Dougie Jr.
Director of Inspiration

Dougie Jr., now 27, was diagnosed with childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD), a very rare autism spectrum disorder, at the age of 3.  Like other kids with CDD, Dougie developed typically for his first three years but then lost most of his language, motor, and social skills. Shortly after, his parents Doug and Laurie Flutie, started the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism to help other families give their loved one with autism the same opportunities to live life to the fullest.  Twenty years later, Dougie continues to inspire everyone around him with his infectious smile and passion for all thing’s sports. During the day, Dougie attends the Scott Center for Autism in Florida, where he resides with his mom and dad, and his two dogs, Lou Lou and Elsa.  Dougie's favorite activities include swimming in the pool, horseback riding and spending time with his friends and family.  "People really connect with him," says his proud dad. "We give comfort to families so they feel like they're not alone."

Learn More About Dougie, Jr. » 

Nick Savarese
Nick Savarese
Executive Director

Nick is responsible for the overall management of the day-to-day operations of the Flutie Foundation. He works closely with the Foundation’s Board of Directors, staff, and many other constituents with a goal of growing the Foundation and significantly increasing its impact in the lives of people and families affected by autism. While he is involved in all aspects of the Foundation’s work, his primary focus is to provide vision and grow revenue, as the Foundation approaches its 25th Anniversary in 2023.

Prior to joining the Flutie Foundation, Nick spent eleven years at Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) working in a variety of capacities, including his final role as Vice President for Advancement and Marketing.

Prior to moving back to his home state of Massachusetts and joining SOMA, Nick founded Sky’s the Limit, a Colorado-based organization providing inclusive social and recreational programs for children with and without disabilities. Nick received a B.A. from Metropolitan State Universality of Denver with a concentration in Nonprofit Organization Management.

Nick spends his free time with his wife, Stephanie, running between soccer, dance, basketball, and all the other activities of their two children Naomi and Dominic. Nick is also an avid sports fan, rooting for all the Boston professional sports teams to continue their recent run of great success.

Lisa Collins
Lisa Collins
Director of Programs & Operations

Lisa joined the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism in September of 2009. As the Director of Programs & Operations, she develops programs and activities that further the Foundation's mission to help individuals and families with autism live life to the fullest and manages much of the administrative work that allows the organization to function on a daily basis. A significant amount of her time is spent overseeing the Foundation's three grant cycles: the Signature Grant Program, Allison Keller Education Technology Grants and Joey's Fund's direct family support grants. 

Lover of ice cream as a late-night snack and dreamer of being on House Hunters International, Lisa holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from Framingham State College. Prior to joining our team, she worked as a Business Analyst for The MathWorks, Inc. and as a Scheduling Coordinator for Focus On Service, LLC. In her free time, Lisa enjoys beach days in Maine with her husband, Don, and three kids. 

Terri Ladka picture
Terri Ladka
Director of Development

Terri joined the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism in November of 2019. As the Director of Development, she will lead and implement external-facing fundraising strategies designed to cultivate, maintain, and grow relationships with those who share our mission of helping people and families affected by autism live life to the fullest. Additionally, she will manage a team responsible for Flutie's signature annual fundraising events and Peer to Peer Fundraising program that offers corporations and individuals opportunities to partner with the Flutie Foundation to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those affected by autism.

Terri spends her free time running marathons, coaching cross country at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, and managing her household of six – husband Tom, and four kids. Terri holds a bachelor's degree in Business Management from the University of Montana. Prior to joining our team, she was the Executive Director of the Martin Richard Foundation.

Ellen Fitzpatrick
Programs & Operations Coordinator

Ellen joined the Foundation in October of 2019 as the Programs & Operations Coordinator. In this role, Ellen will manage the Database administration, support our grant cycles and related programs such as Flutie Foundation Safe & Secure Program and Fun in the Sun Watersports.

Ellen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education from Providence College, and a Master’s Degree in Autism studies and Applied Behavior Analysis from Endicott College. Prior to the Foundation, she has worked as a special education teacher, ABA therapist and as a Training and Development Coordinator for a local ABA agency. Ellen is married and enjoys spending time with her daughter and 2 golden doodles.

Elizabeth Monroe
Elizabeth Monroe
Senior Marketing Manager

Liz Monroe joined the Foundation in November of 2018 as a Marketing and Development Associate. She works closely with the Executive Director and the Director of Marketing and Event to plan and execute events and marketing campaigns. Liz also manages the Foundation’s presence on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and assists in supporting 3rd party events hosted on behalf of the Foundation.

Liz was part of a 3+1 BS/MBA program at Quinnipiac University and holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and an MBA. At Quinnipiac, Liz was heavily involved in Relay for Life and Residence Hall Council. She loves to travel, eat tacos and walk with her two labradoodles.

Ellis Gamache
Ellis Gamache
Development Coordinator

Ellie Gamache joined the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism in October of 2020. As the Development Coordinator, Ellie is tasked with all of the peer to peer fundraising initiatives, as well as assisting the Executive Director and Development Director with third-party and fundraising events. She spends the majority of her time managing Dougie’s Team and helping runners train and fundraise to support the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism.

Prior to joining the organization, Ellie worked as a Fundraising and Events Coordinator at Special Olympics Massachusetts where she planned and executed fundraising events with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Ellie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management from Endicott College with concentrations in event management and legal studies. Ellie also completed internships with K Sports & Entertainment, One Mission, & the Boston Bruins Foundation prior to her college graduation. In her free time, Ellie enjoys spending time with her friends, family, her dog, reading, and exercising.

Alyssa Shank headshot
Alyssa Shank
Marketing Coordinator

Alyssa joined the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism in August of 2021 as the Marketing Coordinator. In this role, Alyssa captures and creates content through many mediums including videography, photography, and graphic design. She works closely with the Senior Marketing Manager and the Development Team to implement marketing campaigns and strategies. Also, Alyssa assists at events and helps manage the Foundation’s social media platforms.

After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Video Production from Webster University, Alyssa worked at a marketing agency in St. Louis creating content and managing social media presences for over 15 different brands and organizations. In addition to storytelling, she is passionate about helping people and advocating for those with disabilities. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys exploring the city with friends, traveling, going to concerts, and spending time with her Mini Australian Shepherd, Leo.

Tia Dawson
Tia Dawson
Development Coordinator

Tia Dawson joined the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism in September 2021. As a Development Coordinator, Tia supports and executes Flutie events, fundraising campaigns, and volunteer recruitment. She also maintains data, including gift processing, database and list management, reporting, and donor research.

Tia is also a Content Creator for the Laboratory for Inclusion & Diversity of Sport within the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. Since June 2021, she has been in charge of designing and updating the website, as well as creating content aimed at making sports a more inclusive environment for all. Tia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. She has experience working in events and graphic design through her many internships with the Isenberg School of Management, the Boston Cannons, and Settlyt. In her free time, Tia enjoys exercising, reading, and watching sports, as well as spending time with her friends, family, and dogs.