Meet Donna Green! A Monmouth County native, Donna grew up in Lincroft, NJ, and later settled in Little Silver, NJ with her husband and son. Donna and her husband, Keith, are the founders of the all-volunteer nonprofit, Autism MVP Foundation, which offers a different approach to supporting those on the autism spectrum. While raising their son, they found there to be a shortage of autism-focused educators and therapists within our community and surrounding areas. Autism MVP Foundation focuses on raising funds to provide scholarships for aspiring professionals in this field. Learn more in our interview below about the incredible strides their organization has made in our community working with local universities, some of Donna’s favorite things to do with her family in Monmouth County, and how you can get involved with Autism MVP Foundation and help make a difference!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
Monmouth County born at Riverview raised in Lincroft, NJ. We have lived in Little Silver for the past 11 yrs.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
My first college course I taught was an education course that focused on teaching students with disabilities. Autism was a constant topic as many students needed more training. This was before I had a child with Autism.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
It takes a village. We are fortunate to have a large loving family and some of the best friends and neighbors our family could ask for.
Favorite things to do with your kids?
Going to New York Botanical Gardens Holiday train Show in the Bronx. Next to the amazing beaches in our area, that is our son’s happy place!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
Yes! My husband Keith founded the Autism MVP Foundation, an all-volunteer nonprofit that takes a different approach to helping people, especially children, who are on the autism spectrum. The mission is simple: to increase the number of autism-focused educators and therapists into a marketplace that desperately needs them. There is already a severe teacher shortage and the same is true for behaviorists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and other highly skilled and wonderful professionals who improve social and daily life skill outcomes for individuals with autism. Our world needs more of them, so the foundation’s approach is to provide scholarships for graduate students who are aspiring professionals in areas like Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). We have granted more than $75,000 to Monmouth University for scholarships and a unique program called the Autism Program Improvement Project. In November, we announced a $50,000 endowed scholarship fund for graduate students in Temple University’s Master of Science in ABA and we are looking to expand these types of initiatives elsewhere. We are actually having a fundraiser on June 29 at the Colt’s Neck Stillhouse called and hope some of your readers consider joining us!
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
My father instilled in me (and my eight siblings!) the importance of giving back and treating people the right way and with respect. That was his philosophy in life and business (he founded Circle Chevrolet on Shrewsbury Avenue and some of my brothers still run that dealership as well as Circle BMW in Eatontown). He felt if you did that it would come back to you 10-fold. And that’s what has happened with people helping us with our son, being amazing friends or supporting the foundation. Living here is a blessing in so many ways.
What is your favorite restaurant in Monmouth County?
Gabriella’s Italian Steak house and Barnacle Bills….best burger around!!!
What is your favorite activity to do with your son in Monmouth County?
Visiting our amazing Landmarks: Twin Lights, Sandy Hook Lighthouse and taking pictures of our favorite local spots.
Side note: We have a series of photos that is displayed at our Autism MVP event every year called Through a Different Lens, that showcases the incredible photography skills of students with Autism.
What are your Mom Goals?
Simple-raise a gentleman! I was raised by wonderful parents as was my husband. My father greeted everyone with a smile and treated all with respect.
ADDRESSING THE CRITICAL SHORTAGE OF AUTISM
EDUCATORS AND THERAPISTS