The 2016 AutismUp Opportunity Awards

Join us to celebrate the special individuals and organizations that create opportunities for those with autism in our community.



Jason “J Mac” McElwain & Coach Jim Johnson on the 10th Anniversary of the Game of Their Lives

Presenting awards to the following community MVP’s:
Champion – Volunteer – Professional Employer – Awareness
recognizing the first ever recipient of the StandUp for AutismUp Scholarship Award in honor of Jason “JMac” McElwain

Legendary broadcaster Roy Firestone

Purchase Tickets and Sponsorships

Download the sponsorship form

brochure                              TICKETS ON SALE NOW AT WEGMANS!ThatsTheTicket_4c

jmacAutismUp is pleased to  celebrate the valuable “players” in our community supporting Team AutismUp. The honorees provide support, opportunity, and successful outcomes for people living with autism.

The awards are born out of the spirit of the opportunity given to Jason McElwain, a Greece Athena High School senior, four year varsity basketball team manager and individual with autism one February night in 2006 by his coach, Jim Johnson.  In his first appearance in uniform, at the final home game of the season, JMac was hotter than a pistol – scoring an unbelievable 20 points, with six three-point shots, one two-pointer, all in the final 4 minutes and 19 seconds!  A miracle, perhaps, but the fact is that many years of acceptance, inclusion and support led to that great opportunity insuring JMac’s success.  Following his rise to fame, JMac wrote a book chronicling his rise to fame called The Game of My Life.

coachCoach Jim Johnson has over 30 years developing winning high school basketball teams, including 407 career victories. 2016 marks his final season and retirement as a coach. He plans to help support the efforts of AutismUp by raising awareness for autism and expanding opportunities in the Greater Rochester area to help the estimated 10,000 diagnosed with ASD. He shares his life changing message about the power of the human spirit in his book entitled, Dreams Really Do Come True! and reminds us of the magic of passion, perseverance, and the power of teamwork in his motivational speaking engagements. Coach hopes to inspire everyone to make contributions in their lives and appreciate the difference they can make towards the lives of others.


royFirestoneThe Performer

Critically acclaimed as a performer, monologist, humorist, musician and impressionist, Roy Firestone is one of the nation’s most sought after live corporate performers, keynote speakers and lecturers. Firestone has performed in more than two thousand venues spanning two decades.  He recently shared the stage with performers Josh Groban, Reba McEntire, David Foster, Forrest Whitaker and Jon Bon Jovi. As an actor, Firestone was featured in the Academy Award-winning film, Jerry Maguire, where he played himself in an unforgettable (and often repeated) scene with Academy Award-winner Cuba Gooding Jr.   His numerous television credits include Everybody Loves Raymond and Married with Children.  Fans of The Simpsons remember him as the voice of ‘Bart Starr.’ No stranger to talk shows, Firestone’s appearances include Late Night with David Letterman, Later with Bob Costas, Larry King Live and The Tonight Show. Firestone is also an accomplished musical vocalist.  He recently released his first CD, Another Voice, produced and backed by Grammy Award-winning fusion band, Hiroshima.

The Broadcaster

Roy Firestone is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning and seven-time cable ACE Award-winning host, interviewer, narrator, writer, and producer.  As the ground-breaking, original host of ESPN’s legendary Up Close, Up Close Classic and Up Close Primetime, Firestone has interviewed more than 5,000 athletes, musicians, actors and political figures, as well as scores of writers and filmmakers. Sports Illustrated calls Firestone “The best interviewer in the business.”  The late Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Jim Murray once said, “Roy Firestone isn’t just the best sports interviewer I’ve ever seen, he’s the best interviewer period. That includes, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, any and all of them.” Firestone currently hosts Up Close Classic, which is broadcast on ESPN daily.  Other shows hosted by Firestone include: HDNet’s Face to Face with Roy Firestone and AOL’s Time Out…with Roy Firestone. Not limited to television, Firestone is also prolific on the printed page — as the author of two best-selling books, Up Close with Roy Firestone, and most recently, Don’t Make Me Cry, Roy.

Become an Opportunity Awards Sponsor

VISIONARY SPONSOR | $15,000 | Single Sponsorship – SOLD
Event presented by your business • Prominent name/logo placement on promotional materials, including invitation (with commitment by 12/1) • Complimentary motivational speaking engagement for your company by Coach Jim Johnson • Prominent name/logo placement on event day signage • Verbal podium recognition • Video recognition • Full page, color ad in the event book • Ad in AutismUp “The Breeze” e-newsletter • Logo and company link on the event webpage • Recognition on social media • Logo table signage • Two (2) reserved tables of ten (10), prominent seating • Twenty (20) tickets to the VIP reception

Prominent logo placement on event day signage • Verbal podium recognition • Video recognition • Full page, black & white ad in the event book • Logo and company link on the event webpage • Recognition on social media • Logo table signage • Two (2) reserved tables of ten (10), prominent seating • Twenty (20) tickets to the VIP reception

Prominent logo placement on event day signage • Video recognition • Half page, black & white ad in the event book • Logo and company link on the event webpage • Recognition on social media • Logo table signage • One (1) reserved table of ten (10), priority seating • Ten (10) tickets to the VIP reception

Company name on event day signage • Video recognition Quarter page, black & white ad in the event book • Table signage l One (1) reserved table of ten (10), preferred seating • Ten (10) tickets to the VIP reception

Table signage • One (1) reserved table for ten (10) lunch guests

Two (2) seats for lunch and two (2) VIP reception tickets

BOOSTER | $100
Name listed as a booster in the event program • Includes one (1) seat for a three course lunch and presentation

FAN | $60
One (1) seat for a three course lunch and presentation

Underwriting Opportunities:
VIP Reception: $5,000
Invitations: $3,500
Programs: $2,500 | Single Sponsorship – SOLD.  Thank you!
Photography: $2,500
Event Signage: $1,000

Download the Opportunity Awards Brochure for details and Sponsorship Form


The Opportunity Awards committee thanks you for your support! 

Beth Ciardi, Frank Citro, Greg Duffy, Fred Garwood, Kate Holgate, Gene Johnson, Jim Johnson, Tom Johnson, Gary Kleiman, Jason MacElwain, Lisa Ponticello, Dave Rice, Pete Sarratori, Bill Selke, Kevin Sheehan, Bob Steinle, Cheryl Tisa, Joseph Wilson

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About AutismUp

AutismUp, is the leading 501(c)3 autism support organization in Rochester, New York and the surrounding areas.  Founded in 2004, by a small group of parents of children with ASD, AutismUp has grown to include more than 2,000 family and professional member households.  AutismUp is dedicated to supporting individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and their families, by expanding and enhancing opportunities to improve quality of life.  AutismUp is embarking on a bold new destiny in 2016 that includes expanded program and support opportunities for individuals with autism across the lifespan and a new home – a state of the art multi-sensory learning environment. Our vision is a centerpiece for the autism community to learn and grow, getting their many needs met in one place with the goal of being successful within the local community.  To learn more about AutismUp use the top menu bar to explore our website.