Our Charity Partners
A Race Where Everybody Wins
On November 29, 2023 the staff and residents of Merakey Allegheny Valley School appear with the check that was the result of this year’s Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Our mission is to produce a world-class vintage automotive event to raise funds to help provide residential care, treatment and support for individuals with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities in the western PA region. Because of the generous support and contributions from our sponsors and attendees, and the dedication of our volunteers, we have been fortunate enough to donate $6,754,000 to Autism – Pittsburgh and Merakey Allegheny Valley School.
The PVGP makes a difference in the lives of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities supported by Merakey Allegheny Valley School in Western PA. Projects of the PVGP – including program development, facility renovations, and equipment – help individuals to become more independent and fulfill their potential.
At the November 29 Charity Check Presentation Merakey Allegheny Valley School, Senior Regional Executive Director Roni Erath shared, “We are incredibly grateful to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix community for its year-long commitment and salute your efforts to this world-class event. Your energy helps to focus attention on Pittsburgh and provides supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and autism.
Because of your efforts, you help the people we support to lead full and productive lives. Each year, the Merakey AVS ambassadors and their friends – and our family and staff members – actively volunteer and participate in PVGPA events.
The PVGPA’s donation to Merakey Allegheny Valley School improves the lives of the people we support, enhances our programs and facilities, and brings greater awareness of who we are and what we do to hundreds of thousands of people.
Recent support from the PVGP has made it possible to install automatic accessible doors, sprinkler and security systems, flooring and more in Western PA. Making these improvements provides greater accessibility and independence in individual homes and on large campuses.
We are grateful for the PVGPA’s generosity and commitment to Merakey AVS, and we look forward to continuing our partnership for many years to come!”
Autism Pittsburgh addresses the needs of individuals with autism in 14 counties in Western Pennsylvania through a comprehensive array of information, advocacy and referral services, provided to their families and the caring professionals and service providers who work with them. This includes creating, developing and improving programs and approaches in diagnosis, treatment, education, training and social adjustment.
Autism is a neurological disorder that impairs behavior and communication; often tragically. More than 42,000 families in Western Pennsylvania have individuals with this disability-over 18,000 alone in Allegheny county. The CDC indicated a national rate of 1 in 44 births are children with autism. Their families are often overwhelmed by the enormous task of discerning and providing for their complex needs.
Jesse Torisky, CEO of Autism-Pittsburgh, stated “Our office is proud to express our gratitude for the hard work and dedication of so many people who work to make the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix a top-level fundraising event. This enables us to continue to serve the autism community in fifteen counties here in Western Pennsylvania, such as our first responder and judicial autism training, our extended school year and autism service dog programs, our information and referral services, and our Azure autism concert series.”
Starting in 2005 the PVGP selected ambassadors from each of our charities. Anita represented the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Brandon represented Merakey Allegheny Valley School. Over the years Anita and Brandon have become part of the Grand Prix family. they even got to meet NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon when he attend the PVGP in 2007! They both make appearances throughout the year at Grand Prix events, attend the Blacktie Gala, visit the race track at Pittsburgh International Race Complex and ride in the Opening Ceremony Parade at Schenley Park.
The PVGP Ambassador Program has been such a great success that after 10 years we decided to expand it and add even more ambassadors from each charity. Each person represents the impact that our event and charities have on our community. Thousands of lives have been dramatically improved through the educational and residential programs that the Autism-Pittsburgh and Merakey AVS provide. Our ambassadors help to put a face on the charities and let the public see that their donations and efforts have a real and lasting effect.
The community’s support of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is incredibly important and helps to make a difference in the lives of so many in western Pennsylvania. Learn about the many ways to contribute to the PVGP and its charity partners.