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The Autism Community in Action (TACA)

 2222 Martin, Suite 140
 Irvine, CA 92612
[P] (949) 640-4401 x 104
[F] (949) 640-4424
[email protected]
Carolyn Baker
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA TACA
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Employer Identification Number 27-0048002 00000


Mission StatementMORE »

The Autism Community in Action (TACA), formerly Talk About Curing Autism is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to provide education, support and hope to families living with autism. 

Mission Statement

The Autism Community in Action (TACA), formerly Talk About Curing Autism is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to provide education, support and hope to families living with autism. 

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2019
Projected Expenses $2,396,072.00
Projected Revenue $2,508,500.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Parent Education & Outreach
  • Parent Mentor Program
  • Family Scholarship Program
  • Autism Community Events

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

The Autism Community in Action (TACA), formerly Talk About Curing Autism is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to provide education, support and hope to families living with autism. 

Background Statement

TACA was founded in Huntington Beach, CA in 2000. Since inception TACA continues to provide support services to California families. In 2007 through our National Initiative, TACA expanded services to 32 chapters in 27 different states throughout the United States.


Impact Statement

Improved behaviors and learning, symptom reduction, hope and even recovery is possible for children affected by autism. TACA plays a vital role in helping families access appropriate resources, education, and assistance in a timely manner so that they can begin to positively impact long-term health, well-being and quality of life for their children diagnosed with autism. 

TACA holds parent meetings that support and educate families affected by autism on a variety topics, and bring together experienced and new parents to learn and discuss best practices, as well as share stories about their children’s hurdles and triumphs. In 2017, 551 parent meetings were held with over 5,300 attendees.

In 2017, TACA held 2 National TACA Autism Conferences across that focus on autism related topics like advocacy, medical issues, therapies and feature special guest speakers from around the United States. 

Autism Journey Guides are comprehensive guidebooks that provide parents with a roadmap to helping their child on their way to recovery, giving up-to-date information on scientifically proven therapies and overviews of best practices to follow after diagnosis and throughout the autism journey. More than 2,400 free Autism Journey Guide books were distributed in 2017 alone.

TACA’s Parent Mentor Program matches trained volunteer parents, involved for a minimum of two years, with newly diagnosed parents/caregivers to provide on-to-one support. In 2017, TACA made 616 matches to parents needing support.

TACA believes it is important to provide information to every parent that has a child with autism. Parents are often unable to attend a meeting due to lack of childcare. To combat this challenge, TACA added free online resources and a Parent Support Webinar Series. Since its launch in 2013, over 5,000 individuals have received parent education via TACA webinars

Needs Statement

Autism is a devastating neurological and biological disorder that typically affects children between the ages in 18 months to five years of age. Autism affects each individual differently and at different levels of severity. Autism is a national emergency. Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 59 American children as on the autism spectrum–a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Autism is now more common in the United States than pediatric AIDS, juvenile diabetes, and childhood cancer combined.

TACA exists to provide education, empowerment and support to families affected by autism. Since 2012 requests for support by phone, email and live-chat in both English and Spanish increased 140%. In 2017 alone, nearly 5,000 new families joined TACA.

The ever-growing demand has placed TACA in a position of greater financial need. Support from the community needs to expand at the same rate so that we can continue to meet the needs of families affected by autism and build the necessary infrastructure to ensure the effective delivery of programs and services. Donations received enable TACA to provide 95% of services at no cost to families.

CEO Statement

Our goal at TACA is to provide education, support, information and a community to the 1 in 59 children and their families affected by autism. Everyone is a part of our community and we need your help. TACA believes in early diagnosis, intensive therapies and medical intervention. With early intervention, medical treatment unique to each person’s needs and necessary support services for families many children can improve greatly and some can recover from their autistic symptoms. We believe the future is not defined for many children affected by autism.


Board Chair Statement


Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

Waysto help Talk About Curing Autism (TACA):Make a 100% tax deductible donation Jointhe Family & Friends CampaignHaveyour business participate in the Hearts for Hope CampaignParticipatein the Jeans Day for Autism CampaignJoinTACA’s Vendor Affiliation Marketing ProgramJoinus in events across the country and StayFit & Run for TACAParticipatein the numerous events that TACA hosts across the countryGetinvolved in Autism Action MonthStartan Autism Youth Ambassadors (AYA) Programin your High SchoolApplyto become a Parent MentorVolunteer; Administrative Support, General Support, Events and FundraisingCommittee and at Special Events

Geographic Area Served

Throughout the United States
Central Orange County
West Orange County
South Orange County
North Orange County
TACA is a national organization with 32 chapters in 27 states. Currently TACA has chapters located in the following states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Organization Categories

