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About Els for Autism Foundation

Els for Autism Foundation was established in 2009 by Liezl and Ernie Els. The Els’ son, Ben, is impacted by the disorder which affects 1 in 59 children in the U.S. The world-class pro golfer and his wife have devoted their efforts to a game-changing, philanthropic project – The Els Center of Excellence.

The Els Center of Excellence is a world-class facility hosting leading-edge programs and services that are accessible to families and caregivers around the world. Based in Jupiter, Florida, the 26-acre campus provides on-site education for 300 students, ages 3 through 21. With all the essential components on one campus, the facility is the perfect hub for a variety of global outreach activities. This ensures The Els Center of Excellence campus’ positive influence is felt far beyond the boundaries of its walls.  Once the campus is completed, the impact will be magnified!

Fundraising continues to secure funding for the Sports, the Medical & Research Services, and the Adult Services Facilities.


Els for Autism Foundation earned the 2019 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.

Els For Autism Foundation GuideStar Nonprofit Report

Els for Autism Foundation offers innovative, evidenced-based programs for families and individuals across the life-span in the following six focus areas.



Providing learning opportunities for individuals with ASD as well as parents, university students, and professionals, both onsite and online.



Supporting the continued understanding of effective interventions for individuals with ASD.


Global Outreach

Serving as a hub for the autism community to disseminate best practices, while providing direct services to families from around the world.


Recreation Services

Delivering and disseminating fitness and therapeutic arts programs developed for people with ASD.


Therapy Services

Delivering best practice support and services beginning with early intervention through adulthood.


Adult Services

Providing life-span service programs to help adults successfully transition to all aspects of life including employment, independent living, and recreation.

Vision, Mission, and Goals

Ben Els at the Els for Autism FoundationVision

Els for Autism is a game-changing resource, delivering and facilitating programs that are leading examples of what can be available to people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


We are committed to better understanding the aspirations of people with autism spectrum disorder and helping them to fulfill their potential to lead positive, productive and rewarding lives, through:

  • Understanding the nature of ASD and facilitating the development and delivery of treatment therapies, educational programs, training programs, and recreational programs as well as independent living programs
  • Ensuring the development of global outreach that will facilitate the sharing of best practices and programs
  • Raising awareness and promoting the value, acceptance, and inclusion of people with ASD


  • Provide high-quality information, intervention, education and support to local, state, national, and international families of diverse cultures
  • Provide programs based on best practices and develop innovative interventions through investigative study and analysis
  • Engage in research to further knowledge in the field of ASD
  • Establish funding required to sustain the mission and program goals through grants, donations, and events

Els for Autism is a US public charity (EIN #26-3520396), recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as exempt from Federal tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.  Donors should consult their tax adviser to determine whether they are eligible to claim a deduction associated with their donation to this event.


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.