Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-136th District, and Assemblyman Harry Bronson, D-138th District, recently secured a $500,000 state grant to support construction of the Golisano Autism Center in Rochester.
“As the number of families impacted by autism continues to rise, we must ensure that we are providing children with the comprehensive care and long-term support they need to achieve at their full potential,” Morelle said. “The Golisano Autism Center is a cross-agency collaboration that will fill a critical care void in our community by ensuring individuals living with autism have access to support and services that span their lifetime, ultimately giving them the greatest chance to overcome the challenges they face and utilize the unique and special talents they possess.”
“No matter who you are, where you come from or what your abilities, we all have dignity and deserve the opportunity to succeed,” Bronson said. “The Golisano Autism Center will combine an innovative and family-centered service delivery model with the expertise of our community partners Al Sigl, AutismUp and CP Rochester. Together, this new center will ensure that those living with autism and their families have access to the support and resources they need to succeed.”
The Golisano Autism Center is the result of the collaborative efforts of four nonprofit agencies based in Monroe County: Al Sigl Community of Agencies, AutismUp, CP Rochester and the Golisano Foundation. These agencies seek to transform the delivery of autism services in the region by providing a model of service delivery that collocates and coordinates services and resources offered by multiple providers who are experts in autism spectrum disorder.
“The Golisano Autism Center board of directors has put two initiatives in place including the family autism navigator, who will assist families with accessing services,” said Mary Walsh Boatfield, board chairman. “The navigator’s office is located at the Boys & Girls Club in the city of Rochester. The HelpLine is a dedicated, 18-hour-a-day helpline staffed by 211 operators, seven days a week.”
The center will provide services to the more than 10,000 county residents diagnosed with autism or ASD and their families. Currently, these residents and their families must coordinate with multiple providers spread out across the county to access these needed services. Multiple providers will become tenants of the Golisano Autism Center and offer an array of programs and support for thousands of children, young adults and adults who live on the autism spectrum as well as their families.
The center, located on South Avenue near Science Parkway, will include shared program spaces, a sensory gym, classrooms and therapy rooms. It bears the name of philanthropist and Paychex founder Tom Golisano, who announced in 2017 that he is making a matching challenge grant of $2.5 million to help build the facility. The first major gift toward the challenge of $500,000 came from the Golisano Foundation. The total cost of construction for the 30,000 square foot building is an estimated $5 million.