NEXT for AUTISM transforms the national landscape of services for people with autism by strategically designing, launching, and supporting innovative programs. We believe that individuals with autism have the potential to live fulfilling, productive lives when supported by excellent services and connected to their communities. We continually ask, what’s next for people on the autism spectrum?


While many organizations engage in advocacy or fund scientific research, NEXT for AUTISM addresses the needs of people with autism and their families across the country, right now. We create and support exceptional educational, clinical, and vocational programs, all cutting-edge, all with an eye towards affecting fundamental shifts in current approaches to autism services.


  • To create and support high-quality programs that maximize the potential of people with autism through each life stage
  • To ensure that individuals and their families are successfully integrated into their communities
  • To expand system-wide capacity to serve people with autism by coordinating services across agencies and disciplines, and spreading expertise


NEXT for AUTISM (formerly New York Collaborates for Autism) was founded in 2003 by Laura Slatkin and Ilene Lainer, an entrepreneur and former law partner respectively, both with sons who are on the autism spectrum. Laura and Ilene envisioned an organization that would advance the field of autism services and challenge the status quo. After consulting scientists, educators, and thought-leaders, they convened a group of like-minded philanthropists to create and support exemplary, innovative programs that would improve the lives of individuals and families living with autism.

NEXT for AUTISM has built a portfolio of programs with respected service organizations, medical centers, universities, and other educational institutions. Each new initiative is aligned with the corresponding life stage of individuals living and growing with the disorder.  Each incorporates best practices and state-of-the-art interventions.

Messages from Ilene Lainer, President and Co-Founder

April 2019

December 2018

April 2018

Read our 2019 Year End Review!