RENTON, Wash. - The Seattle Seahawks and Ben's Fund, founded by John and Traci Schneider in 2012, announce efforts to support Autism Awareness Month.
In partnership with Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) of Washington, Ben's Fund provides grants to families across Washington State to help cover costs associated with medical bills, therapies and numerous other aspects of supporting a child, or children, on the autism spectrum. Through the Seahawks Women's Association's annual Prime Time celebrity waiter event, community support and additional donations, the efforts have raised more than $3.5 million and provided more than 1,800 grants to families in the state of Washington.
Last year, Ben's Fund began offering grants to 19-23 year olds to help with the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. These funds help support education, job training, life skills, and social skills.
"Over the past year, we've been thrilled to review applications from this transitional, young adult age group," said Traci Schneider. "Along with awarding grants, we have increased our involvement with other providers throughout the autism community, specifically supporting young adults. It's exciting to see the expanding opportunities available."
Throughout the month of April, the Seahawks will donate 10% of sales for every regular priced Seahawks hat and knit cap sold at The Pro Shop stores to Ben's Fund,in support of Autism Awareness Month. The four retail stores are located at CenturyLink Field, downtown Seattle, Renton Landing and Alderwood Mall. Fans will also be able to make an in-store donation at checkout.
The team will also launch an online charity auction that offers Seahawks memorabilia with 100% of proceeds designated for Ben's Fund. The online charity auction will run from Tuesday, April 2 to Thursday, April 11, at Seahawks.com/BensFund. The items include the following:
- Seahawks Legend Walter Jones #71 autographed Authentic Game Jersey
- Seahawks LB K.J. Wright #50 autographed Official NFL Game Football
- Seahawks QB Russell Wilson #3 autographed Replica Jersey
Throughout the first week of April, the arch lights on the roof of CenturyLink Field will be blue as part of the Light It Up Blue campaign to support autism awareness.
The Seahawks Women's Association continue to provide toolkits to make CenturyLink Field and gameday activities more user-friendly for fans on the spectrum. The toolkits include noise canceling headphones, earplugs, sensory toys, detailed schedule and identifier badge. Fans can pick-up the toolkit at Guestlink located in the Field Plaza just south of The Pro Shop on the Field Level. The NFL has adopted this program at the Pro Bowl. Kits are also available to fans attending Training Camp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Fans are encouraged to bring awareness and support to @FEATofWA by tagging photos of @CenturyLink_Fld blue arches with #LIUB (Light It Up Blue) and #BensFund.
To apply, make a donation or for more information, visit Seahawks.com/BensFund.