Teamsters Local 25 Annual Gala for Autism Raises Nearly $1M To Support Families

The  annual Teamsters Local 25 Gala for Autism drew more than 1,300 people to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and raised nearly $1 Million to support individuals and families living with autism.  The Teamsters Local 25 Light up the Night Gala for Autism is the largest New England fundraiser supporting organizations dedicated to helping people and families with autism, and the Teamsters Local 25 Autism Fund is amid its most successful fundraising year since its launch in 2006.  The 2023 Gala for Autism honored International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien, who designated autism as the Local 25 charity early during his first term as president after a member told him about his grandson with autism. Since then, the Teamsters Local 25 Autism Fund has raised millions of dollars for research, housing, schools, and organizations and given a voice to people and families with autism.  The event also honored the Federation for Children with Special Needs(FCSN), headquartered in Charlestown.  FCSN is a nonprofit organization providing information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners, and their communities. FCSN is committed to listening to and learning from families and encouraging full participation in community life by all people, especially those with disabilities.

 “Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien’s legacy at Teamsters Local 25 includes many accomplishments, but the Teamsters Local 25 Autism Fund is a shining example of his tireless advocacy in this field. Our other honoree, the Federation for Children with Special Needs, is a strong community partner and is carrying out Sean’s mission to make sure families with autism have the support system they need,” said Local 25 President/Principal Officer Tom Mari.

Sean M. O’Brien, Teamsters General President

 In the autism community, O’Brien has worked to increase funds and awareness for autism. He worked with state leaders to pass the autism insurance law in Massachusetts, and through the Local 25 Autism Gala has raised several million dollars that has been donated back to organizations that help people with autism in school and in the workplace. During his time in Boston, he sat on the New England Board for Autism Speaks.

Federation for Children with Special Needs

 The Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN) leads Massachusetts and the nation in family-based training and support for both parents of children with disabilities and the professionals who serve them. Our unique approach to working with families, educators, healthcare providers, and other professional partners has allowed FCSN to serve as a forum for information, empowerment, and systemic change. FCSN advocates for inclusive education, strong parent participation, supportive family-school partnerships, and access to high-quality health care services for children. FCSN is the leading organization promoting best practices in family and community engagement in Massachusetts.

 The Teamsters Local 25 Gala for Autism was emceed by WCVB TV Chief Meteorologist Cindy Fitzgibbon and featured a performance by the Greater Boston Firefighters Pipes and Drums Band.  Boston Bruins’ National Anthem Singer Todd Angilly, accompanied by team mascot Blade the Bruin, brought the house down with a stirring rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner to kick-off the evening.  “Miracle on Ice” hockey legends Jack O’Callahan and David Silk were in attendance, along with dozens of federal, state, and local elected leaders, including Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, U.S. Congresswoman Lori Trahan, Massachusetts Auditor Diana DiZoglio, Boston City Council President Ed Flynn, Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty, and many others. 

 Teamsters Local 25 is the largest Teamsters union in New England with 12,000  members. To learn more about the Teamsters Local 25 Autism Fund, please visit To learn more about the Federation for Children with Special Needs, please visit, call 617-236-7210, or email [email protected].

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