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

Help us close the gap

Your donation helps the important work of the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment

More than 231,000 patients and their families can benefit from diagnosis, treatment, research, and training provided by the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment at the University of Missouri. Although this is an impressive number, the demand exceeds current capacity. Your support makes an impact!

More than 2,000 children are waiting for services at the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment.

We envision a world in which treatment begins immediately after diagnosis. Research shows that early diagnosis combined with early intervention can dramatically improve functional skills. Currently, families may sit on a waitlist for up to a year before the medically prescribed therapy of Applied Behavioral Analysis can begin. Find out what makes us extraordinary.

Teacher and young boy

Families Served


Patient Visits


autism spectrum disorder evaluations

During the 2023 fiscal year

Ways To Give

Make an impact for patients and families at the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment at the University of Missouri

Make an immediate impact

Give with your credit card or debit card


Please send checks to:
Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment
205 Portland Street
Columbia, MO 65201

Walmart Spark Good

Support the Thompson Foundation by rounding up your purchase at checkout on You can also donate products from our registry that will support patients at the Thompson Center. Click to register.


ShopRaise is an easy way to support the Thompson Foundation with your online purchases. The program is free – you do not pay any more for the items you buy, and you get access to all the best coupons and deals! Download the ShopRaise mobile or desktop app and every time you make a purchase at a participating retailer, a percentage will support the Thompson Foundation. Click to download and start supporting us with every purchase.

Make a Bigger Impact

Stock gifts

Donating stocks is one of the most tax-smart ways to support the Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment. Donating stock directly to a charity helps you avoid capital gains taxes, allowing your full donation to support the Thompson Foundation. Talk to your financial planner to see if a donation of stock could benefit your financial portfolio.

Donor-Advised Fund

Establishing a donor-advised fund (DAF) allows donors to make a charitable donation and receive an immediate tax deduction. Then, donors can recommend grants from the fund whenever they choose.  If you have a DAF, consider recommending a grant to the Thompson Foundation.

IRA rollover gift

If you are over age 70.5 and have a traditional IRA, you may donate up to $100,000 annually directly from your IRA to the Thompson Foundation without a tax penalty. There is no need to itemize and there is no income to you. In addition, the gift counts toward your required minimum distribution (RMD) – if applicable.

Real estate

If you own appreciated real property (such as your home, vacation property, vacant land, farmland, ranch or commercial property), you can avoid paying capital gains tax by making a gift of that property to the Thompson Foundation.

Tangible property: artwork, antiques, stamp or coin collections, jewelry, furniture, and rare books

Intangible property: copyrights, websites, and royalties

Matching gifts

Your employer may participate in corporate matching gifts, which financially matches the donations you make to the Thompson Foundation. Contact your HR department to see if your employer matches charitable gifts made by employees.

Future gifts

You can create a lasting impact by including the Thompson Foundation in your estate plan. Avenues for future giving include bequests through a will or trust, or beneficiary designation for insurance policies, bank accounts, or automobiles. View examples of sample language to update your estate plans.



$6.8 million has been raised from 2007-2022 through AMAZE, the Thompson Foundation’s signature fundraising event. This event celebrated the life-changing advancements in the field of autism that never cease to amaze and fill us with hope. Funds raised benefitted the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment, where children with autism and their families find a path to greater happiness and success.

Bill and Nancy Thompson at AMAZE

Thompson Center Autism Conference

Each year, the Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment supports and promotes the Thompson Center Autism Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. The conference provides support and training for professionals who work with individuals with autism and neurodevelopmental disorders.

A special 1-day conference for parents, grandparents, and caregivers of individuals with autism kicks off the event, followed by a free Ask the Experts panel, hosted by the Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment.

Thompson Center Autism Conference in St. Louis, Missouri



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.