Six U.S. Charities Benefit from over $3M Donation from the State of Qatar

The donations represent Qatar’s ongoing commitment to improving the lives of the autistic community and are in recognition of World Autism Day and Autism Awareness Month

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, announced donations to a series of partners throughout the United States in recognition of World Autism Day and Autism Awareness Month. The donations were to notable charities such as The Dan Marino Foundation, Touro University, Break the Barriers, The Westview School, Organization for Autism Research (OAR), and NEXT for AUTISM. These charities support the autistic community and their families, promote a message of acceptance and understanding, and bolster research into innovative new treatment methods and therapies.

The latest partnerships continue the State of Qatar’s long-standing commitment to improve the lives of those with autism in the United States, the Middle East, and around the world. Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser first proposed World Autism Awareness Day to the United Nations General Assembly in 2007. Since being ratified, this U.N. day has been recognized annually on April 2. This day serves to highlight the importance of improving the quality of life for those with autism and ensuring they can lead full and meaningful lives as integral members of society.

“We are committed to enhancing educational resources, providing skills-based training, and promoting programs that boost independence for members of the autism community,” said the Ambassador. “Our partners across the United States play a crucial role in this effort, and we applaud their work not only during the month of April, but through their daily commitment to creating a more inclusive world.”

The Embassy of the State of Qatar is proud to partner with Touro University Nevada, whose Sharon Sigesmund Pierce and Stephen Pierce Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities was established in 2008 to address an unmet need in the State of Nevada— providing treatment for children on the autism spectrum.

The donation from the Embassy will be used to establish the Qatar Patient Care fund, which will support therapy services for children with autism. In 2019, Touro had more than 5,800 patient appointments. As therapy services return to post-pandemic levels, Touro will hire additional therapists and increase the number of families served.

“This partnership with the State of Qatar will be a tremendous resource to our Southern Nevada community in accessing needed therapy services so that finances are not a barrier,” said Shelley Berkley, CEO and senior provost of Touro University Nevada. “We are thrilled and honored to work alongside the State of Qatar in helping children achieve their fullest potential.”

The Embassy is also honored to be partnering with The Dan Marino Foundation. The Dan Marino team and the Embassy of the State of Qatar will work together to pilot a STEAM (“Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics”) enrichment program that incorporates specialized curriculums designed for students with autism, not just in the U.S., but with the potential to expand globally. This program will provide young adults on the spectrum with the opportunity to gain experience in robotics, coding, computer repair, graphic design, and other essential skills for the workplace.

“The Dan Marino Foundation strives to create programs and opportunities to advance the independence of those living on the autism spectrum,” said Foundation founder Dan Marino. “We will be co-piloting a STEAM initiative with the Embassy of Qatar that will enable students to gain skills and experience that will open doors to greater employment and educational opportunities.”

About DC/Virginia Donations

The Embassy of the State of Qatar is further supporting the efforts of the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) and its “Kit for Kids” program. This innovative classroom initiative teaches students grades K-8 to see the world through the eyes of their peers with autism. The Embassy’s support will expand OAR’s ability to reach classrooms across the United States and provide new educational materials that encourage classroom discussions and engagement.

“The Organization for Autism Research is thrilled to partner with the Embassy of Qatar to further extend the impact and reach of the Kit for Kids peer education program,” said Mike Maloney, OAR’s executive director. “The timing coinciding with World Autism Awareness Day could not have been better. Thanks to this partnership, OAR will be able to deliver the Kit for Kids lesson, complete with the newest resource, OAR’s Friendship Tip Sheets, to 5,000 K-8 students across the U.S. this year.”

About California Donations

The Embassy of the State of Qatar is proud to partner with Break the Barriers, a nonprofit corporation that celebrates awareness and victories of people and veterans of all abilities, ethnicities, and ages. The organization offers a wide range of classes in which students can learn and grow together through unique programming, outreach, and inclusion education.

“Many of our friends have the gift of having the superpowers of the five senses. What we all need is an opportunity to develop the gifts that we have been given,” said Deby Hergenrader, founder of Break the Barriers. “If you celebrate in the input, you will celebrate in the victory. Inclusively, let’s celebrate World Autism Day!”

About Texas Donations

The Embassy of the State of Qatar has created a three-year scholarship fund for students at The Westview School in Houston, a private, nonprofit school for children ages 2 to 15 with autism spectrum disorder. Westview’s well-rounded curriculum includes a full range of academic programs and a strong emphasis on social and social skills, including opportunities for students to pursue the arts, extracurricular activities, and real-world experiences.

“The Westview School is very excited to partner with the State of Qatar. This collaboration will help us serve more children in the greater Houston area with autism spectrum disorder in need of our programs by bolstering our scholarship fund,” said John Moring, director of development for The Westview School. “This wonderful partnership with the State of Qatar will help our scholarship fund impact the lives of over 100 Westview families in the next three years.”

About New York Donations

The Embassy of the State of Qatar is funding NEXT for Going Out, a community outing and engagement curriculum designed by NEXT for AUTISM specifically for autistic adults in day habilitation programs.

“Given that there are more than 5.4 million U.S. adults with autism, there is a significant need to ensure adults with autism enrolled in day habilitation engage in learning and continue to live meaningful and enriching lives within their communities. Autistic adults deserve to receive quality instruction and become lifelong learners,” said Gillian Leek, CEO, NEXT for AUTISM.

About the Embassy of the State of Qatar to the United States

The Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, D.C. houses Qatar’s diplomatic mission to the United States. The primary purposes of the Embassy of Qatar are to highlight Qatar’s policies on regional issues, strengthen Qatar-U.S. bilateral relations, and to assist Qatari citizens who travel or live in the U.S. The current Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United States of America is His Excellency Sheikh Meshal Bin Hamad Al-Thani. Learn more:


Alex Butcher-Nesbitt

(603) 707-6153

[email protected]

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