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Sumner Redstone Donates $1 Million to Autism Speaks to Support Autism Research and Programs

Chairman and Founder of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corporation and Chairman and CEO of National Amusements Inc., donates $1 million to Autism Speaks, America's largest autism science and advocacy organization.

New York, NY (PRWEB) February 24, 2010 -- Autism Speaks, North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, today announced a $1 million donation by Sumner Redstone. Mr. Redstone’s gift will be applied to scientific research into autism’s causes, improved treatments, and, ultimately, its cures. Part of the gift will support Autism Speaks’ programs for children, adults and families. While Redstone has supported Autism Speaks since 2007, this is his largest gift to date.

Mr. Redstone said, “I hope this contribution will inspire others to give to this wonderful organization that brings hope to all those dealing with autism.” Mr. Redstone, who is Chairman and Founder of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corporation and Chairman and CEO of National Amusements Inc., is one of the most successful media entrepreneurs in the world, as well as a leading philanthropist. His generosity has benefited a range of causes, from fighting prostate cancer to helping burn victims.

Autism Speaks Co-founders Bob and Suzanne Wright, said, “We are deeply grateful to Mr. Redstone for his generosity. This remarkable gift is a wonderful way to kick off our fifth anniversary year. We speak on behalf of our board of directors and all of the families we represent in thanking him for joining our cause.”

“With the CDC reporting that autism now affects 1 in 110 children, and 1 in 70 boys, the urgency of our cause has never been greater,” said Mark Roithmayr, Autism Speaks president. “Mr. Redstone’s gift will fund much-needed research to bring us closer to the answers our families so desperately deserve.”

About Autism
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism increased 57 percent from 2002 to 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception only five short years ago, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $131 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families through 2014. The organization 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. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks also supports the Autism Treatment Network, Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and an award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign with the Ad Council which has received over $200 million in donated media. Autism Speaks’ family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit, a community grant program and much more. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government’s response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit

About the Co-Founders
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the boards of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, RAND Corporation and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright has an extensive history of active involvement in community and philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children. She serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and is also Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has received numerous awards, including the CHILD Magazine Children’s Champions Award, and Luella Bennack Volunteer Award, Spirit of Achievement award by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's National Women's Division. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world for their commitment to global autism advocacy.

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