Bill Pearson

Community Service Award

Autism Society of Alabama

The Pearson, Hand & Chua Group

Morgan Stanley

Ever since his grandson was diagnosed with autism 12 years ago, Bill Pearson has worked with a grandfather’s passion to improve the lives of people with autism and their families.

Mr. Pearson, a financial advisor and senior vice president with the Pearson, Hand, & Chua Group at Morgan Stanley in Birmingham, Ala., has served on the board of the Autism Society of Alabama since 2008, including a term as board president from 2011-13.

Two of his most significant achievements include successfully lobbying the state to improve private insurance coverage for autism spectrum therapies and attaining an Alabama Department of Revenue specialty auto license plate for autism spectrum disorder, an important tool for fundraising and building awareness.

Mr. Pearson is also championing a local, church-supported residential home for adults with autism spectrum disorder to use as a model housing solution on the state and national level.

“There’s been a surge in young adults with autism. What’s going to happen to them? Housing and residential care is a challenge,” Mr. Pearson said.

His activism comes from his heart.

“When you have a grandchild with some kind of condition, you are also thinking about the suffering of your own child. We hurt for both of them. This work has provided me an outlet to help not only my family but the community as well.”