Who We Are

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Learn about our team...

The Autism Cares Foundation (ACF) was founded by the parents of a child with autism and other concerned parents, professionals and friends. The foundation was started as a means of helping others through the “puzzle” that is autism. At virtually every level, there are “twists and turns” in one’s attempt to reach the answers that many parents are seeking. As the founders discovered with their own child, answers are few, frustrations are many, and there are few places to turn to for answers.

It is the intention of the Autism Cares Foundation to assist in “unwinding” the twists and turns associated with navigating the system surrounding autism. The Autism Cares Foundation differentiates itself from other organizations raising funds for autism, as our funds provide direct benefit to the children and young adults afflicted with autism, helping to improve their life experiences today.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our many events!! Your support enables us to continue to offer the valuable life enrichment opportunities and programs that we provide to those on the autism spectrum free of charge. Your generosity is essential for us to continue this benefit, as the cost for caring for a loved one having autism can be substantial, and we never want cost to be an obstacle when a family is deciding whether to participate in a program that could benefit their loved one with autism..

Since its inception, Autism Cares Foundation has focused on providing life enriching opportunities that enable families to participate together in various activities.  We have developed a series of events, activities and programs spanning various age groups in an attempt to bring some type of typicality to what can be a challenging and somewhat unpredictable household situation.  This year, through your support, we will have delivered 200 such outings, spanning a wide range of interests and needs.

These opportunities have become viewed as essential opportunities within the autism community and we are grateful that we are able to fulfill this need.  Yet, there is an even greater need.  As today’s children grow older and turn in adults, the need for adult life skill and vocational training services becomes more pronounced.  And as parents and care-takers age, the need for respite services, permanent care and permanent residency become critical.

Autism Cares Foundation future plans call for developing our Autism Center of Excellence and Life Enrichment Community.  There is a tremendous need for a facility such as this as waiting lists at existing facilities extend for many years, with no guarantee of future placement.  The Autism population in growing exponentially each year and presently there is no master plan for accommodating this expansive population.

At Autism Cares Foundation, we have been diligently working to address this issue and have met with Congressional and State leadership to solicit their input and support as well.  We are well into the process of developing our strategic plan to determine how and where the Autism Center of Excellence will be developed.  The issue of permanent care for this population group is no small task and will require the support of government, business, friends, family members and everyone else who is touched by this cause or who has a loved one on the autism spectrum.

While the task is daunting, the need is even greater.

We encourage your support and your assistance in turning this much needed facility, the Autism Center of Excellence, from a vision to reality.  No one can do this alone, every bit of support is essential, and we need to move swiftly.  The Autism Tsunami is already upon us, the action that we take in addressing this epidemic will define us and you are a key piece in this massive puzzle.  Together we can rally behind our plan and build the dream of a lifetime that will last for a lifetime and beyond for those needing his facility and our help.

So please contribute what you can;

Financial support – donations, individual fundraising efforts, etc. Volunteerism – assist in hosting our various activities

Talent – support us through your areas of expertise

And any other support that you think may bring us closer to our goals.

Everyone makes a difference,

            The difference is the difference you choose to make.

Sincerely,
Linda & Frank Kuepper
Co-Founders Autism Cares Foundation
And our Board of Directors
Marlene de la Cruz, Frank Kuepper, Linda Kuepper, Mary Pagel, Christine Paul, Steve Rusinko, Fred Sciascia

Marlene de la Cruz is global president of Adelphi Research, an Omnicom Group pharmaceutical marketing research firm based in Doylestown, PA and Manchester, UK. Marlene has over 25 years of marketing management and sales experience in the pharmaceutical and financial services industries. Marlene obtained her B.A. in Spanish and International Studies and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from LaSalle University. Marlene was a member of the Bucks County Autism Support Coalition Board for three years and co-chaired the BCASC’s annual conference.  She lives in Holland, PA with her two wonderful children, Amanda and Alex, and husband of 28 years, Lee.  Her motivation for her autism advocacy work is her 17 year old son, Alex, and ensuring that he has the opportunities we all deserve. Marlene also serves on the Delaware Valley University Board of Trustees.

