Corvette raffle to raise money for Naperville autism foundation
A tumultuous year has forced the Turning Pointe Autism Foundation to shift gears while navigating financial and operational implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Known for its hands-on, interpersonal training, the Naperville-based organization first had to pivot to a remote setting and certify its clinicians in telehealth services, Executive Director Carrie Provenzale said. Then the group's largest annual fundraising push in April -- World Autism Month -- ground to a halt amid the stay-at-home order.
When hybrid in-person programs could finally resume, she said, Turning Pointe invested in outdoor tents, personal protective equipment and other health protocols to keep their employees and roughly 60 students safe.
Nonprofit leaders now are hoping a lavish but socially distanced fundraiser will help bridge funding gaps to maintain those services.
Turning Pointe is raffling off a 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, valued at $79,790 and donated by Chevy of Naperville through a connection with the foundation's founders, Randy and Kim Wolf, Provenzale said. Up to 2,000 tickets will be sold for $100 each, with proceeds going toward the organization's operating and capital expenses.
The winner will be selected at random during a Dec. 3 drawing at the Turning Pointe headquarters, 1500 W. Ogden Ave. Participants must be at least 18 years old to enter.
If all tickets are sold, the $200,000 profit will make up for the revenue lost from canceled fundraising events, while also covering the costs of building out an eighth and final classroom, Provenzale said. The construction project began last week and is expected to be completed in January, she said, at which point the organization will be better equipped to accommodate an increased number of referrals.
"COVID has stopped us from a lot of things," Provenzale said, "but it has not stopped kids from being diagnosed with autism, and it has not stopped kids from needing a school like ours."
Students ages 7 to 22 are referred by school districts across the suburbs to attend Turning Pointe's day school, created to meet the specific and unique needs of kids and young adults with autism, organization leaders say. In addition to strengthening academic and life skills, the program focuses on increasing independence, improving communication and practice socially appropriate behaviors.
The nonprofit also offers employment programs and other services for adults, Provenzale said, adding that volunteers, donors, school districts and employment partners are crucial for its operations.
The facility is temporarily closed for in-person instruction but plans to reopen for hybrid learning Dec. 8, offering a nearly two-week buffer after Thanksgiving, she said.
Though the organization ramped up personal delivery care packages and online resources during the pandemic, its core services often require close, face-to-face interactions, Provenzale said. Turning Pointe has been following state health and education guidelines to ensure they can safely and adequately meet students' needs, she said.
"Our work is so human, it's really hard to do it remotely," she said. "What we've been able to do has been pretty remarkable."
To purchase a raffle ticket, visit the Turning Pointe website at turningpointeautismfoundation.org/corvette-raffle.