APRIL IS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH

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APRIL IS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH
National Company Presidents Available to Discuss
the Importance of raising Autism Awareness

Six years ago, Autism Speaks started Light It Up Blue, a global campaign on “World Autism Awareness Day,” April 2, to get buildings around the world to turn their lights blue in honor of the 70 million people around the world affected by autism. This global movement kicks off Autism Awareness Month in April when more 10,000 landmarks, businesses, communities and homes shine a light on autism In addition, throughout April, Joe’s Crab Shack, White Castle and Dollar General will once again join Autism Speaks as partners to raise funds and awareness for autism, which affects 1 in 68 children in the U.S.

On March 25th company representatives will kick-off their April campaigns by taking interviews and sharing different ways that listeners can support Autism Speaks. Joe’s Crab Shack President Jim Mazany, White Castle Vice President Jamie Richardson and Dollar General Director Denine Torr will be available to speak about their respective companies’ campaigns to raise funds and awareness of autism throughout April.
Topics for discussion include:
· The partnership between Joe’s Crab Shack/White Castle/Dollar General and Autism Speaks
· Personal connection to autism

o Jim Mazany from Joes Crab Shack w/ Alec Elbert, Chief Strategy and Development Officer of Autism

o Jamie Richardson VP White Castle w/ Alec Elbert, Chief Strategy and Development Officer of Autism

o Denine Torr, Director of Community Initiatives, at Dollar General w/ Peter Morton, Vice President of Development at Autism Speaks

· The “Light It Up Blue” initiative– this year’s buildings and landmarks include the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Niagara Falls in Canada, and even the International Space Station.
About Joe’s Crab Shack partnership
Joe’s Crab Shack is a national dining chain headquartered in Houston, TX and operating under the Ignite Restaurant Group. 2015 marks Joe’s 3rd year of national partnership with Autism Speaks. Over the past 2 years, Joe’s Crab Shack’s 35+ stores and their entire staff force has raised over $2.5 Million, raising 1.35 million in 2014 alone. The annual in-store April campaign is a puzzle-piece donation where customers receive coupons for menu items in exchange for their donation to Autism Speaks. Joe’s will also be selling specially designed ‘Claws for the Cause’ blue tie-dyed t-shirts where 10% of the proceeds on each t-shirt will be donated back to Autism Speaks. In addition, Joe’s employees across the country hold local fundraisers to add to their fundraising and awareness campaign. Joe’s Crab Shack President Jim Mazany has a 16 year-old son, Luke, who has autism.

About White Castle partnership
Between March 29 – May 2 – all White Castle restaurants around the country will be asking customers to join us by contributing $1, $3, $5 to help Autism Speaks. In addition, this year all White Castles are going to “Light Up Blue” for Autism Awareness Month with a one of a kind, special design Crave Case as a tribute to 10 years of impact from Autism Speaks. The specially designed case holds 30 sliders to share with family and friends. When an order is placed on-line before picking it up at the Castle, White Castle will contribute $3 to Autism Speaks. “Our Castle Shares” program is focused on feeding hunger, hopes and dreams. The commitment to Autism Speaks is in its 6th year for 2015 is to raise over $700,000 for this incredible cause – which will be over $3 million overall.

About Dollar General partnership
Dollar General, the nation’s largest discount retailer with over 11,700 stores, is joining forces with Autism Speaks for the sixth time in 2015 to increase awareness and raise funds for autism during Autism Awareness Month in April. Dollar General and its customers donated over $1,700,000 from its at-register campaign in 2014. In addition, the Autism Speaks puzzle piece logo appears on Dollar General’s NASCAR Toyota No. 20 car driven by Matt Kenseth in relevant races during the month of April to drive awareness for the campaign More than $5.1 million has now been donated to Autism Speaks since this partnership started in 2010. Dollar General Literacy Foundation is celebrating over 20 years of funding literacy programs. Since its inception in 1993, the Foundation has awarded more than $98 million to nonprofit organizations and schools that have helped more than 5.8 million individuals advance their literacy and basic education skills

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed more than $525 million dollars to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 60 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.