Alpha Xi Delta suspends partnership with Autism Speaks | June 14, 2021 #AutisticHistory

Alpha Xi Delta’s Eta chapter at SU will now work with the Kindly Hearts Campaign to serve and fund communities directly affected by the pandemic.

Alpha Xi Delta suspends partnership with Autism Speaks

Alpha Xi Delta has discontinued its national philanthropy with Autism Speaks. 

Alpha Xi Delta’s National Committee announced on June 14 that they will be ending their 12-year partnership with Autism Speaks and redirecting their philanthropic focus to the Kindly Hearts Campaign, which is focused on service and fundraising for communities most affected by the pandemic. 

Melanie Hecker, a communications team member of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network in New York, said that Autism Speaks, as an organization, primarily conducts research on autism rather than helping or enacting services for members of the autistic community. 

“People are surprised to find out that only 4% of their budget goes towards actual services to actually help people,” Hecker said. “The rest of that money goes to causation and cure research, which fuels the stigmatizing message that autism is a tragedy.”

Hecker is the former vice president of the University of Albany’s chapter of Delta Alpha Pi, an honors organization recognizing students with disabilities and their achievements. Now, Hecker works at ASAN, where she promotes acceptance of the autism community and hopes to change the stigma, she said. 

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A Statement From Alpha Xi Delta Nationals Regarding Our Philanthropic Partnership:

National Council has voted to discontinue Alpha Xi Delta’s national philanthropic partnership with Autism Speaks. This decision is based on feedback received in Listening Sessions, chapter conversations, individual communications and survey results from nearly 4,000 Alpha Xi Deltas, more than 2,500 undergraduates and more than 1,300 alumnae members.

Statement about Alpha Xi Delta’s Philanthropic Focus

Published: June 14, 2021

After 12 years and more than $12 million raised to support the autism community through Autism Speaks, Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity announced on June 14 that it will be redirecting its philanthropic focus to the Kindly Hearts Campaign

The decision for Alpha Xi Delta to part ways with Autism Speaks was based upon feedback received in chapter conversations, Listening Sessions, individual communications and philanthropy survey results from nearly 4,000 Alpha Xi Delta members. Although this is a formal end to Alpha Xi Delta’s official focus on autism, the Fraternity remains supportive of the autism community and is proud of the positive impact our members have been able to achieve during the past 12 years by increasing the understanding and acceptance of autism. 

Moving forward, Alpha Xi Delta is launching the Kindly Hearts Campaign (KHC). This is a year-long campaign focused on service and fundraising to support our communities in some of the areas most directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Campaign will run during the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters. As much of the US and the world continues to cope with, and seek to recover from, the COVID-19 pandemic, Alpha Xi Delta is galvanizing our membership around this shared experience and deploying our time, talents and treasures to serve our local communities that are in need. To support the Kindly Hearts Campaign, Alpha Xi Delta chapters and alumnae associations create project plans within one or more of the following areas of focus: supporting students, food insecurity, and basic needs shortages. 

The Kindly Hearts Campaign will be the Fraternity’s focus for the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters. An announcement of a permanent philanthropic focus will be made prior to the fall 2022 semester. 

For more information about the Kindly Hearts Campaign, please visit For FAQ about philanthropy, click here.

About Alpha Xi Delta 

Founded in 1893 at Lombard College in Galesburg Illinois, Alpha Xi Delta inspires women to realize their potential by providing opportunities for Sisterhood, leadership knowledge and service. The national women’s fraternity has more than 162,000 initiated members and chapters on 128 college campuses. For more information on Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity, visit

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