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Franklin Center Celebrates Its New Campus and New Name

Organization Successfully Closes $13.5M “Unlock Potential” Capital Campaign

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Marks Major Milestone and Honors Partnership with the Golden Valley Community

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Franklin Center, Minnesota’s only comprehensive education and services center for those on the autism spectrum or with other neurodiversities, celebrates its new campus and new name with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 28.

Franklin Center, formerly known as Academy of Whole Learning, started as a school in 2003 and has grown rapidly both in enrollment and by adding important new services. Franklin Center has dreamed of owning a building for many years, creating a space specially designed for the neurodiverse population it serves.

In order to fund the acquisition and development of the new campus in Golden Valley, Franklin Center launched a capital campaign in June 2021 with a goal to raise $10M. The campaign was titled “Unlock Potential” to underscore the mission to help develop each individual it serves. Driven by two generous lead gifts by Robert and Teri Crosby and Amy and John Higgins, the campaign was very successful raising $13.5M including campaign gifts from over 100 donors from around the country.

“You’ve already made Golden Valley proud. We are so thrilled that Franklin Center chose Golden Valley,” said Shep Harris, Mayor of Golden Valley. “I’ve seen what the teachers do here. They aren’t just heroes, they are superheroes.”

Donor Pays It Forward with Generous Gift & Name

Franklin Center was re-named in honor of a generous long-time volunteer family, Robert and Teri Crosby. Robert was diagnosed with ASD as an adult, and he is acutely aware of how different his time in school could have been, if he had access to a place like Franklin Center. Motivated to make this resource available for more families, Robert and Teri have given their gifts of time, advocacy and financial support. Hence the name, Franklin – Robert’s middle name.

“I didn’t have this kind of opportunity when I was growing up, or even as a younger man. No one at that time even had a name for my kind of neurodiversity. I just knew I was different, and that isolated me. Teri and I have been volunteering here for years, and we can see how kids and families are transformed,” said Robert Franklin Crosby.

“This one-of-a-kind organization provides holistic services to support the development of the entire person. We have an extraordinary team of teachers and staff dedicated to our community, wonderful families involved with the organization and incredibly generous donors and volunteers who see the value and need for organization,” said Kim Snow, Interim Executive Director, Franklin Center. “We are excited about our new home and the transformational opportunity it gives us to support a larger population of neurodiverse students, clients and participants.”

“As parents of a Franklin Center student and as a board leader,” said John Higgins, Past-Chair Franklin Center Board of Trustees, “my wife and I have witnessed first-hand the amazing growth of the organization from when it was only a school with 15 students to now a fully integrated operation helping hundreds of families every year. I want to thank the team of trustees and administrators who provided the guidance and leadership to help make the dream a reality. The new five-acre campus is smartly designed and absolutely beautiful, inside and out. We are profoundly grateful for all of the donors, trustees and community members who helped Franklin Center secure its future for generations to come.”

About the New Campus and Building

The new campus encompasses over five acres of land with mature trees, 50,000 square feet of facilities and an environmentally conscious design. The existing building was renovated and expanded to provide the necessary space for all the services. The building houses a school with a science lab, learning kitchen and dedicated art and music space. In addition, there is a mental and behavioral health clinic with over 20 therapists, enrichment programming and adult education facilities. The all-new gymnasium allows for sports and Special Olympics programming, and the newly landscaped outdoor space has playgrounds, a sports field and plans for outdoor classrooms to be added next summer.

Zeman Construction Co. and SRa Architecture & Interiors were the major builders and designers on this landmark project.

About Franklin Center

At Franklin Center, we transform lives by addressing the holistic academic, social, emotional and mental health needs of the neurodiverse community. We strive to enable every neurodiverse person to have an exceptional human experience.

Franklin Center was founded in 2003 by a group of parents seeking an educational model that fit the needs of their children, and now includes:

To learn more about Franklin Center and how you can support the growing need, contact Carly Kortuem, Director of Strategic Advancement at (952) 737-6900 or You can also visit


Carly Kortuem

Director of Strategic Advancement

(952) 737-6900


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