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Image by Christian Bowen


Rooted Hearts heart sunflower logo

We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina serving families and caregivers of children living with autism.

Our Story

Our founders, Andrew and Jomaira Ortiz, understand firsthand the challenges many parents face when trying to navigate everything that comes with an autism diagnosis.


When their son was diagnosed at 21 months old, they realized they would need to learn all that came with looking for services and therapy to support their child.  While the Ortiz family was extremely blessed to have some services start within a few months, they struggled to find other services that best fit their family - a journey that took one year to navigate through and secure.


As they started to connect with other families, they realized the long waitlists were the norm for many, waiting up to 12 months on waitlists to have therapy begin.  The more they learned about brain development and the importance of learning between 0-5 years old, they lamented all of the time lost while waiting for services to begin.


A deep conviction developed and they began to think about how they can empower parents and other caregivers by implementing small changes in their daily routine to help their loved one on the autism spectrum make improvements in their daily function.  The Ortiz family connected with licensed occupational therapists and developed The Rooted Hearts Autism Toolbox Project - a curated gift box filled with toys and gadgets, along with simple ways to use the items to promote:

  • ​language development 

  • fine and gross motor skills

  • tips for healthy sensory integration

​Through Rooted Hearts, families of newly diagnosed children on the autism spectrum, and/or families who have experienced a disruption to services, are eligible to receive an Autism Toolbox at NO COST to them, regardless of their household income.

In addition to The Rooted Hearts Autism Toolbox Project, Rooted Hearts Ministries offers opportunities for families to connect through community events and educational opportunities.


The organization is open to partnering with schools, faith-based organizations, physicians, and other service providers to assist families journeying through an autism diagnosis.

Photo of the founder's family, Andrew and Jomaira Ortiz and their son who was diagnosed with Autism at 21 months old.
Rooted Hearts founders' family in a sunflower field.

Our Mission

We exist to offer support to families and caregivers of children newly diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through community, education, and resources.

Family at Airport Gate

Our Vision

We aim to provide families throughout the United States resources and education to assist in closing the gap, in which a diagnosis is given and children begin receiving therapeutic services. 


Throughout the United States, families can wait an average of 6 to 12 months to begin receiving therapeutic services after receiving a diagnosis of ASD, leaving families feeling confused, helpless, and frustrated. 


By empowering caregivers to implement small changes to daily activities and play, we believe families will become more informed in understanding their child's unique needs while helping to decrease potentially challenging or limiting behaviors.  We believe in the power of education and community building to increase awareness and acceptance.  We envision a world where families will receive the support they want and need without delay or denial based on lack of information, income, service availability, or cultural acceptance.  

Our Values

ACCEPTANCE - Individuals on the autism spectrum learn differently, but should not be treated as less than by others. We envision a world where both neurotypical and neurodivergent individuals can coexist in love, respect, compassion, and understanding.  We will do our part in raising awareness to encourage acceptance of our unique differences.


FAITH - Our organization’s name is inspired by Ephesians 3:17 which says, “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” We understand the strength it takes to navigate the complexities of finding adequate services and finding a community of people who “get it”. Our founders would not be where they are today without their love of God and the strength they have received by leaning on Him.  


COMMUNITY - We strongly believe in the idea that it takes a village to raise a child.  We exist to create safe spaces, both virtual and in-person, where individuals and families can holistically connect with others who share similar experiences and can lean on each other for support and compassion.


EDUCATION - A diagnosis of any kind can bring on a range of emotions for anyone, especially when it concerns your child.  We believe in the power of education to reduce or eliminate fears and concerns rooted in a lack of understanding or misinformation.  We exist to offer a wide range of educational resources to both individuals and families living with autism and the greater community interested in learning more about autism.

Board of Directors

Our Team

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