We are hiring!
Click here to view our open positions.

Press Releases

$2.5M Will Improve Lives of Young Adults with Autism

Proceeds of Ford GT Auction Will Expand Autism Society of North Carolina’s IGNITE Program



Jan. 22, 2018

Raleigh, NC – A 2017 Ford GT that was donated by businessman Ron Pratte to the Evernham Family – Racing for a Reason Foundation sold for $2.5 million at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, AZ, on Jan. 20, with 100% of the funds going to support young adults on the autism spectrum. The auction’s hammer price of $2.5 million was reached after several minutes of competing bids and pushed Barrett-Jackson over the $100 million mark in total charity auction donations.

“This is a game-changer for the IGNITE program,” said Ray Evernham, a newly inducted NASCAR Hall of Fame member and founder, with the Autism Society of North Carolina, of IGNITE, a unique “peer-to-peer” program in Davidson, NC, for young adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.

The $2.5 million donation will enable the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) to open a new location of IGNITE, which offers activities, skills training, and educational workshops that foster social, financial, educational, and employment independence for members. More importantly, IGNITE offers a social environment where members can connect with others and experience a sense of community.

“The model has worked,” said Evernham, also an ASNC board member. “Members have overcome anxiety, gained confidence, completed degrees, received job training and found employment, and learned to live independently. I can’t thank Ron Pratte, Barrett-Jackson, and Ford Motor Company enough. This incredible gift will enable us to expand and help many more young adults on the autism spectrum for years to come.”

Tracey Sheriff, CEO of ASNC, said, “There are about half a million children on the autism spectrum in the United States who will become young adults and lose support services in the next decade. We are thrilled that Mr. Pratte chose to support our organization and the IGNITE program. His gift provides the resources needed to add an IGNITE location and help more young adults with autism. We are excited and ready to get to work.”

People who wish to contribute to the expansion of IGNITE may do so at www.autismsociety-nc.org/FordGT.



For more information about IGNITE, visit www.autismsociety-nc.org/IGNITE.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. One in 59 8-year-old schoolchildren in NC may be diagnosed with autism, according to a prevalence study by the CDC.

For nearly 50 years, the Autism Society of North Carolina has improved the lives of individuals with autism, supported their families, and educated communities. For more information, visit www.autismsociety-nc.org.


Media Contact:

David Laxton, Director of Communications


919-865-5063 (office)

919-599-7257 (mobile)