Humana Names Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center as $100,000 Winner of 2009 Arizona Benefits Grant

June 8, 2010

The Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), a non-profit working toadvance research and provide support for individuals with autism and theirfamilies, has been awarded a $100,000 grant as the winner of the 2009 ArizonaBenefits grant, funded by health benefits company Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM). Mark El-Tawil, president of Humana of Arizona, named SARRC as the winner of thegrant during the Arizona Benefits Celebration of Giving dinner Thursday, Oct.22, at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Two other finalists for the award – ThePhoenix Public Library Foundation and Sun Cities Area Transit System Inc. – eachreceived a $10,000 grant from Humana. With the $100,000 award, SARRC will create GardenWorks, a community-basedprogram designed to engage individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) indeveloping and sustaining a revenue-producing co-op garden. “A diagnosis of autism is made in the United States every 20 minutes, and thenumber of children expected to need extensive adult services over the next 15years exceeds 380,000, which is roughly equal to the populations of Tempe, Yuma,Flagstaff and Payson combined,” said Jeri Kendle, Executive Director of SARRC.”Clearly there is a great need for the kind of training and mentoringGardenWorks will provide for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.” Kendle said the grant from Humana will provide needed resources for the SARRC toimplement the GardenWorks program, allowing the non-profit to involve thecommunity in a program to benefit individuals with ASDs. By developing a co-opgarden, SARRC will teach those with ASDs gardening and landscaping skills theycan use to work toward financial independence, while community members will beencouraged to mentor individuals with ASDs to help them grow, harvest and selltheir products. “Going into the third year of this program, Humana is committed to continuing togive back to the communities we serve through programs like Arizona Benefits,”said El-Tawil. “To help an organization like the SARRC find a solution to acommunity need and grow in a way they might not have thought possible is theheart of what this program is all about. We`re honored to be able to work withthe SARRC to help those with autism spectrum disorders learn valuable lifeskills while raising healthy crops.” The community judges choosing the recipient of the $100,000 grant included JacobBrown, Willis Insurance; Paul Dolby, Circle K; Marcie Cragg, The Gavin Group;Rhonda Forsyth, John C. Lincoln Health Network; Tom Leander, Phoenix Suns; PeggyNeely, District 2 Councilwoman for the City of Phoenix; David Strachan, DesertSchools Federal Credit Union; and Cheryl Vogt, Marsh. Humana representatives onthe panel of judges included El-Tawil, president of Humana of Arizona; SteveMacias, practice leader; Jennifer Willis, practice leader; and Jeff Chicots,regional vice president. Humana`s Arizona Benefits program awards a one-time, $100,000 grant to aMaricopa County-based 501(c)(3) organization working to improve the mind, bodyand spirit of residents. Fresh Start Women`s Foundation, a non-profitorganization dedicated to helping women help themselves, won the 2008 $100,000award, enabling the organization to open a satellite center for women in theEast Valley. Mesa Association of Sports for the Disabled, a non-profit thatsupports athletic programs for disabled athletes, used the 2007 $100,000 awardto purchase a truck and trailer that allowed it to increase the quality andquantity of events for participating athletes.