Autism Speaks, Autism Speaks Canada and SickKids announce Wise Family Foundation’s commitment of $3.5M to support autism research

TORONTO, March 30, 2021 –  Wise Family Foundation of Toronto, Canada has made a $3.5M commitment to support the Autism Speaks science program led by Dr. Steven Scherer at The Hospital of Sick Children (SickKids).  This generous commitment will specifically support the $12M+ expansion of the MSSNG platform to include not only whole genome sequence data but also innovative biological and clinical measures from autistic individuals and their families. This expanded effort will advance our ability to:

  • increase early detection of autism risk through whole genome sequencing as part of first-line medical evaluation for autism
  • identify autism sub-groups using specific biological processes and corresponding clinical and behavioral measurements to derive these multiple autisms
  • inform autism treatment protocols where a person’s personal genomic and biological data may indicate a recommended adjustment to their healthcare regime.

Autism Speaks Canada is grateful for the longstanding support of Wise Family Foundation. Since 2007, Steven Wise and Susan Zikman Wise have donated more than $8.6M to enhance lives and build a spectrum of solutions for autistic individuals and their families.

“In the last 15 years, Steven Wise and Susan Zikman Wise’s contributions to Autism Speaks Canada have been invaluable.  They are an integral part of the growth and impact of this organization and we are deeply indebted to their generosity and leadership.” says Jill Farber, Executive Director, Autism Speaks Canada “This transformational gift to research will further lead the way to precision medicine and personalized healthcare, directly improving the lives of autistic Canadians.” “We are very grateful for all of the dedicated work and tremendous financial commitment that the Wise Family Foundation have contributed to autism research and support in Canada,” says Ted Garrard, Chief Executive Officer, SickKids Foundation. “Thanks to their generosity, and in partnership with Autism Speaks, we will advance our ability to provide innovative precision medicine and personalized healthcare to enhance the lives of autistic individuals and their families, both now and in the future.”

In 2014, Steven Wise and Susan Zikman Wise were one of the first Canadians to commit $2M to the MSSNG project. MSSNG is a groundbreaking collaboration between Autism Speaks, Autism Speaks Canada, Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences), DNAStack, SickKids and the research community to create the world’s largest genomic database on autism. The project has led to better diagnostics, as well as more personalized and accurate treatments for autism. The success of MSSNG has resulted in an expansion of the project which seeks to bring an unprecedented level of research expertise together to understand the complex causes of autism and identify potential treatments which will help them transition to adulthood.

Explore Wise Family Foundation’s transformational contribution to Autism Speaks, Autism Speaks Canada, SickKids and so many other worthy causes by visiting their website:
About Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks Canada

Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks Canada is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families by supporting and working with community partners; enhancing resources and services; increasing understanding, acceptance, and inclusion of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.
About The Hospital for Sick Children & SickKids Foundation

Established in 1972, SickKids Foundation raises funds on behalf of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and is the largest charitable funder of child health research, learning and care in Canada. Philanthropy is a critical source of funding for SickKids – one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions. Thanks to the generosity of the community, and as a result of a record-breaking year in fundraising, SickKids Foundation generated an unprecedented $190 million for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020. For more information, please visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *