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About Us

About Els for Autism Foundation

Ben and Samantha Els

Els for Autism Foundation was established in 2009 by Liezl Els, Ernie Els, and Marvin R. Shanken. The Els’ son, Ben, is impacted by autism spectrum disorder, which affects 1 in 36 children in the U.S. The Foundation offers innovative, evidence-based programs for families and individuals across the lifespan in three primary impact areas: Early Intervention & Educational Services, Recreation Services, and Adult Services. Els for Autism Foundation serves families around the world, offering virtual services and in-person programs and services at The Els Center of Excellence® campus in Jupiter, Florida.

About The Els Center of Excellence

Located in Jupiter, Florida, The Els Center of Excellence is a world-class, 26-acre campus that is home to two separate nonprofit organizations: The Els for Autism Foundation and The Learning Academy: A tuition-free, nonprofit, Palm Beach County public charter school serving students ages 14 – 21.

Els Center of Excellence

The two non-profits co-exist on campus, sharing facilities such as a 300-seat auditorium, meeting rooms, and spaces to conduct therapy sessions, a sensory arts garden, a golf course practice facility, two playgrounds, and an outdoor basketball/tennis play court. Having these essential components on one campus is not only a game-changer for the local autism community but makes the campus the perfect hub for a variety of global outreach activities.

A capital campaign continues to secure funding to add a Recreation Complex and a Medical & Research Services Facility.  Once the campus is completed, the impact will be magnified!

Learn more about The Els Center of Excellence Campus



Non Profit Chamber AI

Els For Autism Foundation

The Nonprofit of The Year award is given to an organization whose strategic vision, passion and perseverance have led to extraordinary outcomes for the community it serves.  Recipients of this award generally utilize new approaches in overcoming obstacles to achieve its mission.



2020 Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Els for Autism Foundation earned the 2020 Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information. This is the highest level of transparency available!   

A GuideStar Seal of Transparency indicates that a nonprofit has provided key information in its Nonprofit Profile. By providing up-to-date information, nonprofits allow potential donors and funders to make educated decisions about the work they do to make the world a better place.

Read the Els For Autism Foundation GuideStar Nonprofit Report