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Stanley Black & Decker pledges $5 Million for Autism-Friendly Recreation Complex

Stanley Black & Decker, a leading global provider of tools, equipment, and services for the construction, industrial, and manufacturing industries and brand partner of World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els, has pledged $5 million over five years to support the capital campaign to build the recreation complex at The Els Center of Excellence in Jupiter, Florida.

Research proves that participation in recreational programs has shown extensive benefits for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It can reduce behavioral and emotional disorders, aid in developing social skills and forming relationships, enhance physical and mental health, and support the formation of children’s interests. Every week, Els for Autism® offers multiple recreational programs, including golf, kickball, and tennis, on The Els Center of Excellence campus, serving more than 100 individuals with autism annually.

The recreation complex will allow programming to expand by providing an indoor space during inclement weather and high temperatures. The complex will include the autism-friendly Stanley Black & Decker Gymnasium, an aquatic center, and a splash pad. Drowning is the number one cause of death for children with autism, and an aquatic center for people with autism will allow for specialized water safety and swimming instruction as part of the Ernie Els #GameON Autism® Sports Programs.

“We are thrilled to have the support of Stanley Black & Decker in building this much-needed recreation complex,” said Marlene Sotelo, BCBA-D, MT-BC, Executive Director of Els for Autism. “The gymnasium and aquatic center will provide a safe and inclusive space for individuals with autism to engage in physical activity and learn life-saving water safety skills. We are grateful for Stanley Black & Decker’s commitment to supporting the autism community and helping to transform the lives of people with autism and their families.”

In addition to the generous pledge of support for the recreation complex, Stanley Black & Decker also funded and outfitted a vocational lab in the brand-new Stoops Family Foundation Adult Services Building. The lab will be supplied with tools and equipment donated by Stanley Black & Decker to provide adults with autism training to support paid employment opportunities.

“We are proud to partner with Els for Autism in this important initiative to provide resources and support for individuals with autism and their families,” said Don Allan, President and CEO of Stanley Black & Decker. “We believe that by investing in programs like the recreation complex and vocational lab, we can help create a more inclusive and supportive society for individuals with autism and their families.”

Stanley Black & Decker is also designated as the National Sponsor of the 2023 Golf Challenge through a $125,000 contribution. In addition, President and CEO Donald Allan, who has supported the Golf Challenge since 2020, is an event Co-Chair of the regional Golf Challenge event held August 7 in Hartford, Connecticut, at the Wethersfield Country Club.

“The partnership between Stanley Black & Decker and Els for Autism is remarkable. It is a joy to collaborate with the SBD team and their network of supporters, all of whom demonstrate an understanding of the need to transform the lives of people with autism and those who care for them,” said Paige Thomas, Director of Events at Els for Autism.

The Els Center of Excellence is a world-class facility that provides education, therapy, research, recreation, and adult services for individuals with autism and their families. The capital campaign to build the recreation complex is a more significant effort to expand and enhance the facility’s programs and services.