Who are we?

Autism Family Education Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Upstate, SC.  Our purpose is to provide educational opportunities for families with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and/or other developmental disabilities to increase their knowledge and competency in caring for a child or adolescent with a developmental disability and assist them in improving their quality of life.  Funds raised provide scholarships to cover some of the expense of these training courses, seminars, and conferences to families in need.

If you or someone you know may benefit from these scholarships, please see the application below.

Interested in donating to or fundraising for our cause?  Information on making donations can be found below and you may contact us about organizing a fundraiser by e-mailing donate@autismfef.org

For more information, follow us on Facebook!



Donations through PayPal are fast, easy, and secure. You choose how much to give and how to give it. If you would like to designate your donation for a particular family or towards a particular conference, please note this in the Special Instructions section when you submit your donation!

Amazon Smile

Do you shop on Amazon often?  With just one easy change you can donate to us at no additional cost to you!  We are a verified charity with Amazon Smile!  So how does it work?  Instead of using Amazon.com just go to smile.amazon.com to do your amazon shopping (don’t worry, it’s the real deal).  Make sure Autism Family Education Fund is set as your charity of choice and Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase amount to us just for shopping with them!  You can find out more by clicking below.

Shop via the mobile app?  You can still use the app to browse and place your purchase in your cart.  Then when you’re ready to purchase, use your mobile browser to navigate to smile.amazon.com, login as normal, and proceed to checkout!  Once you have us set as your default charity it’s that easy to donate!


Fundraisers will be hosted locally in the Upstate SC area and online through this website as well as Facebook.  We will post events as they are scheduled!

Upcoming Events:

None Upcoming.  Have a fundraiser idea?  Want to host a fundraiser for AFEF?  E-mail us at donate@autismfef.org

Mail-In Donations

 Please send mail-in donations to:
Autism Family Education Fund Inc.
P.O. Box 1142
Travelers Rest, SC 29690

Apply Now

If you are an adult with autism or a family member of a child with autism needing a scholarship to attend an educational event, conference, or seminar to expand your knowledge about Autism Spectrum Disorders, we want to help!  Fill out the form below to be considered for a scholarship.  Please ensure that all fields are filled out.  Completed forms may either be e-mailed to apply@autismfef.org or mailed to our mailing address in the contact information below. Please allow ample time for consideration.

Please note that while we will consider applicants from a wide area, South Carolina residents who apply and applications to local conferences and education seminars will receive first priority at this time.

Download Printable Word Document

Download E-Fillable PDF

Become An AFEF Board Member

Are you looking to become involved with an organization dedicated to families of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or other developmental disabilities? AFEF is currently seeking individuals to join our team on the AFEF Board. This is an exciting and productive opportunity to work towards creating awareness about developmental disabilities in our local and surrounding communities, and helping families with the costs of attending informative conferences, seminars, and training courses. If you are ready to serve, please follow the link below and fill out a short survey. We can’t wait to meet you!

Board Member Survey


Check back soon for upcoming events for 2020!!

Family Fun

Thank you to all who joined us for Fiesta For Families!

We are so happy to announce that we had an amazingly successful event, and we owe it to each of you who came out!  Thanks to your participation we raised over $3000!  We are grateful to everyone who came out and joined us, from the pre-registers to the walk-ins, and we hope you all had as much fun as we did!

Approved Conferences

The following are educational conferences and seminars that have been approved by the Autism Family Education Fund for applicants to attend.  Choosing an approved conference will help expedite your application process, however it is not required to choose one of these conferences to apply for assistance!

National Converge Autism Summit

Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health invites professionals from across the nation to converge for two days of presentations and breakout discussions covering a wide range of topics related to Autism—from diagnosis, behavioral health and treatment, and therapy results.

For more information or to register visit http://convergeautism.com

Hopes and Dreams Conference

Professionals, family members and self advocates can learn more about the resources and support available to the special needs community. Family members are also able to connect with professionals who care for children of all ages with various disabilities and long-term healthcare issues. This increased collaboration between parents and professionals sets the stage for all children and individuals with disabilities to reach their full potential.
Don’t miss this chance to learn more and collaborate to better meet the needs of those with disabilities and special healthcare needs. Join us at the R2i2 Conference Center, 763 Fashion Drive, Columbia, SC.

For more information or to register visit https://www.familyconnectionsc.org/hopes-and-dreams-conference/

Your Conference Could Be Here

Interested in having your educational conference, lecture, or seminar on our website?  Do you have helpful, educational information for parents of children with ASD and/or other developmental disabilities?  Would you like to help us help parents attend your event?

If you answered yes, we invite you to become a member of our approved conference network!  Becoming an approved conference allows us to approve applicants who wish to attend your event more quickly.  You will also be featured on our webpage alongside other approved conferences!  For more information, contact one of our board members or e-mail us at info@autismfef.org with your event information.


