Golf legend Ernie Els was awarded the twelfth annual Heisman Humanitarian Award by the Heisman Trophy Trust in recognition of his diligent efforts in assisting those with Autism.
Els is one of the most accomplished golfers in the world, having won four major championships,winner of the U.S. Open and The Open Championship twice and seven-time winner of the World Match Play Championship. Els was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame his first time on the ballot in 2010.
Although his record on the golf course is remarkable, his work helping those in the Autism community is equally impressive.
Since his son’s autism diagnosis, Els and his wife, name, have been active in charities devoted to assisting those with Autism. Through the Els for Autism Foundation and the Els Center of Excellence he has provided invaluable resources for others to realize the programs and therapies that can help an individual diagnosed with Autism. Furthermore, Els has helped raise considerable awareness for the Autism community.
“When my wife Liezl and I started the Foundation back in 2009, our son Ben had just been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. From the beginning our goal has been to create The Center of Excellence which would be an example of what can be available to individuals on the spectrum. The Center has all the essential components on one campus which makes it easier for families. It’s a game changer for the local and international autism community. I’m honored to receive this year’s Heisman Humanitarian Award recognizing my work with the autism community. Along with Liezl we will continue to devote our time to this important cause.”
Els has over 70 professional career victories including four Major Championships, two World Golf Championships and a record seven World Matchplay titles. As a former World No. 1 Ernie is one of the most prolific winners in his generation and has triumphed in tournaments in South Africa, Europe, the United States, Asia, the Middle East and Australasia. Ernie was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011 and the South African Golf Hall of Fame in 2009. He currently plays on the PGA and European Tour, and resides in Jupiter, FL where the Els for Autism Foundation headquarters is located.
The Els for Autism Foundation was established in 2009 by PGA Tour golfer Els and his wife Liezl shortly after their son Ben was diagnosed with autism. The Foundation’s mission is to help people on the autism spectrum fulfill their potential to lead positive, productive and rewarding lives. Els for Autism has offices in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and the UK. To help fulfill its mission, Els for Autism is building a state-of- the-art Center of Excellence in Jupiter, FL, with a local, national and global reach.
Donations can be made online at www.e4aannualgiving.org and by check (made payable to ‘Els for Autism’) and addressed to: Els for Autism Foundation, The Els Center of Excellence, 18370 Limestone Creek Road, Jupiter, FL 33458.