  1. Human Services - Family Services
  2. Diseases Disorders & Medical Disciplines - Autism
  3. Philanthropy,Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations -



Parent Education & Outreach

TACA chapters across the U.S. provide Meetings, Autism Learning Seminars, and Coffee Talks throughout the year. Our seminars feature educational speakers on important topics for ASD families. Our Meetings and Coffee Talks provide more settings where families can informally network, share resources and speak with seasoned parents.  In addition, TACA hosts two National Autism Conferences which features expert speakers from across the United States focusing on medical issues, therapy, advocacy and other autism-related topics.  Annually, the West Coast conference is held in Costa Mesa, California.  The East Coast conference is held in Atlanta, Georgia.  


Budget  $847,808.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Information & Referral
Population Served Adults Families People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Program Short-Term Success 
TACA’s Parent Support Program aims to provide families with a one-on-one phone consultation to help them develop a plan for next steps and a support plan for obtaining beneficial therapies, diet, education and treatment for their child. The Parent Support staff will answer specific questions the family has pertaining to their child with autism and help the family develop a support plan in accordance with the TACA Autism Journey Guide. After receiving one-on-one support, 70% of families will regularly attend TACA Education Meetings and/or join an online support group (collected through education events data and online list serve data).
Program Long-Term Success 

Ultimately, families who have received a services through our Parent Support Program will have increased knowledge regarding personal concerns for their child with autism in the areas of health and diet, education, biomedical treatment, community resources, and/or public benefits. This increased knowledge will lead to significantly increased health, reduced behavioral incidences and increased independence for their child(ren) diagnosed with autism. Ninety percent of families who receive services will report feeling more comfortable seeking therapy and other interventions, having greater knowledge of their community resources and/or gaining additional knowledge of TACA programs that will provide long-term support.

Program Success Monitored By 
Attendee records are collected at all TACA Education Events. This information is recorded in an electronic data management system. For each family, we have record of which events they have attended including Education Meetings, social events, and Chapter Meetings. Additionally, we keep updated records of families who have joined our online community TACA-USA. Finally, we keep records of families who have signed up with our Mentor Program and have been matched with a mentor after receiving parent support. These records will indicate whether the family has continued to seek guidance and support in the areas designated in the TACA Autism Journey Guide.
Examples of Program Success 
In Jan 2012, a mom called TACA with concern over her 7thgrade son. He was in his 3rdprivate school placement and it was looking like he was going to be asked to leave yet another school due to his behaviors. The son's issues were addressed, discussing possible causes and/or triggers to his behaviors. Mom had explored numerous behavior modification techniques. Some of the techniques worked for a while, but eventually the negative behaviors returned. It was at this time that the idea of changing his diet to a GFCFSF (Gluten Free, Casein/Milk Free, Soy Free) diet was introduced, in order to change his behaviors. 

The two-hour conversation concluded with links sent via email to join TACA’s Orange County Meeting and an online group called TACA-USA. Here is Mom's reply: “It was great to talk with you. I can't thank you enough for taking time out of your busy day to help me. After we spoke, I've made the decision to change our family’s diet along with some other things. Thanks again.”

Parent Mentor Program

TACA’s Parent Mentor program is a fully developed, managed program where parents can be matched with an experienced, trained and supported TACA Parent Mentor to help guide them on the autism journey. TACA Parent Mentors offer one-on-one support and encouragement as well as provide information about autism-related topics, including; biomedical treatments, dietary intervention, insurance, IEP, therapies and more.

Budget  $62,144.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Mentoring
Population Served Adults People/Families with of People with Disabilities Other Health/Disability
Program Short-Term Success 
1)     Help parents develop a plan for next steps. Plan should be coordinated with Autism Journey Guides and Parent Support staff will chart where parent is on their journey and what their next steps are in database.

2)     Motivate parents to continue journey and not feel alone.

3)     Parent regularly attends support group meetings and/or joins online support group.

Program Long-Term Success 

1)     Parents feel comfortable to independently seek therapies and treatments for their child without assistance or community/parent support. 

2)     Parents spread knowledge to other families by becoming mentors, coordinators, or other volunteers.

Program Success Monitored By 

Qualitative and/or Quantitative

Collecting family stories to post on website.

Surveyed after 30 days in the program, 6 months and one year.

Survey Questions

How often are you in touch with your mentor? (6 months)

What information did you get that you would not have had otherwise? (6 months)

Did you receive information you can utilize in your daily life? (1 year)

What information did you get that you might not otherwise receive? (1 year)

Interviews (2 Questions)

Have you contacted your mentor? (6 mos) If not, why?

