My Milestones – 2018 Benefit Honoree Marvin Lader

2018 Milestones Benefit Honoree, Marvin Lader, has been supporting Milestones ever since the organization’s founding in 2003. The support came after his grandson was diagnosed with autism and his family began seeking help.

“When something touches your family like this, you’re touched by their journey and want to help,” said Lader. “Our grandson was diagnosed early with a great outcome and that is because of knowing where to go. We also have another relative with autism with very different issues.”

With a very personal connection to Milestones mission, the Lader family has dedicated their time, effort and resources to creating opportunities for others facing the life-long challenges of autism.  Marv’s wife, Carol, became a founding board member of Milestones in 2003. Marvin generously shared his experience as a volunteer leader to help Milestones develop new programs and ensure a successful future for the organization.

How did you first become involved with Milestones?
We have a family connection – that is what first got us interested. Our family was researching and looking for help on how to deal with autism. Milestones answered some of the most difficult questions we had when we were looking for help. We are heartened to see how it has grown and embraced elements of the whole spectrum, and become accepted in the community… We are very impressed by the leadership and the community involvement of Milestones. Something like this can really thrive here in Cleveland with sparkplugs like [co-founders] Ilana and Mia.

How you do you envision your relationship with Milestones evolving as the organization continues to grow?
I’d like to see the growth of the Endowment Fund. We are all here to support the needs now but I want to find a way to financially support it once we are gone.

What is the most important thing you’d like a friend, relative, or neighbor to know about Milestones?
There have been a lot of organizations that work with individuals with autism, but Milestones was the first place to address the issue of sharing information with professionals who were faced with a dilemma. There weren’t places to go. Milestones was also the first forum to educate the parents as well as educate the teachers about what this is and where they could go for resources. The conference started with 400 people, and now it’s over 1,000, so it shows there is a growing need.

What advice would you give to others looking for ways to support the autism community here in Cleveland?
The one thing everyone should do is learn more about this community and this organization. Find ways to be personally involved. For those people who want to financially support something, you need to learn about it. Sit down with leadership to educate yourself about the opportunities for expansion. It makes life very rich to be involved in this way.

The one thing that I realized is that when you are doing this kind of thing, the people who become your dear friends are the people who really care about things besides themselves. I’m 83 and every time I feel like I am generous, I meet someone more philanthropic and it is inspiring.

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Lader will be honored Saturday, October 27 at The Silver Grille at The Higbee Building alongside Steven Wexberg, MD and Phillip Irvin. Contributions from the fundraiser will support Milestones’ free autism Helpdesk, a service which connects families to local, vetted resources and trusted recommendations. This year’s event will include a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres hour with an open bar and live music, followed by dinner and a live auction. RSVP for the event is encouraged by October 12.

To purchase tickets or to receive more information about sponsorship and advertising opportunities, please click here or call 216-464-7600.


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