Howard County Autism Housing Initiative

The demand for affordable housing options for adults with autism and other disabilities in Howard County is rapidly growing. The HCAS Housing Committee has spent more than two years researching supportive housing models from across the country that could be adapted to address this pressing need. This process led HCAS to identify the intentional, intergenerational community model as an approach that could bring inclusive, affordable housing to Howard County. The model has been used successfully to support child welfare-involved populations in award-winning communities such as Bridge Meadows in Portland, Oregon, where it’s demonstrated effectiveness in increasing housing stability and reducing social isolation.

Weinberg Foundation is Newest Supporter of Catalyst Campaign

HCAS is now joining with community partners to support adaptation of this innovative model for adults with autism and other disabilities, older adults, and families. We have launched a Catalyst Campaign to secure the resources, assemble the expertise and begin forging the critical alliances needed to advance this concept. Click here to download a brochure about the initiative and the Catalyst Campaign. Funds raised through the Campaign will be used to support key planning activities, including identification of a development partner, market research, and development of operational program guidelines.

We’re grateful for the support of early backers of the Campaign such as the PNC Foundation, Harkins Builders and the Health Alliance. We’re also proud to announce the newest supporter of this effort, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, which is making a $25,000 grant to support our planning efforts. The Weinberg Foundation is one of the nation’s leading grantmakers for vulnerable populations with a particular commitment to older adults and disabled adults. We are honored to have earned their early support for this concept.

Be a Catalyst

We’re already halfway toward our 12-month Catalyst Campaign goal of $100,000! Funds raised through the Campaign will be used to support the planning and development efforts in 2017 and 2018 that will ensure this concept advances.

We’re committed to reaching our goal of $100,000 by December 31, 2017. The Community Foundation of Howard County has established a donor fund to receive and expend Catalyst Campaign funds. Please click here to donate and support this effort.

If you have any questions about the housing initiative or the Catalyst Campaign, we’d love to speak with you. Please reach us by email ( or phone (410/290-3466).

Housing Initiative Named Changemaker Challenge Finalist

The Housing Initiative was pleased to be selected as a finalist for the Changemaker Challenge competition. Sponsored by the Horizon Foundation and the United Way of Central Maryland, the Challenge was designed to support innovative ideas to address some of the most pressing social challenges facing Howard County. We were honored to be among the exciting projects and committed social innovators selected for this recognition.

Housing Initiative in the Baltimore Sun and Howard County Times

We were the subject of an October 5 article in the Baltimore Sun/Howard County Times. Read about us online in The Baltimore Sun.

Community Foundation Annual Dinner Highlights Housing Initiative

More than 400 area leaders and philanthropists were in attendance on November 16 when the housing initiative was highlighted at the Community Foundation of Howard County’s Annual Dinner: A Celebration of Philanthropy. Project Director Mark Dunham shared the vision for the initiative following the showing of our short video, Stronger Together. Thank you to the Community Foundation for this extraordinary opportunity to tell our story to this important audience. You can watch Stronger Together, here.

Walk/5K Results are IN!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 11th Annual One Step Closer… Autism Walk/5K Run! We raised $61,230 and counting! Race results can be seen here.

Our winning teams are:

Teams Who Raised Over $1,000:

  • Kyle’s Crew
  • Matt’s Mavericks
  • Stanley’s
  • Team Rory & Danny
  • Trey’s Train

Teams Who Raised Over $2,000:

  • Team Phoenix
  • Ryan’s Troop
  • Merrill Lynch

Teams Who Raised Over $3,000:

  • Team Boxall

Team Who Raised the Most Money:

  • Sam’s Squad with over $7,000!

We’d also like to acknowledge:

Our Largest Team: Ryan’s Troop with a total of 28 Team Members!

Our Most Spirited Team: Sam’s Squad for their enthusiasm and efforts to support the Howard County Autism Society with this event!

All of these team won awards during the event. If you have not picked up your awards, please contact the office at or call at 410-290-3466.

Mark your calendars for next year’s Autism Walk/5K Run held on October 6, 2018! We look forward to seeing you there!

Housing Initiative Named Changemaker Challenge Finalist

The Housing Initiative has been selected as a finalist for the Changemaker Challenge competition! Sponsored by the Horizon Foundation and the United Way of Central Maryland, the Challenge is designed to support innovative ideas to address some of the most pressing social challenges facing Howard County. We’ll compete with other finalists at a live “pitch event” on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 6:00 PM at the Johns Hopkins University Kossiakoff Center for one of three $10,000 grants and valuable project consultation services.

As part of our application, we were required to prepare and post a two-minute “video elevator speech” of our idea on YouTube. You can watch it here. Read about us in The Baltimore Sun.

Admission to watch the Changemaker Challenge is free, but you need to register. Click here to sign up and join us on October 30!

For more on the Housing Sub-Committee, click here.

New Addition to this Year’s Walk: Amazing Racers!

