The Homestead announced Thursday it has rebranded as Balance Autism, a change that the organization says will position it for further growth to serve children and adults with autism in Iowa and to expand its services into other states. 

About 175 staff, board and family members and other guests attended an unveiling event held Thursday evening at the Meadows Conference Center in Altoona. The organization, which has increased its capacity by about 20 percent annually each of the past five years, plans to significantly increase its footprint in the Midwest and even nationally over the next eight years, its chief executive said. 

The rebrand marks an evolution for the 25-year-old organization, which was originally started by eight families affected by autism and which now serves about 400 children and adults at six locations in Iowa. It also comes at a time when the need for autism services is rapidly growing. 

“One in 59 children have autism,” said Steve Muller, CEO of Balance Autism. “These families and individuals need an organization to help them find balance in life. Our new brand, Balance Autism, is a vehicle for our vision. It empowers us to grow, to offer new services, and to connect with a new wave of people who need our balance of skills and passion -- now, more than ever.”

The organization’s 10-year plan, which it is two years into, calls for it to grow to serve 1,000 people with autism by 2026 and to expand its staff, now at about 375, to 1,000 people. With that growth, the organization expects its budget to expand from $20 million currently to about $50 million within the next eight years. 

As part of a more sustainable strategy to provide housing for adult clients, Balance Autism plans to buy 11 houses around Greater Des Moines. The organization has already begun searching for suitable four-bedroom houses to buy, Muller said. Balance Autism has expanded to six locations in Iowa over the past seven years, with its most recent expansion to a rural service model in Burlington. 

The rebrand comes with a new website, logo, visual style and mission statement, focusing on Balance Autism’s interdisciplinary skillset. That mission statement reads: 

“At Balance Autism, we balance science with imagination, evidence with creativity, and research with compassion – to help families and individuals find balance in life. Balance Autism: For Family. For Community. For Life.”

Muller says the new brand brings together the past and the future.

“It’s all about balance. We’re honoring our organization’s rich history, while taking a step forward into our future,” he said. “More people need our services today than ever before, and Balance Autism is how we’ll connect with them.”

Learn more about Balance Autism at the organization’s new website.