Derby Day event next month helps UCF autism program

Group hopes to raise over $400,000

ORLANDO, Fla. – A two-day event in Orlando next month helps support thousands of people with autism who take part in a special program at the University of Central Florida.

The 16th annual Derby Day 4 Autism starts with a golf tournament on Friday, May 5, followed by a day-long Kentucky Derby-style party on Saturday, May 6, at Ember in downtown Orlando.

That event will feature food, drink, raffles, a derby dress contest with celebrity judges and dancing, all while watching the Kentucky Derby.

Proceeds from the event benefits programs put on by the UCF Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD).

“The Derby Day 4 Autism all started 16 years ago, we had an original goal of raising $5,000 to help get the UCF CARD students to and from summer camp,” said Clayton Holmes, philanthropy chair at Loyal Source. “...I have (been to the Kentucky Derby), and I feel like I don’t really need to go back because the party next Saturday at Ember downtown is the exact replica, it’s the exact same thing, it’s a fantastic time.”

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CARD’s endeavors include summer camps, outreach programs and more. All told, the group is looking at raising over $400,000 for the program this year.

“All of that money actually goes directly into the PALS charity which supports the UCF CARD program,” said Faith Livingston, marketing events coordinator at Loyal Source. “...That’s going to support over 19,000 individuals who are registered with the UCF CARD program, it also creates those summer programs.”

The golf tournament is sold out, but tickets to the party are still available on the Derby Day 4 Autism website.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.