Melmark Receives $30M Gift to Fuel Services for Individuals with Autism, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Landmark contribution will have generational impact and accelerate the development of the EnvisionSMART™ Institute.


(Berwyn, PA/ Andover, MA / Charlotte, NC – June 24, 2024)–Melmark, a nationally-recognized non-profit human services provider, announced that it has received an endowment gift of over $30 million from an anonymous donor. The gift, the largest of any kind in the organization’s almost 60 year history, will fuel Melmark’s mission to enhance the lives of individuals with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities for generations to come.


This historic gift comes at an inflection point for direct care service providers amidst a national workforce crisis. It will support Melmark’s commitment to employing a highly-skilled workforce and the continuation of adult services which serve and support countless individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities who need and deserve Melmark’s specialized programs. This gift will also help close the gap as government reimbursement rates for these services and staff wages have been stagnant for over a decade.


“Our Melmark community is elevated and invigorated by this gift at a critical juncture within the field due to consolidation and downsizing which has resulted in less providers than ever before and a growing need for the life-saving, around-the-clock care that many adults require,” stated Melmark President and CEO Rita M. Gardner, M.P.H., LABA, BCBA, CDE®.  She added, “We believe that everyone deserves access to quality education, care, and support throughout their life, regardless of their abilities or challenges and this gift will ensure that future generations of individuals with profound needs are seen, respected, and supported with the highest level of services needed.”


A portion of the gift will also accelerate the development of the EnvisionSMART™ Institute, an extension of Melmark’s commitments to elevating the field and raising the quality of service. Guided by Melmark’s Executive Vice President of Clinical Services Frank L. Bird, M.Ed., LABA, BCBA, CDE® and President and CEO Rita M. Gardner, the Institute will share resources which are foundational to Melmark’s Model of Program Development and Clinical Treatment, with a focus on world-class applied research and creating and maintaining a top-notch professional development and training environment.  The Institute will use current research to inform Melmark’s processes and develop best practices for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism (ID/A) and help secure the supports and resources needed to age in place and live their best lives.


Read the full press release here.



Click here to watch the announcement video.

Melmark is a multi-state non-profit human service organization providing clinically sophisticated evidence-based special education, residential, vocational and therapeutic services for children and adults with autism spectrum disorders, developmental and intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries and other neurological and genetic disorders. All specialized special education services are based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and are designed based on each student’s individual needs.


Recognized as one of the leading providers in the country, Melmark has a combined staff of over 1,200 at its service divisions in Pennsylvania, New England, and the Carolinas and serves 500 individuals from across the country. To learn more, visit www.melmark.org