Commonwealth Autism
4108 E. Parham Rd.
Richmond VA 23228
Mission Statement
Commonwealth Autism's mission is to build the capacity of the autism and developmental disability service provider network through leadership, innovation, example, and collaboration.
Web and Social Media

CEO/Executive Director John A. Toscano MSW, MBA
Board Chair Doug Garrou Esq.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Hunton & Williams
Contact Information
Address 4108 E. Parham Rd.
Richmond, VA 23228
Telephone 804 355-0300
Fax 804 355 0932
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1999
Former Names
Commonwealth Autism Service2014
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $3,788,281.00
Projected Expenses $3,756,715.00
Commonwealth Autism's mission is to build the capacity of the autism and developmental disability service provider network through leadership, innovation, example, and collaboration.

Accomplishments for FY 17:

  1. Launched an online Learning Management System (LMS) (The Virtual Learning Institute) that allows for internal and external training opportunities. 
  2. Received accreditation from Code of Ethics for Behavioral Organizations (COEBO) and Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  3. Partnered with localities across the Commonwealth to host public safety community forums pertaining to autism in order to increase awareness and understanding of needs and opportunities.
  4. Partnered with a local private school (Good Shepherd Episcopal) to offer services to school-age children with autism in an inclusive setting through our Founders Center program.
  5. Was selected as Hub Leader for the Shared Service Alliance in the Richmond area. As Hub Leader, Commonwealth Autism will work with local preschool providers to maximize resources and service delivery. 

Goals for FY 18:

  1. Expand residential community supports via Richmond House so that more young adults with Autism live in the community.
  2. Pilot a mixed delivery services preschool model with community partners to explore sustainability for children with autism and children from low-income families.
  3. Continue to expand our impact with Community Services Boards.
  4. Continue to partner with localities across the Commonwealth to host public safety community forums pertaining to autism in order to increase awareness and understanding of needs and opportunities.


