The South Florida-based Dan Marino Foundation partnered with Panera Bread to celebrate the National Autism Awareness Month through a fundraising campaign. The “Touchdown for Autism” campaign will be supported by the foundation and 23 Panera Bread stores from Broward and Palm Beach in an attempt to raise money to support autistic children, teens and young adults.
To “Touchdown for Autism,” Panera Bread has launched the exclusive “Football” cookie, pre-sold through the last week of March and the whole month of April 2011. Offered individually or by the “Marino Dozen”, the unique cookies will raise money to help children with Autism. All funds from the sale of both the dozens and individual cookies will be given to the Dan Marino Foundation and the new Dan Marino Foundation Community Campus which will be opened later this year. The price of a “Football” cookie will be of 1.59 US dollars, while a “Marino Dozen” will cost 19 US dollars.
The soon to be open Dan Marino Foundation Community Campus is being built in the Broward County to provide academic, vocational, life, social, and independent living skills programming for teens and young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. The campus’ mission is to help them become an integral part of the workforce and their community.
According to the foundation, the teens and young adults suffering from autism face challenging futures once they leave the state support programs when turning 18. 40% of them become homeless in their first year out of care, less than half manage to graduate from high school, the vast majority (75%) are unemployed or underemployed and two thirds become parents before turning 21. Given the bleak life they face, getting help as soon as they leave the system is paramount.
Panera Bread is represented by New York based PR company Sloane & Company.