In what areas of your journey has your mentor helped you? (6 mos)

How has it positively impacted you and your family to be connected to a mentor? (1 year)


Interview with mentors to determine what changes they have observed in their mentees.

Examples of Program Success 
"I can't thank you enough for linking me to my wonderful mentor. It has been an invaluable tool that I have used a lot. I have learned so much and continue to learn from Liz and your site daily to help our daughter Katelynn. What we are doing is helping. Liz is a wealth of knowledge and is always there to help me or even talk to me when I feel like I am at my wits end. I have so much more knowledge and support now to fight for our daughter. We have learned about nutrition, supplements, therapies, how to help get our daughter's needs met and our voices to be heard in IEP meetings, what blood tests need to be ordered, etc. Your organization and Liz have been a God send! I think it is really important for people to know what and incredible organization and resource you have for parents. I would be lost without Liz and TACA and even worse my daughter would not be getting better or what she needs to recover. Thank you so much."

Family Scholarship Program

Since 2006, TACA has provided scholarships to families living with autism. These scholarships help families pay for physician-prescribed services, and include stop gap medical treatments, independent assessments, and other necessary crisis funding.

Financial assistance provided to families to help cover costs of physician-prescribed services, medical treatments, independent assessments, adaptive, technologies, crisis funding, and participation in educational and Family Support events.

Budget  $227,444.00
Category  Health Care, General/Other Medical Expense Assistance
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Families People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities
Program Short-Term Success 

1)     Family gets a mentor, family gets a trip to the doctor for necessary medical intervention, family gets lab work and supplements.

1)     Child gets healthier, ATEC (Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist) score decreases.

2)     Spreading the word about treatments.

Program Long-Term Success 

1)     Change course of treatment, prove that treatments work, child has increased chance of becoming independent contributing member of community.

2)     Parents feel comfortable to independently seek therapies and treatments for their child without assistance or community/parent support. 

Program Success Monitored By 
Changes – access to medical expert.

Impact – ATEC scores, did the child improve?

Level of outcome – family, perhaps community (seeing a child get healthier encourages other families), contributing member of society, when the child's health improves the family's health improves.

Examples of Program Success 
Since 2006, TACA has provided medical scholarships to families living with autism. These scholarships help families pay for physician-prescribed services, and include stop gap medical treatments, independent assessments, and other necessary crisis funding. We continue to work hard to find scholarship opportunities that will help eligible families speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments.

Autism Community Events

Autism-friendly family events that support the intellectual, spiritual and emotional well-being of children and families affected by autism, and encourage interaction and camaraderie among families in an inclusive, safe and supportive environment.  These annual Orange County Family Support Events create a sense of community with families living with autism and include; Volcom Everyone Can Skate Day, Family Picnic, Fall Festival and Sensitive Santa.


Budget  $141,463.00
Category  Community Development, General/Other Community Development, General/Other
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities Other Health/Disability
Program Short-Term Success 

The goals of TACA’s Autism Family Support Events are to: (1) provide children with autism with a safe and supportive environment where they can practice learned social skills and increase social awareness; (2) provide caregivers with opportunities to connect with one another, so that they can learn from one another and begin to build a support network; (3) provide siblings of children with autism a chance to know they are not alone and interact with other siblings like them; (4) promote successful interactions and understanding within the family that strengthen and support resilience; and (5) welcome newly diagnosed families into a supportive event to demonstrate the impact of support well as the hope TACA families experience together.

Program Long-Term Success 

Facing autism is often taxing for the entire family unit. As families begin adjust to their diagnosis many find that their social circle of support starts to shrink—friends and family stop asking them for play dates and they receive fewer invitations to birthday parties. In addition, seemingly simple tasks like going to the park, grocery shopping or attending the movies is increasingly more difficult and, in some cases, no longer an option. As a result, affected families often feel overwhelmed, socially isolated and alone.

TACA exists to provide these families with the education and support they need to effectively access resources and services in their community. Our Autism Support programs foster the intellectual, social and emotional well being of children with autism and their families. Through our community events we uniquely mitigate issues of isolation for affected families and encourage social interaction and integration among children with autism.

Program Success Monitored By 

TACA measures success by assessing the impact its programs through surveys and direct feedback from participants. Surveys evaluate the effectiveness of the program/initiative, what the parent/child gained as a result of participation and give participants an opportunity to comment on their experience and offer suggestions for future events. Results inform future programming and determine if goals were met. We also track the number of adults and children who participate in each initiative. This data allows us to measure growth year over year and to plan for future programs.

