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 campus is a world-class site hosting leading-edge programs and services for individuals with autism. Based in Jupiter, Florida, The Els Center of Excellence is on track to be a game-changing resource in the field of autism and a leading example of what can be available to individuals on the spectrum. Having all the 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. 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!
On the campus:
- Administrative Building hosts the Foundation staff offices, a 300-seat auditorium, meeting rooms and spaces to conduct therapy sessions
- Rupert Education Wing hosts The Learning Center at The Els Center of Excellence, a nonprofit, tuition-free, Palm Beach County charter school serving students with autism ages 3-14
- Shanken Education Wing hosts The Learning Academy at The Els Center of Excellence, a nonprofit, tuition-free, Palm Beach County charter school serving students with autism ages 14-21
- The Pavilion is a multipurpose classroom/studio for art shows and other gatherings and is equipped with a full catering kitchen
Additionally, the campus contains:
- Courtyard – 26,000 square feet, fence enclosed, central area with grass and sidewalks
- Golf Course – practice facility featuring 3 greens and 9 holes
- Sensory Arts Garden – therapeutic and educational destination for children and adults of all abilities
- Two playgrounds
- Outdoor basketball/tennis play court
Fundraising continues to secure funding for the Sports Facilities, Cafeteria, Adult Services Building and Medical & Research Services Facility.
The architecture and interior design firm, Peacock & Lewis, won the 2016 American Society of Interior Design (ASID), South Florida Chapter, Institutional Design Award for The Els Center of Excellence campus.