There’s good news from Frisco. Frisco-based nonprofit Heart of Autism has raised $50,000 for the local autism community with their 4th Annual Gala. A Masquerade Ball, the gala was a sold out event. 300 attendees enjoyed dinner, dancing, casino tables, silent auction and a Kendra Scott mystery jewelry pool with all proceeds donated to the charity. Tickets were sold out weeks prior to the Gala.

The 2016 beneficiaries include Hugs Café, Rainbow Kidz and Autism Speaks DFW. Heart of Autism conducts charity events throughout the year, culminating with a Gala held each September.

Heart of Autism started as a small, grass-roots fundraising group organized by Dallas real estate professional and mom Nika Arastoupour, whose son, Mazy, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 2 in 2012. Arastoupour quickly realized that therapy was expensive, and she wanted to do something to help underprivileged families that could not afford autism services. She also wanted to help fund research into ASD. Since its inception in 2013, Heart of Autism has raised more than $100,000. Last year, the organization, which had been focused exclusively on children with ASD, added adult services as part of its mission, which includes therapy as well as job placement assistance.

Kristin Farmer, founder of ACES and benefactor of the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center, received the 2016 Heart of Autism Distinguished Service Award. The award was presented at the Heart of Autism Masquerade Ball. “I am thrilled to receive this honor from Heart of Autism, an organization that shares my passion for helping children and adults on the spectrum live fuller lives,” Farmer said.

Also, third year Honorary Chair and Emcee Rogers Healy, Owner of Rogers Healy and Associates, was recognized for his continuous contributions and commitment to Heart of Autism. “It is my distinct honor and privilege to be part of Heart of Autism. To see the difference in the lives of the children we help provide ABA therapy for in DFW, is a humbling experience.”

Heart of Autism is excited to name Shahzad Premjee, COO of Premjee Investments, as their newest Honorary Chair. Mr. Premee’s wife, Anishta Premjee, is a Board Member and they both have been very active with the organization from inception. “I am very humbled to receive this honor. Heart of Autism volunteers work very hard to raise awareness and money to give back to those touched by autism. I am excited to be part of such a wonderful local organization,” Premjee said.

For more information about Heart of Autism, contact Nika Arastoupour at Nika@RogersHealy.com or visit heartofautism.org.

Alexandra Cronin

Alexandra Cronin is Local Profile's senior editor. She has been with the company since 2016. She loves great coffee, good food, and average wine.