Examples of Program Success 

“The TACA Family Picnic opened up a whole world to me. As the primary caregiver of a child with autism, the TACA picnic showed me that I am not alone, that there are resources, treatments and supports. Most of all, I regained a sense of fun and hope.”

“These are great events that understand and accommodate my child and his sensitivities. They also provide information on great services available for family members with Autism in a very accessible way and bring that information to us, which is very helpful. I really do appreciate these family events. This is the first one we have attended and our expectations were exceeded. It was really awesome!”


CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Lisa Ackerman
CEO Term Start Jan 2003
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Native of California, Lisa has worked in the retail site selection for the past 20 years. Lisa was a Co-Founder of AnySite Software which was recently sold to MapInfo Corporation. Working with customers like Wal-Mart, Burger King, Shell Oil, Lisa has consulted and sold large solutions for planning and managing the site selection process. In March 2004, Lisa has retired from her full-time job to volunteer with TACA families. Since TACA's inception, Lisa has been recognized in the following ways:

2002 - State of California recognized TACA with a Resolution for accomplishments.

2003 - McKinley Honors "Heros of the Heart"
2004 - Jae Davis Community Service Award from OAR (Organization for Autism Research)
2010 - Passkeys Foundation Ethics Award

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Carolyn Baker Development Director --
Mrs Jackie Moore Director of Programs & Chapters --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


Up to 40% of those diagnosed with autism also have seizures. The collaboration with American Epilepsy Outreach Foundation ensures that families have the best information available for this dual diagnosis. 

TACA is a founding partner in Autism Cares to provide emergency grants to families in crisis and collaborates with the National Autism Association in the AWAARE program to educate families on the dangers associated with wandering.

TACA is a member of the Global Autism Collaboration with a goal to unite autism organizations to generate social change to deal with the global autism health crisis.

TACA partnered with the Hollyrod Foundation to distribute iPads to families to facilitate their child’s communication needs.

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 13
Number of Part Time Staff 5
Number of Volunteers 1,000
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 92%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 3
Caucasian: 11
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: --
Other: --
Other (if specified): 1
Gender Female: 16
Male: 2
Not Specified --

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Government Licenses


CEO Comments


Foundation Comments



Board Chair Mr. Glen Ackerman
Board Chair Company Affiliation inhouseIT
Board Chair Term Jan 2016 - Dec 2019
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Glen Ackerman CEO, inhouseIT Voting
Mrs. Lisa Ackerman Founder & Executive Director, Talk About Curing Autism Voting
Mr. Keith Banning Senior Vice President of Private Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley Voting
Mr. Dan Carney Co-Founder, Midwest Insurance Company Voting
Mrs. Inna Kassatkina Jones Community Volunteer Voting
MR Erich Kreidler KRE & Associates Inc. Voting
Mrs. Elizabeth McCoy Special Needs Trust Attorney Voting
Mr. Robby Saggu Vice President of Private Wealth Management, Goldman Sachs Voting
Ms. Kim, Yang-Uk RE/MAX Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 6
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 1
Other (if specified): Indian
Gender Female: 4
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths --
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 96%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Finance
  • Scientific Advisory
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
  • Technology


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $1,812,350 $1,576,454 $1,324,375
Total Expenses $1,649,512 $1,451,183 $1,296,435

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$927,657 $710,757 $869,376
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- $0
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- $0
Earned Revenue $111,873 $106,081 $75,623
Investment Income, Net of Losses $1,314 $724 $571
Membership Dues -- -- $0
Special Events $559,512 $556,361 $358,529
Revenue In-Kind $211,994 $202,531 $49,318
Other -- -- $69,777

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $1,192,500 $1,059,529 $938,205
Administration Expense $158,294 $135,022 $107,693
Fundraising Expense $298,718 $256,632 $250,537
Payments to Affiliates -- -- $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.10 1.09 1.02
Program Expense/Total Expenses 72% 73% 72%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 20% 20% 20%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $793,852 $556,444 $422,283
Current Assets $738,952 $499,923 $377,521
Long-Term Liabilities -- -- $0
Current Liabilities $185,299 $110,700 $101,810
Total Net Assets $608,553 $445,744 $320,473

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 3.99 4.52 3.71

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%
Endowment Value $25,000.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

CEO Comments

In 2018, to better align with best practices and following three positive years TACA will be making an investment in infrastructure and people so we can grow.

We have proposed a negative budget to accomplish our goals, however this is covered by planned cash reserves so will not impact operations.

Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the form 990s, audited financial statements and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions for years 2010, and 2011 and 2012 are combined under foundation/corporate contributions.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.