FEBRUARY 2021
THE DIRECTOR'S DISPATCH
Most great executive directors with amazing missions will tell you that they never do the work for the recognition. I would also say that, those who don’t do it for the love and passion of the mission don’t belong there.

What amazes me every day here at Firefly Autism is the incredible team we have built over the years and how together they focus every day to create a magical moment or help one of our students achieve a major milestone. The work is difficult at times, there are tense moments of course, but more so, there are those moments of hope and progress that excites not only the individuals we’re working with, but each of us! What Firefly has been able to achieve is not only monumental, but a true result of perseverance, faith and fighting spirit. I’ve always said that for every great leader, there is an even greater team lifting them to new heights. I would say the team at Firefly is what inspires me every day not only to ensure our incredible organization prospers but continues to grow into becoming a national model. Thanks to so many, this innovative organization continues to lead the way and to be recognized nationally as leaders in our field. I can’t take credit for their work, but I can continue to be inspired to lead this amazing team into the future!

It is with a truly humble heart that I share with you that I am one of the finalists for the 9News Leader of Year Award alongside two other incredible human beings whose passion also makes an impact in our communities. I would be most humbled if you were to give me your vote for this incredible and prestigious award that will help me to continue to highlight the amazing work our Firefly family does every day all year long. Thank each of you for your contributions not only to Firefly, but to your families and the communities in which you live!!!
LAUGH YOURSELF BLUE 2021!
Join us Thursday, June 24
Seawell Ballroom.... or wherever in the world you might be!
Check out our event website, laughyourselfblue.com for details on how you can get involved!
We are looking for Committee Member Volunteers, Item Donations for the Silent Auction, Sponsorships and more.
TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER
Firefly's Director, Jesse Ogas, Up for Big Honor
A shout-out to Jesse who was named one of three finalists for the prestigious 9News and Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation's Leader of the Year Award for 2021.
Jesse joins Adeeb Khan, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Executive Director of the Delta Dental of Colorado (DDCO) Foundation and Lorii Rabinowitz, CEO, Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) recognized for this honor.
Through the many challenges of 2020, Jesse helped lead Firefly Autism to new heights through innovative tele-health initiatives and service expansions, all the while keeping employees on staff, and of course overseeing the remodel and major relocation of the Firefly Autism headquarters to Hoyt Street in Lakewood.
This year marks the 21st year that 9NEWS will honor a Colorado leader for contributions to the community. The 2021 9NEWS Leader of the Year will be announced live at the Leadership Foundation’s Leading Colorado virtual event on March 10. This event, presented by BBVA, recognizes exceptional community leadership while raising scholarship funds to ensure professionals from all sectors can develop their skills and enhance their impact in the community.
According to the write up on the 9News website:

Jesse Ogas increases access to medical care for all communities by bridging language and cultural gaps. In his role as CEO and executive director of Firefly Autism, Ogas has increased outreach and autism treatment to previously underserved Latino and Black communities. He extends this mission through his membership on the boards of many charities, including Clinica Tepeyac, which provides medical care to those who may have otherwise been unable to access it due to monetary or language barriers.

Ogas was also appointed by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock to the Mental Health Center of Denver Board and the Mayor’s Latino Commission, where he served for six years as a liaison to Mayor Hancock on issues that impact the Latino community in Denver.

Congratulations, Jesse, and good luck! Thanks for being such a great light to our organization and leader in the community!
BOARD MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Meet Ed Franics
Ed Francis joined Firefly’s Board of Directors in 2020.
He currently serves as Chairman of the Board, President and CEO for InBank, a commercial bank serving the Denver Metro Area, southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.

Mr. Francis was introduced to Firefly Autism by several InBank associates and through members of their leadership team. He says, "I remember seeing a picture of our team attending the ‘Laugh Yourself Blue’ event and the contagious smiles they were all wearing!"

Mr. Francis studied Managerial Finance from the University of Mississippi before his post graduate work at Louisiana State University. In addition to Firefly, Ed has served as President of the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
Mr. Francis is passionate about being personally involved with organizations that have a mission of serving others and contributing to communities. He says, "Our mission at InBank is to positively impact the lives of our customers, communities and associates, which aligns closely with Firefly’s mission to transform the lives of children with autism and partner with families for life-long relationships."
Moving ahead Mr. Francis looks forward to continuing the promotion of Firefly’s mission and vision as a Member of the Board of Directors. "The organization has an exciting vision of expanding its mission to other cities and states throughout the U.S. and even globally. I’m hopeful that my experience of serving in the C-suite of fast growing successful banks can assist the organization in building a service model that is scalable and sustainable," says Mr. Francis.
Mr. Francis is grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Board of an organization whose mission he connects with on a personal level and one that is making a difference in the lives of children and families each and every day.