AMAZING RACERS is a new component of our One Step Closer Walk & 5K that offers support for youth and adults with autism who may need additional supports to participate. HCAS will provide one-on-one assistance the day of the event plus the opportunity for two “training sessions” on September 23rd and 30th from 10am-11am at Centennial Park to acclimate individuals to the course and prepare them to take on our Cake Walk ¾-mile course on October 7th. We will meet for the training at the playground near Pavilion D. To guarantee support volunteers for your child, please register by Friday, September 22.

Support will be provided by Spirit Club, The Children’s Spot and student volunteers from University of Maryland and Towson University. Special “Race Clues” will be located along the course to inspire our AMAZING RACERS as they make their way around the course! All racers will be recognized at the Awards Ceremony immediately following the race.

To sign up, please fill out this form. In addition, make sure you’ve also registered
for the event via paper form or online at

HCAS Supporters


The Howard County Autism Society expresses its sincere appreciation for the generous support of the individuals, businesses and organizations who have contributed to its work on behalf of individuals with autism and their families it supports. The following is a listing of individuals and organizations who donated over $500 to HCAS between January 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 as well as In-Kind Donors and Community Partners:


$5,000 and up
Community Foundation of Howard County
Dart Group II Foundation
Howard County (MD) Government
The John P. Hussman Foundation
United Way of Central Maryland


$1,500 – $4,999
Heidi Abdelhady and Mehdy Rahman
Autism Society of America
John and Kerry Benevides
John and Selena Benevides
Alisa Chernack
John and Deborah Clutts
Elville & Associates, P.A.
Lisa Higgins Hussman Foundation
Janelle Margolis
Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink P.A.
Lowell and Donna Pidel
Emily Russell
Turf Valley Resort


$500 – $1,499
Eric and Carren Adler
American Legion Auxiliary, Unit #60
Theresa and Robert Ballinger
Pam and Steven Beck
Elizabeth Benevides
Linda Boit
Patrick and Lisa Boxhall
Eric and Katie Cha
Evelyn Callahan
Catonsville Counseling
Steven R. Elville
Judith & Edwin Cohen Foundation
Crafton Dental
James Curran
Brandon Dean Babysitting Services
Kristin Detwiler/Colonial Life
ECHO of Northrop Grumman
Exelon Corporation
Jill Galt
Tara Geller
Howard Hughes Corporation
Kentmere Healthcare Consulting Corp.
C. Thomas Jones
Kennedy Krieger Institute CARD
Lori and Kristopher Krausz
LCA-Vision/Lasik Plus
Sally Lewicky
Dawn Lucarelli
Merrill Foundation
Dr. Sonny Goel at LasikPlus Vision Center
Hoenes Family Foundation
Hussman Center for Adults with Autism
M&T Bank
Stephanie Maric / The Legal Team LLC
Maryland Department of Disabilities
Jennifer and Chuck May
Erica Montemarano
Kina Morton
Nicole Orellana
Toby and Hal Orenstein
Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority
Jane Plapinger
Amrita Rai
Jim and Melissa Rosenberg
Michael and Sabina Sambat
Schwab Charitable Fund
Sheppard Pratt Health System
Devin and Mona Shroff
Solar City Corporation
Heather Spratt
Barbara Stromberg
Talbots – Columbia Mall
Roger and Madhu Thibaudeau
TLC Real Estate Group LLC
George and Valerie Veise
Verbal Beginnings
Lisa Wilson


In-Kind Donors
Apple Ford
Columbia Presbyterian Church
Market Impressions
Sharma & Associates
Toby’s Dinner Theatre
Zippy Shell Portable Storage & Moving – Rich Perry, Storage Unit


Community Partners
Accessible Resources for Independence
AMC Theatres – Columbia Mall
Arc of Howard County
Association of Community Services
Athletes Serving Athletes
Autism Society of America
The Children’s Spot
Columbia Association
Columbia Festival of the Arts
Community College of Baltimore County – Single Step Program
Howard County Chamber of Commerce
Howard Community College
Howard County Fire and Rescue Services
Howard County Government
Howard County Library
Howard County Police Department
Howard County Public School System
Howard County Dept. of Recreation and Parks
Leadership Howard County
Maryland Autism Coalition
My Life Learning Center
Pathfinders for Autism
RISE for Autism
Road Runners
Salvere Fitness
Spirit Club
Squire’s Restaurant
Special Olympics – Howard County, MD
Transition Outreach Partnership
University of Maryland – Hearing & Speech Sciences


*Donations and support shown from January 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017. Please contact our office at 410-290-3466 or if any information is missing or incorrect on this list.

12th Annual Pieces of the Puzzle Gala

Thank you to everyone who made our annual 12th Pieces of the Puzzle Gala a success! We are proud to report that the event hosted 265 guests and raised over $80,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales, donations, and the live and silent auctions.  A transcript of John P. Hussman’s keynote address can be found here. We would like to thank our generous sponsors for their support:

We’d also like to thank our In-Kind Contributors:



Sharma & Associates

Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Zippy Shell Portable Storage & Moving – Rich Perry, Storage Unit

For more photos, go to our facebook page!