We can’t do this without you, so if you or your company would like to become an AFEF sponsor, we would love to have you!  Contact us at donate@autismfef.org to set up your sponsorship.  Sponsorship comes in several levels and each level provides its own benefits:

Platinum Level Sponsor – $2,500+:
  • Platinum Level Sponsorship recognition with AFEF Fundraising Events such as signage, advertising, printed material, and promotional items (tee shirts if applicable) for 12 months.
  • Platinum Level Sponsorship recognition on AFEF Website and Social Media for 12 months.
  • Links on AFEF website and Facebook pages to company website.
  • Platinum Level Sponsorship Recognition Plaque for Business.
  • Platinum Level Sponsorship Recognition on future” AFEF brochures x 12 months.
  • Provide two scholarships in company’s name to an AFEF approved conference ($400 max. value). Sponsor may submit recipient.
Gold Level Sponsor – $1,000-$2,499:
  • Gold Level Sponsorship recognition with AFEF Fundraising Events such as signage, advertising, printed material, and promotional items (tee shirts if applicable) for 12 months.
  • Gold Level Sponsorship recognition on AFEF Website and Social Media for 12 months.
  • Gold Level Sponsorship Recognition on future” AFEF brochures x 12 months.
  • Provide two scholarships in company’s name to an AFEF approved conference ($400 max value). Sponsor may submit recipient.
Silver Level Sponsor – $500-$999:
  • Silver Level Sponsorship recognition with AFEF Fundraising Events such as signage, advertising, printed material, and promotional items (tee shirts if applicable) for 2 events.
  • Silver Level Sponsorship recognition on AFEF Website and Social Media for 12 months.
  • Provide one scholarship in company’s name to an AFEF approved conference ($200 value). Sponsor may submit recipient.
Bronze Level Sponsor – $250-$499:
  • Bronze Level Sponsorship recognition with AFEF Fundraising Events such as signage, advertising, printed material, and promotional items (tee shirts if applicable) for 1 event.
  • Bronze Level Sponsorship recognition on AFEF Website and Social Media for 12 months


We would like to thank and recognize our current sponsors:

Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health, Gold Sponsor

Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health is a state-of-the-art campus and nationally renowned program for the treatment of autism in children and adults ages 5-21. We work with the entire spectrum of children, adolescents, teens and adults with autism, including patients at all developmental levels. We begin work with children at younger ages, using advanced, evidence-based autism therapy programs. Our dedicated staff is committed to autism programs and therapies that address the needs of the whole child beyond the diagnosis. We have been serving children with and their families at our campus in Traveler’s Rest, S.C., for over 30 years. Visit springbrookautismbehavioral.com for more information.

ECPI University, Gold Sponsor

With campuses in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, ECPI University offers an accelerated, hands-on education.  By attending classes year-round, students can earn a bachelor’s degree in 2.5 years or an associate’s in 1.5 years.  On campus or online, programs include Technology, Engineering, Health Science, Nursing, Criminal Justice, Business and Culinary Arts, offered in a military-friendly, student-centered environment, featuring small class sizes, free tutoring and career services.  ECPI University is accredited by the Commission of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees and diploma programs.


We are so grateful when we receive feedback from the families we sponsor.  We love hearing how AFEF has helped you learn and grow!  If you have received a sponsorship, please tell us your story.  We would love to hear it!  You can submit your AFEF story to apply@autismfef.org.  Please be sure to let us know if we can feature your testimonial here on the website so others can see how we can help them!

“The conference was an exciting event to attend. As a parent of a 16 year old daughter diagnosed with autism, I sat with some amazing people in attendance and we shared experiences and found encouragement. From great vendors, atmosphere, speakers and networking: I came away with a better sense of my role as a parent navigating life with my daughter.”

2018 Scholarship Recipient

“I did a lot of reading and research when my son was first diagnosed with autism. four years ago, so the experts at the autism conference really brought me up to speed with the latest scientific research and information. They pointed me to the resources I need to help my son. I walked away with information and ideas that I can use throughout the entire year. I thank Autism Family Education Fund for this opportunity.”

M.J. Simpson 2018 Scholarship Recipient


Monique Williams, Treasurer

Monique is an education enthusiast in upstate South Carolina, currently in student services at Clemson University. Education has been a pillar in her life and remains a continuous pursuit. Monique’s career began in continuing education for a legal nonprofit organization in southeastern Pennsylvania, but detoured when she returned to school to earn her master’s degree with a goal of teaching in higher education.  Monique found her niche in student services where she enjoys helping students navigate the complex maze of higher education, and career and personal development. Joining the AFEF board is an extension of her favorite motto, “Knowledge is Power,” and she states, “I am grateful to be a part of an organization that seeks to empower families through education.”