Mr. Francis quotes Albert Einstein when asked about a core value of his: “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
Firefly Autism thanks Ed Francis for his service and time to our mission.
John Griffith
The very handsome John Griffith (who has a great sense of humor!) has served on Firefly Autism's Board for over 10 years and is our immediate past Board President. Professionally he is the founder and former President of Alpine Waste & Recycling. John started Alpine Waste in 1999 after his former employer was acquired and he needed a new opportunity.
John has a business degree from CU Boulder and has used what he has learned in his education and experience to differentiate and distinguish his services in an attempt to compete with more established competition. These are professional skills which John has continued to leverage to help lead Firefly Autism to new heights.

On a personal note, John has been personally touched by autism and Firefly's therapies. His son Jack has attended Firefly for over 13 years.

For his many years of service and leadership to our organization, Firefly Autism is very grateful to John Griffith.
DONOR OF THE MONTH
John and Carrie Morgridge
John and Carrie Morgridge serve as the President and Vice President of The Morgridge Family Foundation (MFF). Before MFF, John and Carrie have been partners in business ventures, athletic pursuits, marriage, and parenthood. They founded MFF in 2008 with an entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy and a hands-on style of leadership. John and Carrie ensure that the foundation does great work while creating a positive, empowering culture. Over the past decade, they have been the driving force for MFF’s work and investments in nonprofit partners.

Their partnership with Firefly Autism began with good old fashioned volunteering. During Amp the Cause Community day in Denver, Carrie and John were placed at Firefly to help with outdoor beautification. After that first introduction, MFF partnered with Firefly with a few small grants and gifts in support of their work.

It was our state-of-the-art facility that ushered in a new chapter in MFF’s partnership with Firefly. Carrie and John Farnam met Jesse and they arranged a site visit. Carrie expected a quick tour, but not much else.

Needless to say, that’s not how the day went. Carrie was so inspired by Firefly’s space and successful track record, she pledged a $1 million gift to support their ASTAR program, which stands for Advanced Student Training in ABA Research. The program helps train therapists in ABA, Applied Behavior Analysis, a leading, empirically based intervention to teach functional skills to children with autism. Trainees take what they learn to help disseminate Firefly’s successful programs and make them available across the country, exponentially increasing their impact.

MFF continues to stay involved with Firefly’s work through the grant. Additionally, John C. Morgridge, Executive Board Member, serves on the Board at Firefly.
CLINICAL CONNECTION
MORE INFO AT LEARNFIREFLY.COM
stacked_hands_update_hdr.jpg
Firefly is extending our Center-Based services after hours to assist families to help integrate this program into their homes. We are also exploring transportation of students with our Firefly vans and we continue to grow our school district partnerships. Both the Sibling program and Adult program happening in the evenings at Firefly continue to grow alongside our Social Skills program. Given the success of our adult program, we are looking at potentially expanding to create a second adult group both in person and via Zoom. Our Parent Support group, which is being led by one of our parents, is looking for more parents who are interested in meeting once a week with like-minded individuals to learn and share with other families, or have great insight to share for others on a broad spectrum of issues families might face because of autism. For information on any of these expansions and programs, please contact us at info@fireflyautism.org.
BEFORE YOU GO...
SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW
Firefly's Evergreen Wishlist
  • Board games
  • 3 drawer organizers
  • Portable chargers
  • Charging cords (for iPads)
  • Laminator
  • Amazon and King Soopers gift cards
  • Bean bags
  • Water Color Paper
  • Water Color Paints
  • Paint Brushes
  • Clicky Expo Markers
  • iPads for two students
  • In addition to iPads, tech including laptops or Chromebooks
email info@fireflyautism.org with your interest.
Show your Firefly Autism Pride! Check out our Firefly Merch!

All items available by suggested donation and can be picked up in our main office or mailed to you.

Just email our office staff to order yours!