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Giant Steps Awarded Grant From Community Foundation

June 19, 2017:  Giant Steps is proud to announce that the school has been approved to receive a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley. The grant will go toward technology for the Canopy Adult Services Program cohort at Giant Steps’ Sugar Grove campus.

“We are thrilled to have been selected for this grant from the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley,” said Giant Steps’ Executive Director, Dr. Sylvia Smith. “The money will be put to use by providing participants at our Sugar Grove campus with access to technology and equipment that will enhance their learning of life skills, as well as help them with leisure activities and overall enjoyment of their daily lives.”

“For citizens living with autism, technology can help to give a voice to the nonverbal and enable individuals to enjoy a more inclusive, independent and fulfilling life,” she noted.
Giant Steps’ Canopy Adult Services Program serves individuals, ages 22 and up, who have “aged out” of school-based support services. Canopy has created a day program that is designed to meet the individual and specific needs of adults with autism. Canopy provides therapeutic services, as well as community inclusion opportunities, as well as life skills and vocational training, helping participants to continue to grow and develop throughout their lives.

“Serving the adult autism community is an area where we as a society need to answer the call for help. At Giant Steps we strive to be a leader in this area by creating an innovative environment that will serve as a blueprint for successful, autism-specific, adult programming,” Smith said.

The Canopy Adult Services Program currently has 26 participants across two campuses; one in Lisle and the other in Sugar Grove. Each participant is responsible for paying a daily rate, however these payments do not come close to covering the costs of providing services and programming.

“This is why donations and grants awards, such as the one we’ve just been approved for from the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, are so critical to our operation,” Smith Said.

For more information about Giant Steps’ or how you can become a Giant Steps supporter, visit, call Giant Steps’ Development Team at 630-864-3800 or follow us on Facebook at

About the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley
The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley is a non-profit, tax-exempt, philanthropic organization that administers individual charitable funds from which grants and scholarships are distributed to benefit the citizens of the Greater Aurora Area, the TriCities and Kendall County, Illinois. Founded in 1948, the Foundation provides a simple and powerful approach to charitable giving. Individuals, families, businesses, and organizations have the opportunity to custom design their own named funds that reflect their charitable goals and interests. Since its inception, the Community Foundation has grown to more than $80 million in assets and has awarded more than $63 million in grants and scholarships. For more information on the Foundation, visit

About Giant Steps:
Since 1996, Giant Steps has been focused on providing education, therapeutic and recreational programs for Elementary, Junior High, High School students and young adults affected by autism, their families, and the community. Our goal is to improve a child’s ability to interact, communicate, and develop academic and daily living skills.

We chose the Community Foundation because of its reputation. It’s well known, established and we can trust them to do the job for us.

Dick Schindel

Richard and Susan Schindel Scholarship Funds

As a first-generation college student from a low-income family, I was worried about how I was going to pay for books and supplies. This scholarship will allow me to focus more on my studies instead of worrying about how to afford college. I am working to not only create opportunities for myself but to motivate future generations. Thank you so much for helping me along this journey!

Moises J.

Claude & Alice Allen Memorial Scholarship Recipient

A community foundation is a donor-driven organization that helps donors custom-design funds that reflect their charitable interests. Through the years, grants from these funds have made a significant impact on our local communities.

Sharon Stredde

President Emeritus

There’s no question in my mind that the scholarship I received opened up possibilities.

Marianne Renner

Past Scholarship Recipient & Current Leadership Coach

Thank you very much for supporting my college education for these four years. I will never be able to repay you for the opportunity that this scholarship has given to me.

Julia H.

[Renewing Scholarship Recipient] Graduate of Hinkley-Big Rock High School

…you can always start small, even $25 can make a difference. Remember we can’t take our money with us. Even if it’s just your gift of time. Volunteer and get involved.

Cris Anderson

Cristina & Thomas S. Anderson Endowment Fund | Tom & Cris Anderson Colonial Advisory Fund

Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley

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