Emily Blunt virtually hosts 14th Annual American Institute for Stuttering’s Freeing Voices Changing Lives Gala Featuring Vice President Joe Biden
John Hendrickson, Wayne Brady, Austin Pendleton, and more participate in a virtual gala
NEW YORK, July 9, 2020 - Award-winning actress and producer, American Institute for Stuttering Board Member, and longtime supporter, Emily Blunt hosted the 14th annual American Institute for Stuttering’s (AIS) Benefit Gala, which went virtual this year due to the Covid-19 crisis.The evening featured a personal conversation with Vice PresidentJoe Biden, Emily Blunt and The Atlantic’s Senior Politics reporter, John Hendrickson, a life-long stutterer.Eric Dinallo, Chairman of the AIS Board of Directors, said, “we are privileged to have this illustrious group as champions of AIS. Vice President Biden has always been direct about the challenges that stuttering brings. Emily Blunt has brought a great deal of important visibility to the issues of stuttering and inclusivity. And, John Hendrickson has captured in print the emotional complexities of people who stutter. We celebrate their dedication, their candor, and their leadership.”
Reflecting how stuttering impacted his life, Joe Biden said, “In the end, it will be a gift, it will have a lot to do with who I become, have a lot to do with what I set out to try to do. I always was the guy who thought I could fix everything and I think it's given me an insight that I wouldn't have otherwise had... Remember, you can make a gigantic difference in a kid's life and there's so many talented kids out there now that are part of this organization.”Emily Blunt also shared her personal connection to the cause, “They often think of it as psychological, or that you have a nervous disposition or something – but it is hereditary. It is neurological, it is not your fault and there’s nothing you can do about it. I just want kids to really remember that, you know, and I want the awareness to be raised about that so that we can really support these kids and make it known that it’s very common.”Longtime AIS supporter, co-founder of The Home Depot, and owner of both the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, a Major League Soccer team, Arthur M. Blank, shared what the Institute means to him, "as someone who stuttered as a child, I know how it feels to be dismissed because of the fluency of speech. It’s important that every voice is heard, which is why I’m proud to support the American Institute for Stuttering. What really matters is that you speak your truth, whether you stutter or not, and believe in yourself.”Now, more than ever before, AIS’ work has become critical as many clients who stutter have reported feelings of isolation and concern about the lack of social interaction that has resulted from the pandemic. AIS has continued to provide a supportive sense of community during these very difficult times.“We expect that as public awareness of stuttering continues to increase, we will see a decline in negative media portrayals and the still-present mockery and discrimination that people who stutter often unfortunately receive,” said Dr. Heather Grossman, AIS Director and therapist.More than 3 million Americans and 60 million people worldwide stutter. AIS offers full and partial scholarships for its therapy, and has treated over 10,000 people across the United States in its 33-year history.The American Institute for Stuttering offers affordable, state-of-the-art stuttering therapy and support to people who stutter of all ages as well as guidance to their families. AIS also provides much needed clinical training to speech-language professionals and students seeking expertise in stuttering treatment.Video from the conversation between Vice President Joe Biden and Emily Blunt can be found HERE.B-roll from the event can be found HERE.Photos from the event can be found HERE. Thank you to the American Institute for Stuttering sponsors Arthur Blank, Laurie Tisch, Will and Carolyn Blodgett, AIG, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Citadel, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services, Donald Sussman, Fairstead, Eric Dinallo and Priscilla Almodovar, Ferring, Rachel and Tom Cortese, Debevoise & Plimpton, Emalex Biosciences and Suzy Welch.--The American Institute for Stuttering is a leading non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide universally affordable, state-of-the-art speech therapy to people of all ages who stutter, guidance to their families, and much-needed clinical training to speech professionals wishing to gain expertise in stuttering. Offices are located in New York, NY and Atlanta, GA, and services are also available Online. Our mission extends to advancing public and scholarly understanding of this often misunderstood disorder.
Carl Herder, M.A., CCC-SLP, BCS-F
Atlanta Clinic Director, Board-Certified Specialist in Fluency Disorders
Carl is the Clinic Director for our Atlanta office. He joined AIS in New York in 2006 and worked closely with our founder, Catherine Montgomery for five years. In 2016, he moved to Atlanta to open our first satellite office.