What is this for?
The Autistic People of Color Fund provides direct financial support to autistic people of color through individual microgrants between $100 to $500.
Will the covid-19 pandemic affect the Fund?
We are still committed to helping our community members, many of whom are struggling especially hard right now with sudden layoffs, extra childcare responsibilities, and loss of access to needed medications, mental health care, and health care.
For the duration of this crisis, we will only be able to send funds through PayPal as it is not currently safe for the AWN staff responsible for sending funds to visit post offices to mail checks. If you receive funds through us, you will need to have or set up a PayPal account to make sure we can send your funds to you.
Am I eligible?
- Any person who is autistic and a person of color (negatively racialized as non-white / Black, Asian, ethnic minority) is eligible to apply for funds.
- You are allowed to apply if you are autistic and have another disability.
- You are allowed to apply whether you have a professional diagnosis or not.
- If you were diagnosed with Kanner’s autism, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, Asperger disorder, childhood disintegrative syndrome, nonverbal learning disorder, or Rhett’s syndrome, you count within the autistic community.
- You are a person of color if you are not white.
- Some examples: If you are Aboriginal, African or African diaspora, Black, Brown, East Asian, First Nations, Indigenous, Mestizx, Mixed-race or Multiracial, Mizrahi, Native, South Asian, or Southeast Asian, you count. (This is not an exhaustive list.) If you consider yourself white, Caucasian, or white-identified, you wouldn’t count.
- You can be any age to apply.
- You can live in any country to apply.
- We do not require people who apply to show proof that they are autistic or people of color. Because of that, we consider applications on an honor system, although if we have specific reasons to believe that a person is white or non-autistic, we may ask you more questions. If we have reason to believe you might not be eligible, we may deny an application or request more information, such as a reference.
How does it work?
We ask for demographic information about yourself on your application, including your current income, whether you have received other sources of financial support or expect to do so, and how important a microgrant would be to achieving your goal. We consider a person’s comparative need, access to resources, and other marginalized identities and experiences, in awarding microgrants.
We try to review general applications four times each year – in March, June, September, and December. We try to review emergency applications once each month. Sometimes we can review applications faster, but we can’t promise a specific time frame since we are all volunteers.
Here are some of the things we might do when you apply:
- We might give you the exact amount you ask for.
- We might give you more than what you ask for.
- We might give you less than what you ask for.
- We can’t give anyone more than $500.
- We might decline your application now. You can apply again later if you are an autistic person of color.
We will always tell you what we decide.
If we choose to give you funds, we can send your money through PayPal or a paper check. We try our best to send money within 6 weeks of making a decision. Sometimes we can send money faster but we can’t always promise a quicker timeline.
If you live outside the U.S., we might have to make different arrangements to send your funds, since it can take longer to send money abroad.
What can I use money for?
You can apply for funds for almost any reason. If you’re helping someone else apply (including a young child or someone you support), the funds must directly benefit that person.
Your application must explain the reason you are requesting funds, and the amount (between $100 and $500) you are requesting.
We also ask you whether we can have your consent to share information about your grant publicly or privately if accepted, and if so, whether we have consent to share your name or initials, and any details about your need.
Some possible examples of requests include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Buying food and groceries
- Paying an overdue utilities bill
- Getting books for a semester of college
- Seeing a therapist
- Paying lab or language fees in college
- Getting food
- Paying an overdue medical bill
- Getting an athletic uniform or equipment
- Traveling to a job interview
- Getting art supplies
- Paying a security deposit on an apartment
- Covering the cost of a medication
- Buying a job interview outfit
- Covering a week’s stay in a motel while leaving an abuser
- Paying to travel to exhibit art or zines
- Getting food for a political advocacy event
- Having picket signs professionally printed for a demonstration
- Going on a weekend vacation
Unfortunately, we can’t fund everything.
- Because we are part of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we can’t give you funds for political campaign or election activities. We can give you funds for advocacy that includes lobbying for issues, bills, or regulations. We can’t give you funds for advocacy for or against a candidate for office.
- We can’t give you funds to do things that will hurt other people.
- We can’t always give you funds for your child to receive therapy or treatment. We can give you funds for a therapy or treatment your child themself wants and is interested in.
- We can’t give you funds for therapies or treatments that are more harmful than helpful. For instance, we can’t give you funds for ABA (applied behavior analysis), since many autistic people who have survived ABA experienced it as intensely traumatic.
Where do I apply?!
Please use the emergency application only if you are in a crisis right now, and you’re asking for funds to help with the crisis.
If you’re not in a crisis right now, please use the general application. Most people can finish this application in about 45 minutes. You will answer 24 total questions.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if…
- You prefer a document in Microsoft Word or PDF,
- You prefer a paper application,
- You prefer to submit a video, or
- You prefer to answer questions by phone.
If you send a video, please upload it to YouTube, Vimeo, or another video-sharing site, and email us the link to email@example.com.
Can I apply for my child, my sibling, my partner, or someone I support?
We ask the person who the will actually get the funds to try to apply on their own first. If they are too young to apply on their own, or they need help to apply, then you can send the application for them.
Who’s behind this?
We are a group of autistic people of color with diverse backgrounds, identities, and experiences.
Lydia X. Z. Brown is the founder and volunteer director of the Fund.
Morénike Giwa Onaiwu is Grants Selection Chair for the Fund, representing the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network. They also lead the Committee on Autism, Race, and Ethnicity at AWN and co-edited the anthology All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism.
Sharon daVanport is Founder and Executive Director of the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network. They provide general administrative and financial support for the Fund, since AWN is the fiscal sponsor and partner organization of the Fund.
Sara María Acevedo is a disability justice activist who was formerly Disability Organizing and Research Fellow, and provided critical support to the Fund in Spring 2019. She is now Assistant Professor of Disability Studies in the Department of Educational Psychology at the Miami University in Ohio. She also serves on the board of directors for the Society for Disability Studies and the editorial board of Ought: The Journal of Autistic Culture.
We’ve also received support in various ways from many other broader community members, and from many other people among AWN’s leadership, staff, and volunteers.
I don’t need funds/I’m not eligible, but I would like to help!
We accept donations to this fund — to have money sent to this fund, please donate to AWN and send a note indicating that the donation is for the Autistic People of Color Fund. You can send your note in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure that your donation goes to the right place.
If you are part of a corporate donation-matching program, a grant-making foundation, or other group that is interested in making a larger gift to the fund, please reach out to us at email@example.com to let us know how you would like to help.
Thank you for your support!