Contact: mwilliams@autismfef.org

Laurie Elrod, Secretary


Mike Rowley, Board Member

Mr. Rowley is the Administrator and maintains overall responsibility for the operation for Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health. Mike is instrumental in the significant financial and national market share growth at Springbook Autism Behavioral Health. Under his leadership the programming to treat behaviors in children and adolescents with autism has become a center of excellence.

In the course of Mr. Rowley’s career, he has been the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of multiple levels of care that include start-up model psychiatric hospital with services for seniors, adults, adolescents and children; psychiatric hospitals with residential services for behavioral and mental health; detox and chemical dependency; community services and foster care. Prior to joining Springbrook in 2012, Mr. Rowley was CEO of Salt Lake Behavioral Health, a start-up facility in 2010, Executive Director of Lakeside Academy (Sequel Youth and Family Services), and CEO of Copper Hills Youth Center.

Mike received his Bachelors and Masters of Social Work from Brigham Young University.  Mike is proud of his role as a father of six children, and is dedicated to serving the community and assisting families through education. Serving on the Board of Autism Family Education Fund provides another opportunity to assist families in need.

Contact: mrowley@autismfef.org

Mary Ann Bennett, Board Member

Mary Ann is Chief Operating Officer, Director of Nursing, and Director of Autism Programming at Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health. She has a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of South Alabama and a Masters in Health Administration from Ohio University. Mary Ann has an extensive background helping autistic children and their families in the community. She is one of the founders of a local non-profit private school for children with ADHD, ASD, and learning disabilities. She has designed the autism programming at Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health and was pivotal in the transformation of this local residential treatment facility into a renowned residential treatment program that successfully addresses behaviors that interfere with a child or adolescent with autism success at home and in school. Working in this residential autism center environment and seeing how providing education to families dealing with autism has improved the quality of their lives has inspired Mary Ann to be a part of the Autism Family Education Fund so that other families can receive this same benefit.

Contact: mbennett@autismfef.org

David Burleson, Board Member

David Burleson is a graduate of Anderson University, where he obtained three separate Bachelor of Science Degrees in Marketing, Management, and Finance/Economics.  He has worked as an Economist progressing to Senior Consultant, obtained his insurance licenses with a specialty in Financial Services, and worked as a Staffing Manager where he specialized in executive recruiting for accountants and financial analysts.  As both Autism and Mental Illness have personally affected his family, David joined Springbrook Behavioral Health in 2010 to work with those populations as the hospital’s Regional Director of Business Development.  David has also served on the Board of Directors for Mental Health America since 2013.  David brings his passion and expertise from his professional and personal experiences to the Autism Family Education Fund team.

Contact: dburleson@autismfef.org

Ashley Krozer, Board Member

Ashley is the Community Relations Coordinator for iTrust Wellness Group, an outpatient mental health clinic in Greenville, SC.  As Community Relations Coordinator, Ashley approaches marketing not only as a profession but as a creative outlet.   With a B.S. in Marketing Communications from Western New England University, Ashley has a passion for all things inventive. She strives to build relationships that are productive and enjoyable. Ashley is committed to educating people about mental health conditions and mental wellness through community forums, workshops, and events. Her ultimate goal is to educate and connect with the community to help others find hope and stability through their struggles.  AFEF board allows Ashley to continue to advocate for improved, expanded and accessible mental health services.

Contact: akrozer@autismfef.org

Patricia Metcalf, Board Member

Hi I’m Patricia Metcalf- Student Success Coordinator at ECPI University Greenville, South Carolina. Most people know me as Trisha . I’m a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island. My career started in retail management at The Gap. As a Training Store Manager I hired and trained local college students. Most of them stayed with the Gap and did their co-op and internship with me. Some of them became store managers This is why I transitioned into Higher Education where I have worked for over 19 years. I started as a Career Advisor at ECPI University over 15 years ago . Prior to ECPI I worked in Career Development at Johnson & Wale University in Providence , RI. My role has been to prepare our students for a rewarding career in their field of study while providing a skilled, well trained workforce to the community. I am now the Student Success Coordinator for the Greenville Campus. I help student overcome the obstacles that get in their way. I am always ready to listen to what is on their mind and provide confidential resources, assistance and encouragement.

Rebekah Wright, Board Advisor

Rebekah Wright is a graduate of North Greenville University where she obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology, and Louisiana State University Shreveport where she obtained her Masters in Health Administration. Rebekah began her career as a direct care staff at Springbrook Behavioral Health in 2012. Since then she has been able to utilize her talents and now is currently the Director of Patient Relations, Quality, and the Group Living Director. Rebekah has always had a focus on mental health awareness and the drive to advocate for those in need. Rebekah has over 5 years of experience with working with the Autism population and currently is a Registered Behavior Technician. Rebekah brings her skills in process improvements, project management, and advocacy to the Autism Family Education Fund team.

Contact: rwright@autismfef.org

Karrah Leary, AFEF Founding Board Member 2017-2019

In loving memory – 1986-2019