just going to get tacks.

Because really? What can I say that hasn’t been said thousands of times over?

Read it and weep folks.

Lets start with the consolidated expenses shall we?

Ugly truth

Family Services Grants & Awards:
Don’t forget, this is the ONLY portion of Autism Speaks expenditures which directly support Autistic people and their families.  A whopping 4% of Autism Speaks expenses were incurred directly supporting Autistic people and their families.

Did you get that?  Year after year the largest charitable organization purporting to serve Autistic people and their families thinks it it is acceptable to spend under 4% of its budget on directly supporting Autistic people.  And yes, I said “under 4% because I round up when calculating this using the consolidated expenses on their financial statement.

Text reads:  What is wrong with this picture.  Expense	Total Spent	Percent Total  Advertising and donated media	$52,229,994	43% Everything else	$25,085,273.00	21% Salaries, benefits, &payroll taxes	$23,300,191	19% Science grants & awards	$15,300,709	13% Family service grants and awards	$4,631,690	4% Total Expenses	$120,547,857

Advertising and donated media
I’m terrible at math.  But according to the 2012 consolidated financials, Autism Speaks spent $2,212,520 on advertising.  In 2013 it spent $52,229,994.

Is that not a 2,260% increase in budget?  That’s outrageous even without considering the relative pittance it has spent on providing meaningful supports to Autistic people and their families.

We’ve all seen the damage that Autism Speaks does to Autistic people and their families with their brand of “awareness” advertising.

Salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes
$23,300,191.  
Need I say more?  We have already seen the salaries top executives are paid on previous 990 filings.  Autism Speaks has not published its 2013 990 to date.

It is also notable that there are several “related party transactions.”

NOTE 9 SPECIAL EVENTS - COLLABORATIVE ARRANGEMENTS (continued) The Atlanta Walk had net proceeds of $542,000, 50% of which was granted to The Marcus Institute, the co-founder of which is an AS Board member. The Westchester/Fairfield Walk had net proceeds of $968,000, 15% of which was granted to the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at New York Presbyterian. An AS Board member is on the Board of Trustees of New York Presbyterian Hospital. The Winter Ball for Autism had net proceeds of $2,682,000 in 2013, 50% of which was granted to the New York Collaborates for Autism, the co-founder of which is an AS Board member.

And there are more related party transactions where institutions affiliated with members of the Autism Speaks Board of Directors and members of management received funding.
Five members of the Board of Directors of AS and two management employees are affiliated with institutions that received funding from AS. At December 31, 2013, AS had grants payable and commitments to these institutions totaling approximately $5,532,344. During the year ended December 31, 2013, AS’s expenses included approximately $3,669,960 related to awards granted to institutions affiliated with an AS Board member or management employee. Certain members of AS’s Scientific Advisory Committee and Scientific Review Panel, which are involved in the grant appropriation process, are also associated with institutions that receive funding from AS.

Science grants & awards
Science and grant awards spending was actually slightly less in 2013 than it was in 2012.  It went from $15,790,797 to $15,300,709.
Their science is scary in that it aims to eliminate Autistic people.  Of course they would continue to refer to them as a “crisis” and “puzzle pieces” in spite of being harshly criticized for their treatment of Autistic people.
This is from the mission statement on the 2013 Annual report they just released with the financial statement.

Our Mission We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a possible cure for autism. We strive to raise public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society and we work to bring hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals. Autism Speaks aims to bring the autism community together as one strong voice to urge the government and private sector to listen to our concerns and take action to address this urgent global health crisis. It is our firm belief that, working together, we will find the missing pieces of the puzzle.

Autism Speaks continues to blatantly disregard Autistic people.  They also brazenly disregard the criticism they’ve received over their financial practices, treatment of Autistic people, and usage of negative rhetoric.

They lost two corporate sponsors in 2014–that we know of after intense pressure on the corporate sponsors to sever ties.  Both Panera Bread and Build-a Bear-Workshop lead the way in what must become a mass corporate disassociation from Autism Speaks.

Autism Speaks tells us year after year and time after time that in all things, they have no intention of changing.  It’s time to breath some life back into our grassroots #BoycottAutismSpeaks movement.
Image description:Text reads: If you donate $100 to Autism Speaks, how will it be spent? According to the 2013 financial statement just released, it will look like this: $43 will be spent on advertising and media. $19 will be spent on salaries, benefits, and payroll tax. $13 will be spent on science for cure, prevention, etc. $4 will be spent directly supporting Autistic people. $2 will be spent on travel, meals, catering, etc. $19 will be spent on everything else. Is this what you have in mind when you donate? #boycottautismspeaks

15 thoughts on “oops they did it again: Autism Speaks’ 2013 financials just released.

  1. Autism Speaks does more harm than good, period (at least in my opinion). But, while these financials aren’t great, I think you left a few things out in your reading of them. Nonprofits make different decisions whether to include in-kind donations as revenue/expenses or not. It looks to me like in 2011 & 2012, A$ did not include donated advertising dollars, then DID include them in 2013. According to the audited financials, the total amount that was given as in-kind was $51,887,214. I’m guessing this is donated production costs & labor for their disgrace of a movie (ugh). So to say it’s a “2,260% increase in budget” is a little misleading, and to say that if you donate 43% of your donation will go towards advertising is flat-out wrong. Of course, 100% of your donation still goes towards dehumanizing autistics and erasing autistic experience.
    Sadly, the best financials in the world wouldn’t make up for their overall messaging. Even giving 100% of their money to programs wouldn’t suffice if they didn’t stop spewing such vile ideas.

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  3. I am not standing up for AS but the connection between donation to a group on their board isn’t a fair connection because I am active in a charitable autism fundraising group that I also receive funds from for my center, it is because I am an active board member that they know the needs of my center and can help by funding. I do not participate in any votes toward the funding but my role on the board is to enlighten them to the needs of the kiddo in my community and the funding we need to maintain it! Mine is not AS but that’s how I get funding, I participate in many organizations and offer my expertise and time to the group and they help fund kids that need scholarships or programs I offer! Just something to consider!

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  11. May I reproduce any of the information or images you show here when making signs for a protest at the A$ walk in Nashville, TN on Oct.24? Thanks for the good information. I may be out there alone on Oct. 24, but I will go if I am well and able.

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