DONATE NOW to the ONLY ALL-VOLUNTEER national autism organization serving adults and their families: THE DANIEL JORDAN FIDDLE FOUNDATION! Look at our record for 2017…

Before the door closes on 2017, and in preparation for the new tax laws in 2018, it is the perfect time to consider a donation of any amount to the only 501(c)(3), all volunteer-run autism organization in the United States focused exclusively on adult autism and the only organization with FOUR GROUNDBREAKING ENDOWMENT FUNDS at renowned universities: The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation!

According to Merrill Lynch investment advisors:

“Charitable gifts could be worth more if deducted in 2017 instead of 2018. The top marginal tax rate for 2018 would be 37% (down from 39.6%)—some taxpayers who are in the current 39.6% bracket will drop to 35% since that bracket is elongated to cover income up to $600,000 for married taxpayers. Therefore, a charitable deduction could be worth more if made in 2017 rather than 2018. There is a host of complexities, such as phaseouts and caps that can affect any particular taxpayer’s decision. There is no substitute for individualized advice from your tax professional. It is also noted that with the elimination of state and local tax deductions (and even with a $10,000 allowable deduction), some taxpayers may actually use the standard deduction if they have no charitable deductions. As a result, some portion of their charitable deductions in 2018 could be “wasted.”

This past year has been a great year of accomplishment for The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Adult Autism Research Fund at Yale University led by Dr. Roger Jou who has engaged nearly 400 participants in social groups that will form the basis of innovative research relating the unique social challenges of autistic adults.

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Transition and Adult Programs at the University of Miami Center for Autism and Related and Disabilities and the like-named fund that supports employment bootcamps, job coaching and support groups for adults and even social activities that enhance skills vital to employment has launched full-time employment for participants and fosters on-going support to assure success!

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Theater and Performing Arts Fund at Brown University has trained over 50 professionals in the acclaimed Miracle Project methodology and successfully completed a filled to capacity summer camp alongside Artists and Scientists as Partners where young adults and adults on the autism spectrum, their peers and Brown students through the magic of theater, dance and music made life-changing memories together!  And this is only year one!!

At the Graduate School of social work at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, we recently met with Dean Potter and the four Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Fellows who are working as clinicians with the family members of adults diagnosed with autism as well as putting the finishing touches on a national database to assist the family members of adults as well as professionals, autistic adults, and the community at large in navigating resources and support systems they need during the lifespan journey of of autism.

Finally, The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Leader in Adult Autism Award, a national honor presented annually at the Autism Society of America Conference, was awarded to Rising Tide Car Wash, a Florida company that employs autistic adults. Rising Tide is a role model for entrepreneurs and businesses across the United States and throughout the world and its great success exemplifies The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation vision to value each person and honor their strengths and talents as they participate in and contribute to community life.

As you see, 2017 was an incredible year of achievement for our all-volunteer-run organization, and we could not have done it without your continuous support during these past 15 years.  We hope you will consider a year-end donation that you can make directly from our homepage at

With our unwavering commitment to all those affected by Autism, and to all of you in our service, our best wishes for a wonderful new year, The Board of Trustees of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation


Rich Bushnell Heads Up Grants Management at The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Guided by Individuals Living with Autism

John Goldfarb and Rich Bushnell, a Founding Trustee of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation had the chance to discuss Rich’s leadership role and great insights in a recent interview:


Rich Bushnell (far left) at one of "Danny's Red Ball Weekends" at Camp Bernie hosted by Ridgewood YMCA

Rich Bushnell (far left) at one of “Danny’s Red Ball Weekends” at Camp Bernie hosted by Ridgewood YMCA

John: How did you become involved as a Founding Trustee of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle (DJF) Foundation?

Rich: I’ve been a longtime friend of Linda and Fred (DJF Foundation co-founders) and my children grew up with Danny (Danny Fiddle for whom DJF Foundation is named) so I knew firsthand the love and the spirit that was a part of Danny.   My kids certainly enjoyed playing with Danny and being with him.  When Linda and Fred decided to start the DJF Foundation, it was something I felt I wanted to be a part of to assure the ongoing legacy and memory of Danny.

John: What is your role on the DJF Foundation Board and why is it important to you?

Rich: My role on the Board has been to head up grants management of the over 100 programs and numerous community resources DJF Foundation has developed and funded during the past 12 years. As the organization has evolved, we have grown in the diversity of programs and resources we have created, including model DJF Signature Programs that have become blueprints for adult autism program development throughout the United States. We have always maintained our focus on transition and adult life for people living with autism and we have opened many doors of opportunity where none existed before. Another key aspect of being apart of the Board is being able to offer direction and work with Linda and the rest of the board members to create ways to address underserved needs. It has been very rewarding to work with the other board members and to be part of the team that guides and sustains the organization.