Linda Kuepper is co-founder and CEO of the Board of Directors of Autism Cares Foundation.  In this role, she facilitates bringing issues to the Board of Directors for resolution on a wide range of issues.  She is one of the people tasked with charting the future growth and vision for Autism Cares Foundation, a role that she is well suited for.  Linda is also the mother of a child with autism giving her unique insights into the needs of people with autism and the issues and challenges they face such as education, life skills development, job skills needs, respite needs and permanent residency especially after today’s care providers are no longer able to do so.  Prior to Autism Cares Foundation, Linda served as an administrative assistant to various CEO’s of a fortune 500 company.

Frank Kuepper is co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of Autism Cares Foundation.  In this capacity Frank is charged with many aspects of daily operations and the strategic planning initiatives of the foundation.  Frank began the Foundation as a means of providing life enriching activities and opportunities for those on the autism spectrum.  Being the father of a child with autism, he understands the wants and needs that parents have for their loved one with autism and is dedicated to providing additional opportunities and choices to those on the spectrum.  Frank is the Director Indirect Procurement for Brightview.  Prior to joining Brightview, Frank held various positions at David’s Bridal and Kay-Bee Toys including Director of Procurement, Purchasing Director, Director of Store Operations, and Director of Human Resource Development.

Mary Pagel serves on the Board of Directors of Autism Cares Foundation providing valuable insight into recreational and developmental activities for people on the autism spectrum.  Mary graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Chestnut Hill College.  Upon graduation Mary taught grades three to twelve in the Maryland and Philadelphia area for 27 years.  While teaching, Mary continued her education at LaSalle University earning a Master’s degree in Technology and a Masters degree in Family Therapy.  Most recently, Mary works as a Behavioral Consultant Specialist with Autistic Children and their families for the state of Pennsylvania.

Christine Paul serves on the Board of Directors and is the Vice President & Treasurer for Autism Cares Foundation.   Christine is the former President and Chief Executive Office of Petroleum Recycling Corporation providing alternative fuel to industrial users.  The operating plant is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA., and is certified as a Disadvantaged Woman Owned Business Enterprise (DWBE) in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Christine has been in the Oil Recycling industry for over 30 years and works with federal and multi-state environmental agencies on permitting for the collection, transporting, processing and distribution of On-Spec Used Oil Fuel.  She is the former owner/operator and was responsible for acquiring environmental and liability insurances, equipment financing and overseeing all aspects of daily operations of the business.  Christine’s operations have provided environmental services under a contract with the US Coast Guard for twelve consecutive years and has worked with major corporations such as Sunoco Logistics on the environmental impact of plant closures.

Steve Rusinko serves on the Board of Directors of Autism Cares Foundation and is the Chief Financial Officer of Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia.  He joined the hospital in 2007 and oversees several departments including finance, patient financial advocacy, first connections, health information management, cancer registry, physician coding, materials management, construction and plant operations.  Steve’s major accomplishments at CTCA include developing the Patient Financial Advocacy program which assists patients in overcoming financial and insurance barriers to treatment options.  With over 30 years in healthcare financial management, Steve held financial positions at other healthcare institutions, most recently as a Regional Financial Manager at Universal Health Services, Inc. and Chief Financial Officer at local hospitals.  He is a member of several professional organizations and also serves on the board of directors for Community Education Centers.  Steve received his BS degree in finance from Spring Garden College in Philadelphia and his MBA in Healthcare Management from Eastern University in St. David’s, Pennsylvania.

Fred Sciascia serves on the Board of Directors of Autism Cares Foundation and is a Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management.  www.fa.ml.com/sciascia

Kim Smith is the Managing Director for Autism Cares Foundation.  Kim brings over 25 years executive business management experience to her current role.  In the last year as Managing Director Kim has played an instrumental part in Autism Cares Foundation becoming a licensed service provider for adult services.  Kim’s’ background in project management on multi-million dollar development projects and start up businesses aids her as she heads the resources committee that is tasked with implementing the strategic plan to expand Autism Cares Foundation Services Division that will provide life and job skill training, day programs, workshops, respite care and permanent residency for over 21 special needs adults.  Kim will also be facilitation Autism Cares Foundation to replicate its services in other communities and states.

Jasmine Ridgeway is the Executive Administrator for Autism Cares Foundation.  Jasmine has been with the Foundation since 2012 and has been an instrumental part in many fundraising efforts such as the Spring Gala, Race for Resources and many more.  She also works beside Linda Kuepper, CO-Founder and CEO, to keep the Foundation up to date on admin, social media, website and much more!  Jasmine graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University in 2011 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and Psychology.  She has continued her education obtaining certificates for Crisis Management, Behavioral Management, Business Management, Law, Ethics, and Standards of Care for Community Mental Health Professionals.  Jasmine has also served as the Co-Founder for a local animal advocacy group, a non-profit that provides education and awareness for breed-specific adoptions and she volunteers her time at many local animal shelters.  Jasmine enjoys cooking, running, reading at the beach and being outside with her husband, Kevin, and their 2 dogs.

