Alpha Xi Delta Partners with Autism Speaks to Raise Awareness and Funds for Critical Research

Thursday, April 2, 2009 6:00 am

Indianapolis - Alpha Xi Delta, one of the nation's oldest women's fraternities, announced today its new philanthropic partnership with Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization.  The sorority and its more than 135,000 members across the country will work to raise autism awareness and financial support for Autism Speaks.

Alpha Xi Delta will use its extensive network of college chapters and alumnae associations to support Autism Speaks' awareness and fundraising efforts.  Chapters and associations will participate in or host fundraising events in support of Walk Now for Autism, Autism Speaks' signature fundraising and awareness event.  In addition, Alpha Xi Delta's large membership base will offer Autism Speaks a means to mobilize additional volunteers.

"Alpha Xi Delta has a long history of supporting child-focused issues.  Since early childhood diagnosis of autism and early intervention are critical, our support of Autism Speaks is a natural partnership for Alpha Xi Delta," said Deanna Detchemendy, Alpha Xi Delta's National President.  "With one in 150 children diagnosed with autism and no known cure, Alpha Xi Delta is committed to improving the lives of children and families affected by autism.  We hope our fundraising and awareness efforts can help put one more piece of the autism puzzle in place."

"We know many Alpha Xi Deltas across the country have been personally impacted by this disorder," added Detchemendy.  "I'm confident their personal connection with this issue and the exciting opportunities presented by this new alliance will inspire our Sisters to enthusiastically support Autism Speaks in its goal to change the future for all who struggle with autism."

"We are incredibly grateful to Alpha Xi Delta and its thousands of members for joining our fight against autism, and supporting our efforts on behalf of individuals with autism and their families," said Leslie Chambers, Executive Vice President for Field Operations and Chapter Management.  "The energy and hard work of Alpha Xi Deltas will help spread our message of autism awareness across the country and support critical research into the causes of autism, better treatments and a cure."

Today's announcement coincides with World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month.  During this time, Alpha Xi Delta chapters and associations throughout the country will engage in community outreach activities to raise awareness about autism and Autism Speaks.

About Alpha Xi Delta
Founded in 1893 at Lombard College, now Knox College, in Galesburg, Illinois, Alpha Xi Delta inspires women to realize their potential by providing opportunities for sisterhood, leadership, knowledge and service.  The national women's fraternity has nearly 150,000 initiated members and has college chapters on 112 college campuses and 131 alumnae associations nationwide.  For more information on Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity, visit

About Autism
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of Autistic Spectrum Disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism, and to advocating for the needs of affected families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks has merged with both the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's three leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit



Media Contact:
Lori Lambert, Director of Public Relations - Alpha Xi Delta
317.872.3500 ext. 122