John: Would you please tell me about your job outside of DJF Foundation?

Rich: I am a retired executive at General Electric Corporation and I am head of one of the business development areas.

John: How has your connection to autism grown over the years and what have you learned from it?

Rich: Through DJF Foundation, I’ve met a number of families who have a family member on the spectrum and of course I have met many individuals who have participated in our programs and contributed their experiences and ideas to DJF’s efforts. It has been extremely rewarding to see the impact our programs and resources have had on individuals and families. It makes me continually realize how valued and needed the work of the DJF Foundation is to those we serve.

John: What can a person who does not have direct connection, like a relative, do to be a better neighbor and friend to someone on the autism spectrum?

Rich: Although my family does not have any autistic members, living next door to Danny gave us all, especially our sons, the opportunity to learn more about autism. My sons played with Danny and had many good times with him because they liked Danny and he was fun to be with, and we all cared for him because of the person he was and his lively personality. The fact that he was autistic was just part of him, but not all of him. There is no special way to act if your neighbor or friend is autistic, just accept them for who they are, like you would anyone else.

John: What do you think the future holds for people living with autism?

Rich: Well I think it’s getting better because there is more general awareness about autism. We need to continue to expand awareness that autism impacts individuals for a lifetime and that when children grow up there needs to be supports and services to help them live as independently as possible. This is why the advocacy efforts of DJF Foundation are so important and Linda with her broad expertise is making an impact. We need to always value and listen to people who live with autism. Our DJF Advisory Board is led by people on the spectrum and it is a great model for society to listen to those who are directly affected and be guided by their hopes and dreams.

Rich receives a decade award for his volunteer service to DJF Foundation

Rich receives a decade award for his volunteer service to DJF Foundation


Steve Ball: Founding Trustee, Dedicated Volunteer and Emeritus Trustee

John Goldfarb continues his series on “Getting to Know the Dedicated and Talented DJF Board of Trustees” with his recent conversation with Steve Ball, the strategic leader of the organization:

John: What made you decide to become a Founding Trustee of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation (DJF)?

Steve: Fred Fiddle and Linda Walder, the co-founders of DJF have been close personal friends for many years, and I knew Danny (Fiddle) since the day he was born. When he passed away, it seemed like the only thing to do to support this new and what turned out to be groundbreaking organization, named for a special boy.

John: What has been your role on the DJF Board?

Steve: Over the years I have helped the Board of Trustees to formulate a strategic vision that encompasses a balance of our finances and objectives. I see my role as advising Linda and the Board with a plan for each year to help the organization succeed in achieving the goals of our mission. I have been glad to serve the organization and hopefully make an impact.

John: Would you please tell me about your job that you do outside of DJF?

Steve: I was a banker for years for Merrill Lynch, and now I do some teaching at Rutgers University Business School, and work on a lot of different things, primarily in the real estate business and private investments.

John: What is your personal connection to autism?

Steve: Well again, my personal connection is knowing Fred and Linda and obviously knowing Danny for years, and that’s how I got to understand about autism. If it wasn’t for that, quite frankly I probably wouldn’t know a lot about it.

John: Does your own family have any members on the spectrum?

Steve: We have in fact. There is someone in my family who’s on the spectrum, a person who is able to live pretty independently, but yes we have.

John: What advice would you give anyone who has a loved one on the autism spectrum?

Steve: Well like anything, probably do a fair amount of research: try to understand your loved one and their challenges as best as you can because if you don’t become educated, I think it’s difficult for all. The DJF website is a great place to start where one can find many resources and updated information.

John: What do you think the future holds for people living with autism?

Steve: I think it’s brighter than it had been over the last 10 years. It seems like the awareness factor has gone to new levels for a host of different reasons, one of which is the work and advocacy of DJF.

John: Do you have any mentors who inspired you to continue working for DJF?

Steve: The one person who’s inspired me really has been Linda. She’s amazing; everyone should be able to channel the grief that she and Fred went through; she has been able to turn tremendous grief into a positive and lasting energy in Danny’s honor and memory. We are all inspired by her.

Steve Ball and Linda J. Walder

Steve with Linda at a DJF fundraiser hosted by him and his generous and talented wife Pam at their home.

John Goldfarb Interviews Jim Scancarella, Founding Board of Trustees Member of DJFF

Founding Trustee and Vice President of the Board, Jim is a dedicated volunteer and leader

Founding Trustee and Vice President of the Board, Jim is a dedicated volunteer and leader

Jim Scancarella is the Vice President of the Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Board of Trustees. John Goldfarb, our blog editor had the opportunity to talk with Jim recently.  

