Making a difference in the lives of people at the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment at the University of Missouri

Advocacy opportunity: Support the HEADs UP Act

Advancing policy is an important part of our mission, and we have an opportunity for you to make a difference.

The HEADs UP Act is a bill in subcommittee in the US Congress that could have a huge impact on the ability to care for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This bill would designate people with I/DD as a “medically underserved population”, which could have significant implications for funding and resources available for care.

What can you do?

  • E-mail your representative! You can use the link below to quickly e-mail your representative urging them to co-sponsor this bill or you can draft your own e-mail.

If you do not know who your rep is,  FIND YOUR REP HERE!

  • CLICK HERE to send an e-mail to your representative in under 2 minutes! You will be redirected to the Autism Speaks website.
  • CLICK HERE for a sample e-mail template you can easily modify if you prefer to contact your representative directly via e-mail.
  • Call your rep! Make sure to leave a message if they do not answer. You can locate your representative using the link above.

Tips when calling:

  • Introduce yourself as a constituent
  • Briefly discuss the problem and utilize personal examples and stories if applicable
  • Offer a solution
  • Ask for action: “I strongly encourage you to support the HEADs UP Act.”

Learn more from the Society for Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics here.

1080 1080 Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment

Myles Hinkel

Executive Director

Myles Hinkel began as Executive Director in June 2020. Myles leads the foundation’s three-pillar mission; fundraising, awareness, and advancing public policy. Prior to this, Myles was Director of Advancement for Gift Planning & Regional covering the West Coast for The University of Missouri. This was Myles’ second time with MU Advancement. He previously worked in the College of Arts & Science before taking advancement positions at Columbia College and the Missouri United Methodist Foundation. Myles, his wife Lora, and their two boys have been involved in the Thompson Center and the Thompson Foundation since their inceptions.

Katie Lynn

Director of Donor Relations

Katie Lynn oversees donor stewardship and marketing for the Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment. Prior to joining the Thompson Foundation in 2020, she worked for Major League Baseball’s nonprofit, the Baseball Assistance Team. Originally from Quincy, Illinois, Katie is a graduate of Tulane University and has also lived in Louisiana, Florida, New York, and now Missouri. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, singing, and playing violin.

Melissa Eston

Office Manager

Melissa Eston began her role as Office Manager in August of 2022. In her role, Melissa receives and processes donations, assists in event planning, and manages accounts receivable and payable. Melissa most recently worked in Healthcare Advancement at the University of Missouri. Prior to that, she worked as a Senior Strategic Communications associate in University Relations at the University of Missouri System. Her first experience working with non-profits was at Columbia College, where she served as a Coordinator for the Advancement division. Melissa is a Columbia College graduate with a BA in History. She lives with her husband, Chris, in Columbia. Melissa’s favorite part of working at the Thompson Foundation is seeing the tangible, positive impact its advocacy work has on the Thompson Center and the families it serves.


Sam Hayes

Director of Development

Sam Hayes joined the Thompson Foundation in December of 2023. During his previous six years with the University of Missouri, Sam raised over $6 million in philanthropic support for many areas across campus, including healthcare, the School of Journalism, Marching Mizzou, campus-wide scholarships, and the College of Arts & Science. Sam has a Bachelor’s in Parks and Recreation from Mizzou. Sam is honored to serve the Thompson Foundation, which has helped many people. He lives in Columbia, where he likes to hike with his wife, Samantha, their two sons, John and Teddy, and their chihuahua Louie.