Autos for Autism raises more than $10K for inclusive education program at UMaine

Maine NAPA auto parts stores raised more than $10,000 for Maine Access to Inclusive Education Resources (MAIER) during a month-long fundraiser earlier this year.

The annual Autos for Autism event is held during April, which is Autism Awareness Month.

MAIER, formerly the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research, provides information and resources for families, educators and service providers to assist individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities navigate and access inclusive education programming. Based at the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development, it was established in 2014 with a grant from the Maine Department of Education and continues to receive the bulk of its annual funding from the Maine DOE Office of Special Services and Inclusive Education.

Autos for Autism began five years ago. The Mid-Coast Business Development Group (Mid-Coast BDG), a collective of 10 independent NAPA Auto and Truck Care Centers in Maine from Ellsworth to Warren, and Coastal Auto Parts, which owns 29 NAPA stores from Caribou to southern Maine, collect donations from customers. They also seek to raise awareness about autism by posting fliers and sharing information at their stores throughout the month of April.

The fundraiser supports MAIER’s family partnership activities and resources. This year’s total of $10,320 is a new record for the event, beating last year’s total of just over $7,000. The UMaine Foundation helped to facilitate the gift transaction.

MAIER research associate and family partnership director Anica Miller-Rushing accepted a check from Mid-Coast BDG at a ceremony last month.

For more information about MAIER, contact Miller-Rushing at