Giant Steps Illinois Inc.

Serving the Autism Community

aka Giant Steps   |   Lisle, IL   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Giant Steps Illinois Inc.

EIN: 36-4111286


Giant Steps is committed to providing individuals with autism spectrum disorders, and their families, superior educational and therapeutic services focused on improving the quality of daily life from early childhood through adulthood.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Dr. Sylvia Smith

Main address

2500 Cabot Drive

Lisle, IL 60532 USA

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Formerly known as

Autism Training Center at Giant Steps Illinois



Subject area info

Special needs education

Vocational education


Family disability resources

Developmental disability services

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Population served info

Young adults


People with disabilities



NTEE code info

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

Secondary/High School (B25)

Autism (G84)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Tax forms


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Giant Steps Day School

Autism Education: Every student attending the Day School (K-12) at Giant Steps has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to meet their specific needs and goals within four service domains: cognitive learning and awareness, communication abilities, social/emotional development, and motor skills.
-Academic Planning
-Music Therapy
-Occupational Therapy
-Physical Therapy
-Social Work
-Speech and Language Therapy
-Computer-Based Academics
-Applied Behavior Analysis
-Inclusion and Re-Integration
-Vocational Skills
-Life Skills
-Transition Planning
-Community-Based Instruction

STRIDE - Transition Program (18-22 Years) at Giant Steps Day School. The curriculum focuses on Health and Wellness, Social Development, Independent Living Skills, Cooking and Safety Prep, Community Skills, Career Exploration, Personal Development, and Applied Academics. Additionally, we have a vocational and life skill center directly impacting the development of skills for post-secondary life.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

The Canopy Adult Program’s goal is to provide a solid academic, vocational, and life skills foundation that will position young adults with autism to successfully enter adulthood prepared and to live happy and fulfilled lives. The core values of CANOPY are Community Engagement, Available Individual Life Plans, INclusive programming, Opportunities for positive social relationships, Purposeful and age-appropriate activities, and Yes to success!

Essential components of programming include:
-Vocational Training
-Life Skills Training
-Therapeutic Riding at Rich Harvest Farms
-Community-Based Instruction
-Continued Academic Instruction

Population(s) Served
Young adults
People with disabilities

Where we work


Giant Steps Illinois Inc.
Fiscal year: Sep 01 - Aug 31
Financial documents
2022 Giant Steps Illinois, Inc. Financial Statements and Supplementary InformationAugust 31, 2022
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 0.39 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 1.4 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 16% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Giant Steps Illinois Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Sep 01 - Aug 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Giant Steps Illinois Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Sep 01 - Aug 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Giant Steps Illinois Inc.

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Sep 01 - Aug 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Giant Steps Illinois Inc.’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $234,002 $63,946 $578,031 $2,932,586 $202,556
As % of expenses 2.1% 0.6% 5.3% 25.7% 1.7%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$128,914 -$284,641 $245,767 $2,593,573 -$147,361
As % of expenses -1.1% -2.5% 2.2% 22.1% -1.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $11,578,762 $11,369,148 $11,537,064 $14,300,918 $12,524,007
Total revenue, % change over prior year -1.1% -1.8% 1.5% 24.0% -12.4%
Program services revenue 94.0% 94.0% 94.1% 82.4% 91.7%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 13.3% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 5.9% 6.0% 5.7% 4.2% 8.3%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $11,141,539 $11,203,993 $10,885,634 $11,403,316 $11,894,327
Total expenses, % change over prior year 1.4% 0.6% -2.8% 4.8% 4.3%
Personnel 88.0% 88.8% 90.3% 89.8% 87.5%
Professional fees 1.3% 1.3% 0.8% 0.7% 1.8%
Occupancy 0.0% 2.3% 2.3% 2.9% 3.3%
Interest 1.6% 1.7% 1.6% 1.2% 1.2%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 9.1% 5.9% 5.0% 5.4% 6.2%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $11,504,455 $11,552,580 $11,217,898 $11,742,329 $12,244,244
One month of savings $928,462 $933,666 $907,136 $950,276 $991,194
Debt principal payment $281,582 $245,649 $0 $2,384,445 $368,134
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $12,714,499 $12,731,895 $12,125,034 $15,077,050 $13,603,572

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 0.7 0.7 2.7 3.2 3.1
Months of cash and investments 0.7 0.7 2.7 3.2 3.1
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 0.7 0.4 0.5 2.9 2.4
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $621,421 $665,433 $2,422,242 $2,996,948 $3,024,350
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $932,188 $640,700 $798,459 $982,212 $895,418
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $11,504,273 $11,362,565 $11,452,992 $11,437,207 $11,671,621
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 27.2% 28.4% 30.9% 32.1% 34.4%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 61.6% 61.4% 64.5% 44.7% 42.0%
Unrestricted net assets $3,358,916 $3,074,275 $3,320,042 $5,913,615 $5,766,254
Temporarily restricted net assets $502,129 $603,338 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $502,129 $603,338 $676,737 $641,753 $1,068,877
Total net assets $3,861,045 $3,677,613 $3,996,779 $6,555,368 $6,835,131

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Dr. Sylvia Smith

With 17 years of service on the Giant Steps Board of Directors and a background in the field of education Dr. Sylvia Smith has assumed the role of Giant Steps' executive director. Dr. Smith's credentials include a Doctorate in Instructional Technology, Master of Science in Curriculum and Supervision, and Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education. Dr. Smith has written and taught at the graduate level, including developing graduate courses for Benedictine University, instructional design for Northern Illinois University's Instructional Technology Graduate Program, guest lectured at Northwestern University, and has published several articles in the areas of assessment and evaluation.

Dr. Smith's corporate experiences include vice president and chief learning officer for an international technology company, formerly known as McGill Digital Solutions, where her duties included management of the U.S. offices and the design of efficient corporate processes and procedures used to develop e-learning programs for companies such as Prudential Insurance (UK), Sears, GM and Chrysler. In 2006 Dr. Smith founded CadenaSmith Enterprises, where she researched, designed and developed See-n-Read® Learning Tools, a suite of patented and copyrighted reading intervention tools that help improve reading fluency and comprehension.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Giant Steps Illinois Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Giant Steps Illinois Inc.

Board of directors
as of 03/09/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr. Chris Terzich

Middle Market Banking at CIBC

Term: 2023 - 2026

Debra K. Nauman

Nauman Enterprises Inc., DBA Simply Elegant Catering

Lawrence LaVoie

USG Corporation

James Thornton

Centor NA

Rita Yadava

Pediatric Neurologist

Tom Campbell

Goldman Sachs

Fred Bell


Karen Henderson

Frankie Jones


Jacob Karamol

Development Solutions (DSI)

Chris Lauret

Walsdom Electronics

Beth Ulbrich

Muller Accounting Firm

Tim Ellsworth

RREEF Management LLC

Patrick McCartin

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/9/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/09/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.


Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser