Jake’s House starts a band for autism awareness

ASD covered some classics to build momentum for the non-profit's mission and programs.

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Autism charity Jake’s House has assembled a team of autistic performers in a move to bring people together around its work, be that in the form of attracting new donors or simply making more people aware of its work.

The band – named ASD for Autism Spectrum Disorder – recreated tracks such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Stitches”, and “I Got You Babe,” in the studio. With the help of agency Edelman, it is looking to generate social traction with their original performers: Diana Ross, Shawn Mendes and Cher.

“I Got You Babe” was released yesterday and is available on all major music streaming platforms, along with a music video, which is being rolled out on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Pirate Toronto helped facilitate the recording sessions and create the videos.

Jake’s House is focused on providing practical help to those with autism and their families. Jennifer Joseph, CEO of Jake’s House, tells strategy that autism is about communication, and for those with limitations, music is especially important for bringing people together.

Last year’s “Give a Little Bit” campaign was the organization’s first major fundraising effort, based on the Supertramp song. As part of a PR push, the group’s lead singer, Roger Hodgson, was brought aboard to perform the song on shows like Breakfast Television to amplify the message of the importance of donations to provide community support for 6,500 Canadians affected by autism.

This year’s initiative was originally planned for the spring – launching with a large concert – but had to be paused and scaled back due to the pandemic. October and April are key times for Jake’s House to raise awareness, Joseph says, with October being Canadian Autism Awareness Month and April being World Autism Month. She adds that its immediate organizational goals are to advance programming like face-to-face workshops and pivot them to virtual, or attaching more companies to Jake’s House’s autism employment program.

COVID has impacted every organization in the charitable space and the giving abilities of would-be donors. But if the organization cannot attract fundraising dollars, Joseph says, it will instead build awareness, as that can help achieve other goals, such as brining in more volunteers, email subscribers, shoppers to its merchandise site or employers willing to hire people on the autism spectrum.