Autism Inspired Academy Receives Financing From Florida Community Loan Fund

teacher with student

WEST REGION
$3.5 MILLION FCLF FINANCING
Acquisition loan
Private school serving special needs students

“Florida Community Loan Fund provided a financing opportunity allowing AIA to expand and continue to meet the needs of the children and families impacted by autism. The process was efficient and thorough, which is truly a testament to their mission of helping organizations improve lives in the community.” – Elizabeth Russell, Director / Co-founder, Autism Inspired Academy

Autism Inspired Academy was founded in 2018 to fill the void in traditional public schools of specialized services for students with autism. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to empower children with autism to live lives of meaning, purpose, and joy.

A market study showed there are over 4,000 children with autism in Pinellas County, and that population is expected to continue to increase. Based on this need, the organization began with a camp operated only during school breaks, and after three years successfully expanded and inaugurated the Autism Inspired Academy private school.

The school began with 28 students and has consistently exceeded its enrollment goals, serving 80 students ages 5-17 in the 2023-24 school year, with a waitlist. The student population is 100% special needs, and parents are eligible for tuition payment through the Florida School Choice program – a program that mandates high standards for classroom teachers. Autism Inspired Academy meets the needs of students at varying developmental and educational levels, with classes based around academic abilities as well as social abilities and behavioral support needed. Student-to-teacher ratios are 3:1 in the lower grades and 5:1 starting in grade 6.

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