John: How did you become a founding Board of Trustees member and Vice President of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation?

Jim: My son Jimmy and Danny were at the Forum School in New Jersey together and our families met over 18 years ago. When The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation was established over a dozen years ago, Linda (Linda J. Walder , Founder of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation) asked me to serve on the Board of Trustees. I wanted to give back something to all these beautiful kids and young adults and believed in Linda’s pioneering focus on adults living with Autism. At the time, we were the only organization in the United States to have a specific mission focused on adults.

John: What do you do as Vice President of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation?

Jim: I typically lead fundraising efforts, I attend meetings, assist with going to look at various projects that we’re considering collaborations with, and whatever else is requested of me.

John: How does the Board of Trustees decide on projects The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation will develop and support?

Jim: There are constantly new and ongoing projects that Linda spearheads. Then these are reviewed by our Board of Trustees. Our mission and vision of developing, advocating for and funding projects to benefit adults on the spectrum is based on the social entrepreneurial spirit of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation and founded in our goal to open as many doors as possible for all adults living with Autism. We have always remained focused on our mission and all we do reflects this.

John: What is your personal connection to Autism?

Jim: My son Jimmy, who is 22 is Autistic, he is on the autistic spectrum.

John: How has your family dealt with Autism?

Jim: We’re very fortunate that Jimmy is an easy-going kid and we’ve been able to deal with any issues that have arisen. We’ve just been able to adjust to our situation, that has been an easier situation than what other families experience.

John: What advice would you give anyone who has to cope with the challenges of a loved one who lives with Autism?

Jim: Just hang in there. There are difficult times and rewarding times and many things in between, but try to take them in stride.

John: Since you joined this Foundation, what is it like to create opportunities for adults who live with Autism?

Jim: We don’t really get to meet a lot of the individuals our endeavors benefit directly, however, it just makes us all feel good knowing that because of our efforts their lives are changed and expanded with new opportunities. It gives us great pride to know that the resources we have developed or programs relating to residential, employment or recreation have created opportunities that never existed before for adults living with Autism. I look forward to our next great initiatives that are on the drawing board now as they will create enduring collaborations that will benefit adults in the next decades.

John: What do you think the future holds for people living with Autism?

Jim: I think it’s good, I think there’s a lot of focus on the issues obviously, and that can only bring good things looking forward.

John: How has this Foundation changed lives?

Jim: The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation has been in existence for over 12 years, and we were the first organization in the United States to focus on adults. I believe our efforts started what is now a national focus on the growing population of adults living on the spectrum, and I am proud to be a part of the strides that have been made to create the best lives possible for all people living with Autism. Our residential, recreational, transition and employment programs have opened so many opportunities around the country and we will continue to break new ground in the years ahead.


Welcome John Goldfarb, Our New Intern and Blog Editor

Summer Intern and Blog Editor, John Goldfarb

Summer Intern and Blog Editor, John Goldfarb

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation is excited to introduce you to our new intern, John Goldfarb who will be taking over as the Editor of our Blog for the summer. We asked John to introduce himself and to share his focus for the Blog in the coming weeks…

Hi everyone: I am John Goldfarb, a huge Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, Rutgers Football, and Wisconsin Badgers basketball sports fan. I am also a recent graduate from County College of Morris in New Jersey. I will be attending Ramapo College,,, also located in New Jersey, this fall. I am a communications major. My interest in communications is sports journalism.

I’m very excited to be The Daniel Jordan Fiddle (DJF) Foundation blog editor this summer because this is an excellent opportunity to get to know more about the DJF Foundation as well as the people who help this organization out in numerous great ways.

Before I got into writing and editing articles, I played four years of football at Livingston High School. My team won a state championship my sophomore year and I had the opportunity to be on the Giants stadium field for the game. From my experience in football; I understand what it is like to be a part of something special. I get that same special feeling being a part of an organization like DJF.

Before joining the DJF Foundation, I spent my county college days working for the Youngtown Edition Newspaper. This paper is the on campus newspaper of the County College of Morris. I served as the college’s sports editor. While working for the Youngtown, I interviewed athletes, coaches and students from various teams or who were just around for sports related articles.

When interviewing the dedicated people affiliated with the all volunteer DJF Foundation, I will ask questions such as, “what convinced you to join the DJF Foundation?” or “how have you been impacted by Autism?”. If you have any ideas for questions for our Board members, self-advocates or collaborative partners of the DJF Foundation, feel free to email me at

I hope you will find my blog interesting as together we get to know the great people at the DJF Foundation a little better.

