February 1, 2024

The New England Center for Children (NECC), a global leader in education and research for children with autism, has announced that BJ’s Wholesale Club will serve as the presenting sponsor of the 18th Annual NECC 5K Walk/Run for Autism. The NECC 5K Walk/Run for Autism presented by BJ’S Wholesale Club will take place on Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m. at the Margaret A. Neary School in Southborough. Scott Schmadeke, senior vice president of operations for BJ’s, and Chris DeSantis, senior vice president of merchandising, will serve as the 2024 Corporate Co-Chairs for the event.

This professionally timed race is a signature fundraiser supporting NECC’s mission to create a global network of educators, researchers, and programs so that those living with autism may live fuller lives. All funds raised through this community event benefit NECC’s programs and services beyond what tuition covers including vocational opportunities, student outings, specialized equipment and technology, research, and professional development. 

“BJ’s Wholesale Club has been an incredible supporter of NECC over the years, and we are thrilled to have them as the sponsor of this flagship fundraising event,” said Jared Bouzan, MEd, NECC’s chief development officer. “The NECC 5K Walk/Run for Autism has become a beloved tradition among NECC students, staff, and families as well as for our supporters and residents of the town of Southborough and surrounding communities. It is always a wonderful day celebrating the NECC mission and we could not do it without the help of incredible partners like BJ’s. We look forward to making this year’s event the biggest and best one yet!”

BJ’s Wholesale Club has been a longtime supporter of NECC in a variety of ways, including event sponsorships, donating supplies, and most recently, as NECC’s newest vocational partner. NECC’s Vocational Program allows students aged 14 and older to work up to four hours a week either in the community or within the school through NECC’s Career Development Center. These vocational opportunities are crucial in helping students develop the skills they need to be productive members of society once they graduate from NECC.

“BJ’s has a strong purpose to take care of the families who depend on us and we’re proud to support NECC through this incredible event,” said Schmadeke. “The education and research that NECC provides individuals with autism is so important for families not only at the school in Southborough, but across the globe.”

As Corporate Co-Chairs of the NECC 5K Walk/Run for Autism presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club, DeSantis and Schmadeke, who also serves on NECC’s President’s Council, will help engage corporate support for the event.

With over 240 locations in 20 states, BJ’s Wholesale Club offers unmatched value on everyday essentials such as fresh foods, produce, household items and home décor as well as convenient shopping options and exclusive membership perks such as gas, optical and travel.

BJ’s Wholesale Club is committed to making a positive difference in the communities where it operates. Through local and national charitable partnerships, BJ’s helps local families access essential needs, particularly hunger relief, education, and health and wellness.

The Annual NECC 5K Walk/Run for Autism presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club will take place rain or shine. On-site registration begins at 9 a.m., with a start time of 10 a.m. Registration is $25 per person and includes a race T-shirt and timing number. Following the race, participants will enjoy a cookout lunch.

For more information, visit www.necc.org/5K.