  • Financial support to offset the cost of the clinic for those families that cannot afford to pay (approximately $1200 per clinic).
  • Scholarship support for families to attend annual conference (20 @ $250 = $5000)
  • Scholarship support for families who enroll their children or young adults in our Founders Center/Richmond House programs ($5K-10K per family)
Background 1995 - Commonwealth Autism Service was formed by a visionary group of parents of children with autism who recognized  significant service gaps in Virginia for people with autism. Autism had no home within state government responsible for services to individuals with autism.
1996 -  These parents approached the General Assembly for a state appropriation to begin the tasks that support our mission.  The Autism Program of Virginia (TAP-VA), as the organization was initially known, was under the umbrella of the ARC of Virginia.
2001 -  The first CAS Autism Annual Conference was held in Richmond. Since then we have hosted conferences every year that highlight the most current topics related to autism, targeted to families, educators, and service providers across the state.
2004 -  In January 2004, the organization changed its name to Commonwealth Autism Service to better reflect its mission to provide leadership in the implementation of a statewide system of services to maximize the potential and quality of life of each Virginian with autism across the lifespan.
2007 -  CAS published an autism specific Transition Helpbook, and in 2009 completed work on an adult service handbook. In 2009 CAS received a grant from Autism Speaks to expand the reach of these efforts to families across the Commonwealth.
 2008 - The CAS Partnership for Capacity Development in Schools© was established. Our Partnership for Capacity Development in Schools is unlike traditional consultative and didactic training models in that our staff members are deployed and embedded directly into the service provider's environment. This model addresses physical environment, educational programming, behavioral programming, transition planning, instructional personnel and  staff development, and a team approach and systems support.
2009 -  The Learning Institute© was launched in the fall of 2009.  It is designed to provide professional development opportunities for BCBAs® and other professionals working in the area of autism. It also conducts  research centered on our partnerships with public schools on the efficacy of our interventions. CEUs are available for various professions. CAS is a BACB® Approved Continuing Education (ACE) provider.
2010 - CAS partnered with UMFS' Charterhouse School and GRasp to create an 8-week Summer Program for Students with Asperger's to learn independent living skills, social skills, and vocational skills to transition them into post-secondary education.
Over the years CAS has provided training to law enforcement through our Autism Action Groups©.  We have increased our role by working with law enforcement, parents, and Project Lifesaver  to get the Dept. of Criminal Justice Services to approve a mandated training curriculum. This module consists of establishing a core group of trainers to train others, and has been expanded to include Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Judges, Attorneys and Magistrates, School Resource Officers, Parents, and Court Security Officers.
2011 -  The Developmental Disorders Clinic began in 1998 as a joint venture of Commonwealth Autism Service and the Department of Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University. The Clinic moved to the campus of our partner UMFS in a prescriptively redesigned site to become a free-standing program of Commonwealth Autism Service. In 2011 the Clinic expanded to support a variety of pilot projects, i.e. assessment for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
We are beginning a diagnostic clinic for toddlers to investigate the use of the newly developed ADOS Module T.  Additionally, several of our school partnerships have adopted our transdiciplinary approach to  assessment within their school teams and receive ongoing training and support.
2012 -- Took over operation of The Dominion School, a private day program for children ages 2-21 years in Richmond, VA. In 2014, the program's name was changed to "The Founders Center". This ABA-based program offers a unique model of autism treatment and education that includes low staff to student ratios, intensive instruction, and inclusive opportunities in community programs as much as possible.
2016 -- Commonwealth Autism merged with Richmond House, a residential program that provides supports to adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. 
CEO Statement
Commonwealth Autism is indeed a unique organization. We are, at our heart, a systems change force, working at the nexus of systems issues and not on symptoms. Our mantra is planned obsolescence! We endeavor to find the most efficacious point of intervention, develop or support others to develop model services that can be replicated and sustained and adhere to a best practice standard. This is done in honor of our founders and the vision they formed: a statewide, seamless service delivery network to maximize the potential of each person with autism.
Unlike other service providers who serve those created by a broken system, we are focused on eliminating the need for us as a catalyst for change.
Board Chair Statement
As a parent of an young adult with autism, my passion has been and will always be raising awareness and support for the critical role that Commonwealth Autism provides in improving the lives of individuals with autism as well as the lives of their family members.  One of our services right here in Richmond is our unique early assessment clinic, which can determine if a child has autism.  An early diagnosis is critical to developing an intervention plan as early as possible and exponentially increase the odds of a child overcoming many of the challenges he or she will face.  Commonwealth Autism has been the leader within the state for over a decade in bringing about system change and providing services to school systems and professionals who have dedicated their careers to making a difference in individuals' lives.  Commonwealth Autism provides them the tools to do so.  I hope you will find us to be a worthy cause for your financial support. Our highly trained professional staff is making a difference each and every day!!
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Metro Richmond
While we are statewide, our early assessment clinic resides here in Richmond and supports primarily families in the Greater Richmond area. Our Founders Center and Richmond House programs are also serve the greater Richmond metro area. 
Board Chair
Board Chair Doug Garrou Esq.
Company Affiliation Hunton & Williams
Term July 2015 to June 2018
Board of Directors
Board Members
Harry Alferink Community Volunteer
Don Busick Capital One
Ronald David MDSt. Mary's Hospital
Nikia Dower Dower & Associates
Douglas Garrou Esq.Hunton & Williams
Rene Massey Sales Boost Companies
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 6
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 4
Female 2
Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 100
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 30
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Audit, Compliance and Controls
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
We have a strong and committed Board that have the requisite skills needed to provide governance to the organization. We are always looking to add strength as needed.
Executive Director
Executive Director John A. Toscano MSW, MBA
40+ total years in Human Services
17 years in higher education (Associate Professor)
National and International experience
Masters level degrees in Social Work (MSW) and Business Administration (MBA)
Former CEOs
Elizabeth Sarrett Jan 1998 - Dec 2000
Senior Staff
Nan Pemberton Vice President-Operational Support
Jessica Philips MA, BCBAVP & COO
Courtney Vaughan Vice President-Mission Initiatives
Full Time Staff 54
Part Time Staff 9
Volunteers 0
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 56
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Jan 2012
Management Succession Plan? Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Collaboration is a key strategy for the accomplishment of our mission. We actively collaborate with a large number of both public and private entities involved in the field of autism. Some examples are: DBHDS, VDOE, DRS, UMFS, VACSB, JSR-CC, GRASP, etc.
External Assessments and Accreditations
Better Business Bureau of Central VA - Accredited Charity2016
Full AccreditationStandards for Excellence Institute2017
AccreditationCode of Ethics for Behavioral Organizations (COEBO)2016
Our Transdisciplinary Diagnostic and Assessment Clinic offers a unique model. Children are assessed using the ADOS, as well as play-based assessments with an SLP and OT, and a parent interview. The clinic offers training opportunities for students and other practitioners as well. 
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5)
Budget $54,000.00
Autism Action Groups are developed to help maximize value-added autism services by bringing together various organizations, schools, parents, local providers and others. The Autism Action Groups in Virginia consist of members from local communities who want to actively and collaboratively work toward developing quality services and resources for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in their communities. 
Population Served People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities
Budget $75,000.00

