RVC Blue Speaks raises $125,000 at the 'Light It Up Blue' Gala


More than 250 people attended the sixth annual “Light It Up Blue” Gala, hosted by RVC Blue Speaks, on Saturday night at the Coral House in Baldwin. This year’s fundraiser event recognized honorees Wayne and Karen Lipton of Rockville Centre for their decades of volunteer service, philanthropy and advocacy.

RVC Blue Speaks, the largest grassroots nonprofit charity on Long Island dedicated to raising awareness and support for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, raised more than $125,000 this year, between in kind and direct contributions.

Anthony Cancellieri, co-founder of RVC Blue Speaks, said that the event was the best-attended gala to date. Since its inception in 2017, the annual gala has raised more than $700,000 for families and individuals impacted by autism.

“There is no stopping us now from reaching $1 million dollars in the next few years,” Cancellieri said. “It was a truly magical evening.”

Cancellieri created the organization with his wife, Marylou, in 2016, after their two-year-old grandson, Louis, was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The goal of the organization is to promote awareness and acceptance of those affected by autism spectrum disorder so that their quality of life is enhanced and their potential is fulfilled and to help raise funding for genetic research, support programs and change the conversation about autism into action and progress.

“RVC Blue Speaks has consistently proven their dedication to children and young adults on Long Island with ASD. As parents of a child on the Autism Spectrum, our late son Adam, we understand and appreciate the need for strong community advocacy and support,” Wayne and Karen Lipton said in a joint statement. “We are committed to the mission of RVC Blue Speaks and deeply touched by this honor.”

To date, the organization has given thousands of dollars to support those with autism through grants and scholarship programs. RVC Blue Speaks has generously given to Adelphi University’s Bridges Program, the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Hagedorn Little Village School in Seaford.

RVC Blue Speaks has also partnered with Mount Sinai South Nassau to fund two “Louie,” Vecta machines that provide a calming atmosphere for people with autism spectrum disorder in the stressful and often unknown environment of an emergency room or hospital, and will be funding a sensory space in the hospital’s Feil Family Pavilion Emergency Department.

It has also awarded thousands in scholarships for high school seniors in local school districts on Long Island and has started to implement plans to partner with the Village of Rockville Centre on a community-wide “light it up blue” awareness campaign for the month of April.

To learn more about the organization and its goals, visit RVCBlueSpeaks.org.