March 3, 2020


Summit Center Updates

The Summit Center receives $1 Million from Mother Cabrini Health Foundation

Amherst, NY, March 3, 2020 – Stephen R. Anderson, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of The Summit Center, has announced the receipt of a $1 million grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, the largest gift ever received by Summit. The grant supports Phase 2 of the agency’s $3.7 million Building Hope Capital Campaign to expand its Summit Academy campus at 165 Creekside Drive, Amherst, NY, by opening an autism assessment and treatment center for children and youth who demonstrate severe behavior disorders. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2020 with completion scheduled for winter 2020/21.

The assessment and treatment center, comprised of five specialized classrooms, will be the first of its kind in Western New York and only the second in New York State. “In Western New York, children with intellectual/developmental disabilities with severe behavior disorders who are in crisis are often hospitalized or sent to out-of-state facilities for treatment,” Dr. Anderson explained. “Our assessment and treatment center will provide a proven treatment model to conduct behavioral diagnostics, develop effective interventions, and train caregivers in recommended best practice.”

The campus will be created by joining Summit’s 165 Creekside Drive property with an additional 19,295 square feet of adjacent space on Woodridge Avenue via a connector between the two buildings. The new classrooms will serve children who, due to their disability and severe behavior, are challenging to serve in an educational setting and require significant support. This move will also allow Summit Academy to serve additional children from its growing waitlist. Summit Academy currently serves 350 students ages 3-21.

“With the prevalence of autism now at one in 59 children and a growing waitlist for Summit’s services, it’s critical that we expand our physical space to address the growing need,” Dr. Anderson said. “We are extremely grateful to the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for recognizing the merits of this important project and sharing our vision to provide comprehensive services and supports for WNY children with autism and their families.”

This generous gift brings the Building Hope Capital Campaign to the $3.3 million mark. Phase 1 of the campaign funded the renovation of 14,500 square feet of space at 75 Pineview Drive in Amherst to house The Summit Center’s Behavioral Pediatrics Clinic, Pediatric Feeding Clinic, Conference Center, and offices for the agency’s Adult and Community Divisions.

The grant received by Summit is one of many announced today by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, which awarded $150 Million in grants to more than 500 programs across New York State.

“We are honored to support a wide range of organizations doing critically important work to improve the lives of New York’s most vulnerable communities,” said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chief Executive Office of Visa and Chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board.

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation was formed after the 2018 sale of Fidelis Care, a nonprofit health insurer created by the Catholic bishops of New York State. For more than 25 years, Fidelis Care expanded under the bishops’ oversight to become one of the highest rated and most successful insurers operating in the state. The Foundation – named in memory of a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor – provides flexible support for new and innovative approaches that enhance health and wellness across New York State.

Summit Academy is a program of The Summit Center. With a staff of 500 professionals and expertise in autism and social/emotional development, The Summit Center is Western New York’s leading provider of evidence-based educational, behavioral health, adult, and community programs to more than 1,350 children and adults each year with developmental, social and behavioral challenges.