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Ignition Grant Award for Innovative Young Adult and Adult Autism Services

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, a national Autism organization focused on developing, advocating for and funding programs for adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is known for innovating opportunities that target the needs of the individuals on the spectrum.
The UJA Federation of New York is the world’s largest community based philanthropic organization that raises funds to sustain more than 100 health, human-services and community building agencies. http://www.ujafedny The Hilibrand Autism Symposium at the UJA Federation of New York is one of Autism’s cutting-edge annual events that brings together scholars, news-makers, community support systems and service providers. Combine all three of these forces and the result is certain to ignite ideas, and in this case, directed specifically towards programs for adults living with ASD.
During last Spring’s Hilibrand Autism Symposium all three organizations announced the creation of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Ignition Grant Award for Innovative Young Adult and Adult Autism Services. (DJF Ignition Grant). At this year’s upcoming symposium scheduled for April 25th in New York City, the first program to receive this award will be unveiled. The DJF Ignition Grant is designed to stimulate the development of an innovative program for adults living with ASD or young adults as they transition to adult life (age 16 or older) by encouraging UJA Federation of New York agency organizations to submit proposals to develop, create and sustain new ideas.
The DJF Ignition Grant award that is matched by UJA Federation of New York, provides seed money to pilot a new idea in the field of adult Autism to enable people in this age group to have access to opportunities that will allow them to achieve additive levels of independence. The program idea can address any area relating to adult life including social skills, employment, education, social/sexual development and housing/residential initiatives; no matter what the program , it must push the boundaries of what is already available at UJA-Federation agencies in New York and capitalize on unrealized potential.
The first DJF Ignition Grant recipient fulfills the goal these organizations imagined and that adults living with Autism have been asking for: a program to help them form, maintain and navigate healthy interpersonal relationships. The JCC in Manhattan is the recipient of this $10.000 grant that expands it six year old Adaptations program geared towards adults in their 20s and 30s and creates four different social support groups for adults on the spectrum. Groups are co-facilitated by experienced professionals, consist of 8 to 12 individuals and meet every other week for one/two hours .
The focus of this new program, which interestingly addresses issues raised in Amy Harmon’s New York Times front-page story, “Navigating Love and Autism,”, is on sexuality, dating and intimacy offers a supportive and safe setting to explore these topics . The Social Learning Support Group, one of the four groups in the program, is geared towards young adult participants with an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis. In this group, participants learn and practice navigating social situations such as body and volume awareness, self advocacy, dealing with anxiety conversation skills and developing friendships. Group members have the opportunity to apply the skills discussed out in the community. Participants also receive individualized support within the context of the small group. The Social Learning group now has 12 active individuals with a facilitator from the Mount Sinai Seaver Center and an intern from Adaptations who is with the group for her second year. Additionally, the group has two other interns involved. The group now meets for an hour and a half; thirty minutes are spent discussing a particular lesson with the entire group and an hour is used for small groups discussions. This new Social Learning Support Group has created a space for its participants to socialize, learn and grow together.
The GirlFriends Group is another support group in the program and brings girlfriends, in this case young women on the spectrum, together to experience the bonds of friendship through laughter, tears and advice when needed . Having a strong network of girlfriends makes women healthier, happier, more successful, less stressed and more confident. The GirlFriends Group helps participants establish lasting friendships. There are currently 9 regular female participants who are benefiting from the group’s work on navigating the social complications of female friendships.
The Dating – On and Offline Group has been quite an experience and experiment according to the program facilitators. After several years of hearing about people’s desire to date and discussing dating issues one on one with participants, Adaptations is finally able to do so in a group setting. This has allowed participants to receive help in creating their own dating profiles, and explore issues of boundaries and safety when dating online. Participants have expressed that they now feel more comfortable dating on line. This group has also allowed for the creation of a forum for the participants to start asking questions that they have kept inside for so long and to gain support from their peers (eg:“How do I ask someone out on a date?” “How do I know if they like me?”, or “ How do I know when it is appropriate to kiss my date?” etc.) This group is still in its infancy phase where people are just excited to have a place to ask questions, feel validated in not knowing the answers, learn how to better understand social cues and ultimately improve their self confidence.
The fourth support group in the program ,that is still in formation, will focus on building confidence in dating and social relationships in the context of the larger community outside the program. Other future avenues for this DJF Ignition Grant program include dating and mingling events and the implementation of a safe, secure on-line dating website just for program participants to use within the confines of the program. To achieve this part of the program, a partnership with Pace University and the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems has been established. Pace Assistant Dean and Director of Special Programs and Projects has agreed to take on this project and has began development of the site along with the experts Adaptations.
The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, UJA Federation of New York and the Hilibrand Foundation are looking forward to the growth of this first Ignition Grant Program and aspire for it to serve as a model for the development of similar programs in communities everywhere.