Spectrum Designs Gala Raises Autism Awareness


On March 17, more than 150 people attended Spectrum Designs Foundation’s 3rd Annual Casino Night at H on the Harbor. The event raised more than $70,000 for local young adults with autism.

Alexandra Bowman, a volunteer at the gala

“We are very humbled by the success of this event,” said Nicole Sugrue, executive director of Spectrum Designs. “It is the result of the generosity of local people who truly believe in our mission and our innovative approach to responding to this very significant problem that exists for people with autism. We are developing real businesses that are specifically engineered to create successful, integrated work settings for people living with autism.”

The highlight of the evening was a tribute to the late Dr. Robert Margolis. Sugrue expressed her heartfelt gratitude to his family—the Margolis and Fryer families—who established the Dr. Robert Margolis Memorial Fund to benefit the mission of Spectrum Designs Foundation. Within the past two years this fund raised more than $35,000.

“The Margolis family established this fund to leave a lasting legacy in their father’s name. Their friends, family and colleagues generously give as a tribute to Dr. Margolis and in turn assist young people with autism, like his grandson Andy, to have daily opportunities for productivity and purpose,” said Sugrue.

Spectrum Designs is a unique nonprofit organization that trains and employs young adults affected with autism. Through its customized apparel decorating business, Spectrum has been helping individuals with autism lead meaningful lives through productive work.Spectrum033016D Spectrum033016E Spectrum033016F Spectrum033016I Spectrum033016J Spectrum033016K

The proceeds from this event will support Spectrum Designs in securing a more permanent home in Port Washington to service more young adults with autism.

“The money raised will help Spectrum Designs’ Believe Campaign, with the goal of purchasing a permanent home for Spectrum Designs in Port Washington. Spectrum Designs is in desperate need of more space as it is currently at maximum capacity for production volume and employment opportunities in its current print shop,” said Patrick Bardsley, cofounder and president of the Spectrum Designs Foundation.

When asked if Spectrum Designs is considering leaving Port, Bardsley said, “We are staying in Port Washington. This is our home, the community has been so welcoming and we want to establish a permanent presence here. We are looking for 5,000 to 7,000 square feet. Current operating space is approximately 2,500 square feet, so we would be at least doubling what we have with the intent to continue to expand our business.”

Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism advocacy organization, has chosen Spectrum to make T-shirts for all Autism Speaks charity walks this year—over 56,000 of them. People with autism face 90 percent unemployment, so to support Spectrum Designs with a contract for their largest job ever is a monumental opportunity.

Bardsley said, “Apart from aggressively searching for a new home and launching a capital campaign to make this happen, Spectrum Designs recently became the first social enterprise of its kind to sign a major contract with Autism Speaks. We officially partnered with Autism Speaks to print their National Walk shirts for 2016. We’ll be printing more than 56,000 shirts for over 60 walks across all 50 states throughout 2016.”

Bardsley also is pleased with another partnership Spectrum Designs has developed.

“We have also formed a rewarding partnership with Northwell Health (formerly NSLIJ) to embroider lab and chef coats for the hospital system. Spectrum Grows (a new social enterprise under the Spectrum Designs umbrella) has established
a recurring order for microgreens and herbs for the hospital cafeteria.”

Bardsley looks forward to a bright future for Spectrum Designs in Port.

Bardsley said, “As always we are just so humbled by the continuous support we receive from the local community and further afield. We are only as good as the support around us. Our events serve the dual purpose of raising valuable funds for expansion but also marketing that Spectrum Designs is a social enterprise that can fulfill all your custom apparel and promotional item needs.”

For more information about Spec­trum Designs, go to www.spectrum designs.org. Spectrum is located at 382 Main St.