Philadelphia Eagles News

Eagles Autism Challenge presented by Lincoln Financial Group is set for Saturday, May 20

Eagles Autism Challenge
Eagles Autism Challenge

The Philadelphia Eagles have announced that the sixth annual Eagles Autism Challenge presented by Lincoln Financial Group will take place on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field. One hundred percent of participant-raised funds from the team's signature cycling and 5K run/walk event will continue to benefit institutions conducting cutting-edge autism research and care.

Participants can now register for the 2023 Eagles Autism Challenge at EaglesAutismChallenge.org.

Led by Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie, players, coaches, team legends, Eagles fans, and autism supporters, the 2022 Eagles Autism Challenge – held on Saturday, May 21 – raised a record-setting $4.1 million thanks to donors from 18 countries, 2,891 participants, and 17,164 donations. Since the first year of the Eagles Autism Challenge in 2018, a total of 54 countries and 93,952 donations have contributed to the more than $16 million raised through the Eagles Autism Foundation.

"Our ability to fund groundbreaking autism research would not be possible without the generosity of those who support the Eagles Autism Challenge," said Ryan Hammond, Executive Director, Eagles Autism Foundation. "We would like to thank all our sponsors, especially Lincoln Financial Group, Wawa, FreedomPay, and Five Below, along with the many participants and volunteers who make this event truly special each year. As our team's signature fundraising event approaches its sixth year, we look forward to building on the progress we've made so that individuals and families affected by autism have access to the resources needed to assist them in their daily lives."

The Eagles Autism Challenge is a one-day bike ride and family-friendly 5K run/walk that begins and ends at Lincoln Financial Field. The event features three cycling routes – 30-Mile Wawa Classic, 10-Mile Wawa Shorti, and 10-Mile Youth Wawa Junior – that offer participants a chance to navigate through the City of Philadelphia and its suburbs. The FreedomPay 5K Run/Walk has been mapped and certified by US Track & Field and takes participants on a scenic journey around the neighborhood. For families and participants with sensory challenges, the FreedomPay Sensory Walk provides a shorter course around the outside perimeter of Lincoln Financial Field. For those who want to fundraise but are unable to ride, run, or walk on event day, there is a virtual participant option.

"We are proud to serve as the presenting partner of the Eagles Autism Challenge for the sixth consecutive year," said John Kennedy, President of Lincoln Financial Distributors and Head of Brand. "The Eagles do an incredible job of representing the City of Philadelphia and Eagles fans around the world, both on and off the field. Their ongoing efforts in support of the autism community is just another example of their tremendous leadership and commitment to fostering an inclusive environment for all."

All five routes end at Lincoln Financial Field with participants crossing the finish line at the 50-yard line. Participants are welcomed back to an on-field celebration, family-friendly field activities, and an awards ceremony featuring special guests. Participants are also invited to attend the Friday Night Kickoff Party at Lincoln Financial Field on May 19 to commence the celebratory weekend. Additionally, participants will receive a cycling jersey or 5K t-shirt, finish line medal, and a complimentary gift bag. Exclusive experience prizes and autographed memorabilia will be offered to participants who reach specific fundraising milestones during the year.

To help participants meet and exceed their fundraising goals, Five Below will match the first $50,000 in online donations, dollar for dollar, as part of the season's first matching gift drive. The matching gift will apply to all online donations beginning Wednesday, September 14 at 12:00 PM ET and will match each donation up to $1,000. In addition, Five Below will offer customers the opportunity to round-up in-store purchases at the register to benefit the Eagles Autism Foundation from Monday, September 19, 2022 to Monday, October 3, 2022.

"Five Below has been a longtime supporter of the Eagles Autism Challenge, dating back to the inaugural year in 2018," said Michael Romanko, Chief Marketing Officer, Five Below. "It is truly an honor to be part of this amazing event, which continues to grow tremendously year over year and has quickly become an annual tradition for so many people. Our hope is that this matching gift and register round-up program will contribute to the life-changing work the Eagles are doing for those affected by autism."

Championed by Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie, the Eagles Autism Challenge sets out to fund innovative research, drive scientific breakthroughs, and provide critical resources to create a major shift from awareness to action. One hundred percent of participant-raised funds from the team's signature charity event are invested into the autism research and care community, with more than $16 million raised in its five years.

All participants who sign up by Monday, October 31, 2022 will have 50% of their registration fee waived as part of the special "Early Bird" promotion. Registrants can use the promo code "earlybird23" when signing up.

The Eagles Autism Challenge, which started with Lurie's vision to bring people together to support the autism community, sets out to fund innovative research, drive scientific breakthroughs, and provide critical resources, all in an effort to create a major shift from awareness to action.

Through fundraising efforts associated with the Eagles Autism Foundation, 63 research projects and community grants have been funded for exploratory work in the field of autism since 2018. The funding process for the $4.1 million raised in 2022 is currently underway and will award grants to approved institutions in the coming months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 44 people living in the United States are on the autism spectrum. While it has become one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the country, it has historically been underfunded, misunderstood, and under-researched.

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