Rich Center for Autism receives donation

Krinsky Donation

A check presentation was held at Youngstown State University's Rich Center for Autism on the campus of YSU, Saturday, Oct. 21.

Doug Krinsky, founder of Ante4autism, and Georgia Backus, former executive director of the Rich Center, presented representatives from the YSU Foundation and the Rich Center with a check for the Doug Krinsky and Georgia Backus Operating Endowment for the Rich Center for Autism totaling $27,593.

Proceeds of the endowment, held at the YSU Foundation, will be used to support cultural and educational activities for parents and families of currently-enrolled or formerly-enrolled Rich Center students as well as the installation of a parent resource room at the center.

"Doug and Georgia continue to be advocates for children on the autism spectrum," said Interim Executive Director, Mike Latessa. "This donation enables us to sustain our mission and provide much needed support to students and families."

Krinsky, a native of Columbus, Ohio is the founder of Ante4autism, an annual event held in Las Vegas with celebrities, furniture industry executives and poker players to benefit autism. The 2018 event provided the funds for the creation of the Doug Krinsky and Georgia Backus Operating Endowment for the Rich Center for Autism. Inspired by his son, Michael, who is on the autism spectrum, Krinsky's advocacy began as a result of the gaps in service and the need for alternative education for children like his son.

Backus served as the director of the Rich Center for Autism from 1995-2013. She is a graduate of YSU, earning both her bachelor and master of science in Education. Backus helped establish the Rich Center for Autism as an Ohio Department of Education Center of Excellence. She was appointed by then Governor of Ohio, Robert Taft, in 2003 to the Ohio Task Force for Autism.

The Rich Center for Autism was established in 1995 through the collaborative efforts of the Kosar, Rich (Ricchiuti), and Rubino families who have a shared interest in working to understand autism and necessary care for affected individuals. The Rich Center for Autism, a component of the YSU Beeghly College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, & Education, fulfills the mission to prepare educators, medical specialists and other professionals in best practices for teaching and caring for those on the autism spectrum; to increase knowledge base through the promotion of scholarly research; and to provide public service and advocacy on behalf of those affected by autism. The Rich Center for Autism has no geographic boundary and accepts children of all socio-economic backgrounds and cultures. Children are enrolled in the programs regardless of their caregivers’ ability to pay. Referral, treatment, and support are provided at no cost to families.