All Ghouls Gala 2023 for Autism Care Today


All Ghouls Gala 2023 for Autism Care Today was on Saturday, October 28, 2023. We had a spooktacular evening with frights, fun, and fabulous costumes at our haunted gathering.

Celebrities gathered at the All Ghoul’s Gala, to pay tribute to Joe Mantegna, Dr. Temple Grandin, and Areva Martin, Esq. and fundraise for Autism Care Today!

Celebrities and influencers gathered at the second annual All Ghoul’s Gala, to pay tribute to Joe Mantegna, Dr. Temple Grandin, and Areva Martin, Esq. for their tireless work lending their voices for individuals on the autism spectrum. The adult Halloween fundraising event benefited Autism Care Today! and took place at the Woodland Hills Country Club on Saturday, October 28th in Woodland Hills, California. Autism Care Today! is a national charity that provides grants for families affected by autism for everything from safety equipment to insurance co-pays.

We gathered to fundraise, raise awareness, and to honor those who elevate the autism community. We also had a lot of fun.”

— Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh PhD. BCBA-D, founder of Autism Care Today!

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Lending Your Voice Honorees: Dr. Temple Grandin, Joe Mantegna and Areva Martin, Esq.

The All Ghouls Gala honored special guests with the “Lending Your Voice” award. This award goes to a person, entity, or work of art that has elevated the conversation of what it means to be differently abled, and those who uphold the belief that “different” is never “less.”

Joe Mantegna, the first award recipient, is an award-winning actor best known for his roles on CRIMINAL MINDS, THE GODFATHER, SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER, and his Emmy-nominated portrayal of Dean Martin in HBO’s film, THE RAT PACK. He is also beloved for his performance of “Fat Tony” on THE SIMPSONS and as the dying father of a young man on the spectrum in the critically acclaimed series, AS WE SEE IT. As a father to two talented young daughters, one who is on the spectrum, Joe has been an outspoken advocate and tireless ally to those on the spectrum. Actor Fred Melamed presented the award to Mantegna and spoke of the immense respect he commands as an actor and an advocate. Mantegna accepting the award presented ACT with a $5000 check to acknowledge the charity’s work.

Celebrity Host BJ Korros presented the “Lending Your Voice Award” to Areva Martin, Esq. Martin is an award-winning civil rights attorney, media personality, autism advocate, author, and entrepreneur. She is known for her pioneering work at the intersection of autism and social justice. She is Founder and President of the Special Needs Network, and as such has raised millions of dollars for autism and related causes. Notably, Areva Martin has successfully launched California’s first-ever comprehensive medical and developmental center at the Jacqueline Avant Child and Family Center. She is the host of AREVA MARTIN IN REAL TIME on KBLA 1580, the only Black-owned and operated drivetime national news and podcast network in the United States. During her acceptance speech Martin spoke about need for organizations and charities to work together to help underserved populations.

Erin Murphy, who famously played Tabitha on the original Bewitched show, presented the award to Dr. Temple Grandin. Grandin is an international speaker and award-winning author. Her early life was the subject of the Emmy Award-winning HBO film, TEMPLE GRANDIN. As a young autistic woman, she broke down gender and neurodiversity barriers in the cattle industry to rise and become an internationally renowned expert in the design of meat processing plants. Dr. Grandin is a full professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She balances her time between teaching, writing award-winning books, and traveling the world to let others know about life and work on the spectrum. In her acceptance speech, Dr. Grandin emphasized the need to include autistic individuals in the work force and capitalize on their strengths, for the greater good of all.

Celebrities attending the event included many popular actors from classic TV. Maureen McCormick who famously played Marsha Brady, on THE BRADY BUNCH, and Larry Thomas, the Soup Nazi on SEINFELD joined stars from current shows like William Stanford David from ABBOT ELEMENTARY and Coby Bird from Netflix’ Locke & Key along with many other celebs.

Sponsors for the event included J.P. Morgan Private Bank; UBS; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner, PC: Duffy Kruspodin, LLP, Dr. Halloween, The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), The Autism Network, Ask Dr. Doreen, Autism Live, and Wen by Chaz Dean.

Autism Care Today is a national nonprofit501(c) (3) organization whose mission is to raise awareness and provide treatment services and support to families to help their children with autism achieve their full potential. Your donation will help children find their voice using communication devices, ensure their safety by installing fencing around their homes, pay for their invaluable therapy copays and so much more. Proceeds from our fundraiser will go directly to grants for families affected by autism.

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Prevalence: The CDC estimates that 1 in 36 children in the United States has
an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis. Every child with a diagnosis is part of a

FACT: Supporting an individual with autism spectrum disorder costs a family
$60,000 a year on average. The cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with
early diagnosis and intervention. According to a recent study, the lifetime costs of
autism average $1.4 million to $2.4 million.
ACT helps families to be able to afford treatment, services, and support they might not
otherwise be able to afford. Families are able to request a grant for what their individual
need is.

FACT: Being nonverbal at age 4 does not mean that a child with autism will never
speak. Research shows that, with early treatment and support, most will learn to
use words and nearly half will learn to speak fluently.
ACT provides grants for co-pays so a family can maximize their insurance benefits toward
fostering vocal and non-vocal communication.

FACT: Children with autism are 160 times more likely to drown than typical
children. Therefore, it is critical to teach them to swim and to utilize intensive
safety measures when water is nearby.
ACT gives grants to families for safety equipment including fences, pool, window, and door
alarms as well as tuition for swimming lessons.

FACT: Each person with autism spectrum disorder is a unique individual; people
with ASD differ as much from one another as do all people. Children and adults
with ASD may speak or interact with others. They may have good eye contact.
They may be verbal or non-verbal. They may be very bright, of average
intelligence or have cognitive deficits.
ACT give grants to families for what they request. One family may need an iPad, another
might request help with camp tuition, and someone else might need help paying for an
assistance animal specially trained to detect seizures. The needs are not one size fits all and
neither are the grants.

Autism is more common than juvenile diabetes, pediatric AIDS and pediatric cancer combined. Early and intense therapies have been proven to be effective yet most children go without due to financial restraints. Autism Care Today fills a necessary gap by providing assistance for these children today to ensure they have a better tomorrow.

Since 2005, Autism Care Today has distributed more than $1.85 Million in grants of up to $5,000 to more than 1,562 families with autism. As our organization has grown, so has our ability to provide assistance. In 2011, Autism Care Today began distributing grants quarterly. Autism Care Today’s Quarterly Assistance Program provides families with real help by directly paying their child’s service provider for services they would otherwise not be able to afford. Areas of support include but are not limited to: Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy, speech and occupational therapy, bio-medical testing, supplements, assistive technologies (i.e.- iPad, communication apps), safety equipment (such as safety fencing, GPS tracking devices and autism service dogs), social skills groups, special needs summer camps, and many more.

Autism Care Today grants are designed to provide access to individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. Grant payments will be made directly to pre-approved treatment providers, assessors or materials vendors.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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