Diana Dudash is the Event and Fundraising Coordinator for Autism Cares Foundation.  Prior to coming on board with ACF, Diana’s career was based in Hospitality and Event Planning in New York City.  Volunteer work has always been important to her as well.  Diana has supported organizations like “Literacy Corps of Ramapo College”, “North Brunswick Abilities Council” and the “Inner-City Scholarship Fund”.  Diana looks forward to introducing new programs for ACF as well as some fun and beneficial fundraising opportunities!  “Creating experiences for others has always been a passion of mine” said Diana. “Seeing the look of excitement or gratitude on a participant’s face inspires me everyday.”  Diana and her husband, Josh, enjoy taking their daughter, Arden, and their Viszla, Hanna, to local parks for hiking in beautiful Bucks County.

Adult Services Division

Beth Garrison  is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Licensed Behavior Specialist for the state of Pennsylvania, and Licensed Behavior Analyst for the states of Virginia and New York.  She graduated in 2009 with a Master’s Degree in Education in Applied Behavior Analysis from Temple University. Since 2009, she has worked as a Behavior Specialist Consultant for Behavior Health Rehabilitative Services for various insurance providers in the Philadelphia area. She has also worked as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst creating and implementing behavior acquisition and reduction programs for multiple school districts and intermediate units in the Philadelphia area. With experience in organizational development and instructional design, she has served as a Director of Training and Development, supervising staff working in the field, as well as designing and implementing training for staff. Beth has also served as a Clinical Director where she managed a team of clinical supervisors and clinical care coordinators, and served as a clinical lead for ABA programs for children and young adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Beth is an Adjunct Professor for Temple University where she teaches basic and applied level courses in Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as “Careers in Psychology” courses.  She is a member of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, Organizational Behavior Management Network, Philadelphia Metro Area Association for Behavior Analysts, Applied Behavior Analysis International, and is a former Board Member of the Bucks County Autism Support Coalition. Beth enjoys running, reading, crafting, and hanging out with her family, especially her husband and two puppies.

Mary Pagel serves on the Board of Directors of Autism Cares Foundation providing valuable insight into recreational and developmental activities for people on the autism spectrum.  Mary graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Chestnut Hill College.  Upon graduation Mary taught grades three to twelve in the Maryland and Philadelphia area for 27 years.  While teaching, Mary continued her education at LaSalle University earning a Master’s degree in Technology and a Masters degree in Family Therapy.  Most recently, Mary works as a Behavioral Consultant Specialist with Autistic Children and their families for the state of Pennsylvania.

Jennifer Cyr received her Psy.D. from Rutgers University, The Graduate School of Professional Psychology in 2006 with a specialty in Organizational Psychology.  Her other academic achievements include receiving a Master of the Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson and a Bachelor of Arts from Seton Hall University. Jennifer has taught several managerial courses at St. Joseph’s University in the Haub School of Business and has served as peer reviewer for the Organization Management Journal.  Jennifer has a broad range of experiences, ranging from Training and Development and global employee engagement surveys to career counseling and management consulting.  Jennifer is an effective facilitator with demonstrated ability to build relationships and influence change across multiple levels and teams.  For the past five years, Jennifer has home/cyber schooled her four children.  She is actively involved in the community, having served as a parent coach for the local competition cheering team.  Additionally, Jennifer works part-time at the local YMCA as a gymnastics instructor.  Her oldest daughter is on the Autism Spectrum and has learning difficulties.  Through this diagnosis, Jennifer recognized the struggle many families face in finding resources, handling the behavior and finding a support network.  Jennifer has become her daughters strongest advocate.  As Office Manager at Autism Cares Foundation she will use her background to help manage and coordinate the daily activities to increase the effectiveness of the operations while at the same time providing the best services and support to the those families needing support in the community.  She and her family spend a lot of time reading at the library and doing outdoor activities.  Jennifer loves skiing, the outdoors, being physically active, cooking healthy meals and spending time with her family.

Founders, Frank & Linda Kuepper at the annual ACF Spring Gala