January 7, 2019


Summit Center Updates

The Summit Center receives $350,000 from The John R. Oishei Foundation

Amherst, NY, January 7, 2019 – The Summit Center, Western New York’s leading service provider for children and adults with autism and other developmental, behavioral, and social challenges, has received $350,000 from The John R. Oishei Foundation, in support of Phase II of the organization’s $3.7 million Building Hope Capital Campaign.

The grant from The John R. Oishei Foundation, the campaign’s largest to date, will support the expansion of Summit Academy and the construction of a Center for Autism Assessment and Treatment (CAAT) for children and young adults with autism who demonstrate severe behavior disorders. A unique program model will integrate the best elements of a highly-specialized school with continuous behavioral assessment and intervention for individuals with autism and challenging behavior. Staffing will be provided by licensed psychologists, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, and teachers with extensive experience working with individuals with autism.

“We’re extremely pleased by this generous gift which will help us to provide more intensive behavioral support to students with autism and severe behavior disorder,” said Stephen R. Anderson, Ph.D., Summit’s Chief Executive Officer. “The children we will serve in the CAAT unit are among the most behaviorally challenging, often engaging in high rates of self-injury and aggression. Parents of these children often have no alternative other than hospitalization or placement at an out-of-state facility,” Anderson explained.

Robert Gioia, President of the Foundation said, “We applaud The Summit Center for its commitment to serve the growing number of children in Western New York who are significantly affected by autism and related behavior challenges. The treatment model for the CAAT – combining a highly-specialized school with continuous behavioral assessment and intervention – will provide an excellent option for WNY families struggling with autism.”

In addition to the CAAT, five new classrooms will be constructed to form the core of the new campus. The campus will be created by joining Summit’s 165 Creekside Drive property with an additional 15,000 square feet of adjacent space at 25 Woodridge Avenue via a connector between the two buildings. The new classrooms will serve students with autism from Summit Academy’s growing waitlist. Summit Academy, a program of The Summit Center, serves 340 students ages 3-21.

Funds from Phase I of the campaign have been used to remodel 14,500 square feet of existing space at 75 Pineview Dr., Amherst, for new offices for The Summit Center’s Behavioral Pediatrics Clinic and Feeding Disorders Clinic which opened in April of 2018 as well as its Community and Adult Services divisions.

The Building Hope Campaign, launched in 2017, has raised $1.8 million to date to help improve the lives of children and adults with autism. Major contributors include Golisano Foundation ($150,000), M&T Bank ($150,000), and Grigg Lewis Foundation ($125,000).

The John R. Oishei Foundation enhances the economic vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region through grantmaking, leadership and network building. The Foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corporation.

With a staff of 500 professionals, The Summit Center offers more than 30 programs and services to 2300 children and adults with autism and other developmental, social and behavioral concerns.