Eden Autism Services has received a bequest of $2 million from the William & Dorothy Noonan Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation. The gift is the single largest donation in Eden’s 40-year history of serving individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
“We are absolutely thrilled and honored by the generosity of Bill and Butz Noonan, two extraordinary individuals who fell in love with Eden and its mission. Their commitment to serving others is tremendously inspiring,” said Peter Bell, President and CEO of Eden. “This transformative gift will enable us to enhance and expand our programmatic excellence, make improvements to our facilities with a particular focus on our adult services program, and help ensure our long-term sustainability for those we serve, both today and in the future.”
After moving to Princeton in 1987, Bill and Dorothy “Butz” Noonan became engaged in Eden’s mission despite having no family connection to autism. Bill Noonan was chairman of the Eden Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2003, and then again in 2005 and 2006. He died in 2006.
“This is a wonderful and thoughtful legacy by the Noonans and great news for Eden,” said Anthony Kuczinski, chairman of the Eden board and president of Munich Reinsurance America. “Now in its fifth decade of service, Eden has spent much of the last year planning for its future. Integral to its rich history is the indelible mark that the Noonans have made on Eden during their lifetime and through their bequest.”
Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that impacts the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. The result of a neurological disorder affecting the functioning of the brain and frequently other systems of the body, autism typically appears during a child’s first three years of life.
Founded in 1975, Eden was among the first service providers to expand its program to address the needs of individuals on the autism spectrum from the point of diagnosis through adulthood. The agency offers early intervention therapy, a school for students aged 3 to 21, adult employment and residential programs, and a curriculum for educators and other professionals.
“In life, and in death, Bill and Butz Noonan have made a remarkable impact on Eden,” Bell said. “It is in our hands to honor their faith in this organization and to leverage their generosity such that it raises our individual and collective sights on what is truly possible for Eden – and those we serve. With gratitude and deep respect for their legacy, we are humbled by this extraordinary gift.”