Commonwealth Autism has developed a unique service delivery model to help public and private service providers meet the needs of individuals with autism. In order to achieve large scale systems change, we know that organizations must not only build internal capacity but also sustain it. Our Partnership for Capacity Development© model deploys and embeds our staff (typically BCBAs) directly into the service provider's environment.

The Partnership for Capacity Development© model uses a strategic planning process which involves frequent and intense collaboration with key stakeholders. Each step of the process is tailored to meet the unique needs of our partners.

Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Our Information and Resource Service offers those who may not know where to begin or where to turn when faced with the challenges of autism.

I&R staff help identify local resources to meet your current and/or future needs. If services are not readily accessible in your area, we will try to help you locate alternative resources.

Population Served Adults
Budget $40,000.00
According to the recently published Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (6/09) autism study, individuals with an autism spectrum disorder are more likely to have encounters with public safety personnel than the general public. The study also states that very few public safety personnel have had training specific to autism spectrum disorders. Commonwealth Autism is the leading source for autism-specific training for law enforcement personnel, firefighters, emergency management services personnel, and judicial personnel. Through this initiative, safety awareness training is provided to self-advocates, family members and caregivers.
Population Served General/Unspecified
Budget $50,000.00
Description The Founders Center offers private day programs for children with autism ages 2-21 years. Our model uses intensive teaching that incorporates Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). For more information about our programs, visit
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Budget $1,500,000.00
Short Term Success he
Description Commonwealth Autism launched The Learning Institute in 2009 to provide quality professional development to all service providers and professionals working in the area of autism.  We offer an annual conference, RBT training, custom training for groups, and BCBA supervision 
Population Served People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities
Description Richmond House provides residential support for adults with autism, ages 18+ as well as skills training for adults with autism who either live at the facility or in the community. 
Population Served Adults
CEO/ED/Board Comments
We offer within our ability a number of services that do not have a discrete funding mechanism. These are critical to meeting our mission and should actually be expanded.  However, it is an ongoing challenge to provide the needed fiscal support. 
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $3,788,281.00
Projected Expenses $3,756,715.00
Spending Policy N/A
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$944,534$940,225$0
Individual Contributions$6,034$5,342$6,334
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2,377$2,727$3,434
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$2,140,191$2,131,175$2,012,314
Administration Expense$412,205$410,470$387,577
Fundraising Expense$14,622----
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.111.081.09
Program Expense/Total Expenses83%84%84%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue2%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$1,875,888$1,718,908$1,545,012
Current Assets$1,148,203$1,038,094$1,511,477
Long-Term Liabilities$47,602$170,718--
Current Liabilities$167,486$187,910$316,674
Total Net Assets$1,660,800$1,360,280$1,228,338
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities6.865.524.77
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets3%10%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Goal $0.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 11/2016View
Solicitations Permit 2017View
Foundation Comments
  • Financial information provided from audited financial statements and IRS 990s.
  • Audited financial statements and IRS 990s prepared by Larry Saunders & Associates.