Foundation Donor: The Carls Foundation

The Carls Foundation has a long history of making a difference throughout the state of Michigan and beyond since its founding in 1961 by William and Marie Carls. The foundation was established to carry out the charitable activities of Mr. and Mrs. Carls through philanthropic gifts for the purposes of child welfare; recreational, welfare and educational programs; and preservation.

Starr Commonwealth has been the beneficiary of the Foundation’s generosity, whose support has made it possible for our organization to serve more children and families than we had ever thought possible. Gifts from the Carls Foundation have supported the startup and renovation of our Starr-PsychSystems Autism Center in Harper Woods, which serves children and adults in metro Detroit with autism spectrum disorders in need of assessment, diagnosis and treatment. In particular, the Autism Center has targeted underserved children of low-income families who qualify for Medicaid.


The therapeutic playscape at the Starr-PsychSystems Autism Center.

Support from the Carls Foundation has allowed us to expand our team of treatment experts at the Autism Center to include a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who provides assessment, diagnosis, and evidence-based Applied Behavioral Analysis treatment to children, adults and families. Support from the Foundation has also enabled Starr to increase and improve its therapy spaces to create environments where every child and family can flourish. This year, an outdoor therapeutic playscape was installed at the Autism Center for use by children on the Autism spectrum during therapy thanks to a generous gift from the Carls Foundation.

Most recently, the Carls Foundation supported Starr Commonwealth through a $216,000 grant that will support the final capital improvements to the Autism Center in 2015 and 2016. This gift will fund the final renovations necessary to ensure our Harper Woods site meets the needs of the clients we serve and provides a state of the art facility for children, adults, and families who receive Autism services. Improvements will be made to the structure to ensure complete ADA accessibility, in addition to improving our telecommunications, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems at the Autism Center.

Since our first gift was received in 1994, the Carls Foundation has provided more than $473,000 in charitable gifts to Starr Commonwealth to make a positive impact on the health and well-being of disadvantaged children from across Michigan. We value the continued partnership and philanthropic commitment of the Carls Foundation in helping Starr Commonwealth to fulfill its mission of creating positive environments where children and families flourish.

If you would like to contribute to helping Starr fulfill its mission, visit