December 1, 2022

The New England Center for Children® (NECC®), a global leader in autism education and research, announced a newly-established endowment fund in honor of its founder and CEO, Vinnie Strully. The L. Vincent Strully, Jr. Endowment Fund for The New England Center for Children will ensure that NECC recruits and trains the best staff to serve children with autism, both at NECC and throughout the world. The fund, which was announced at the 2022 Children of Promise Gala on November 11, has secured $15 million in commitments upon which to build over the next few years.

“To realize our vision of a world where autism is not a barrier to growth, independence, and happiness, NECC must have financial reserves to support the comprehensive and complex service model that has fueled our success for more than four decades,” said Strully. “Our mission is to create a global network of educators, researchers, and programs so that those living with autism may live fuller lives. We reached this point because our staff have supported our work since 1975. I’m grateful to each of them for their service to our students, every shift, every day.”    

A Namesake of Innovation in Autism Education

As a young man, Strully recognized that there must be a better way to help children with autism and their families. In 1975, he and his colleagues embarked upon this challenge, establishing the first program — which would become The New England Center for Children — with $30,000 in start-up funds at the Taunton State Hospital. Nearly 50 years later, that ambitious project has evolved into an internationally recognized leader in autism education, research, and professional development.

Strully has been the steadfast leader of NECC for nearly five decades. He will soon step down as the organization’s CEO, but his legacy as founder will live forever in the programs and buildings he has built to help children with autism reach their potential.

The L. Vincent Strully, Jr. Endowment Fund for The New England Center for Children has been established to honor Vinnie’s accomplishments and to ensure his work and vision continue for generations to come. The fund will address four areas:

  • Provide support to supplement salary and benefits to better compensate teaching staff. Direct-care salaries are dictated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • Grow and support diversity, equity, and inclusion programs to help attract and retain a more diverse staff.
  • Expand and support the NECC internship program to help improve staff recruitment.
  • Underwrite research opportunities to ensure NECC remains on the cutting edge of improving the lives of children with autism.

“The establishment of the L. Vincent Strully, Jr. Endowment Fund ensures that NECC will continue to have a transformative impact far into the future,” said John Y, Kim, Chairman of the Board of Directors of NECC. “The care and compassion that NECC teachers, clinicians, specialists, and administrators have for children they serve is beyond admirable.  I hope everyone will join us in creating a better tomorrow for children with autism and autism educators all over the world.”

To learn more or to donate to the L. Vincent Strully, Jr. Endowment Fund for The New England Center for Children, please visit