Three generations of Mrs. O'Connor's family - stepdaughter Julia Charlton, grandson Gideon Gray, and great-grandson Joshua (center).

May Institute Receives Bequest of Nearly $900,000; Creates First Endowment Fund


Randolph, Mass. —May Institute, a national nonprofit organization that provides services to individuals of all ages with autism and other special needs, has received a bequest of nearly $900,000 from the estate of the late Janet Wright Charlton O’Connor.

A 1947 graduate of Cornell University, Mrs. O’Connor was a homemaker. She and her family have had the deepest admiration for the work accomplished by staff and teachers at May Institute, and watched her great-grandson Joshua make significant progress over the years.

Joshua, now 22, was a residential student at the May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Randolph at the time of her death. He now receives services from May Institute’s Adult Services division.

The bequest, the largest gift of its kind ever received by May Institute, has enabled the organization to establish the Janet Charlton O’Connor Endowment Fund to support its educational and adult services as well as its National Autism Center, which promotes evidence-based treatment approached for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“We are extremely grateful to the Charlton O’Connor family for the opportunity to further plan for our future, and to know that the vital services we offer children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities will be secured for years to come,” said May Institute President and CEO Lauren C. Solotar, Ph.D., ABPP. “This gift allows us to establish a permanent base of support to strengthen our mission and to keep May Institute strong and vibrant.”

To honor Mrs. O’Connor’s legacy, many members of May Institute’s Board and staff joined three generations of Mrs. O’Connor’s family – her stepdaughter Julia Charlton, grandson Gideon Gray, and great-grandson Joshua – in the fall to dedicate the Janet Charlton O’Connor Foyer at May’s corporate headquarters in Randolph.

“Every day, May Institute changes people’s lives in profound ways. Receiving a bequest such as this serves to affirm our work,” said Stephen Young, L.L.B., Chairman of May Institute’s Board of Trustees.  “This gift allows for future growth, ensuring we remain at the forefront of providing services to children, adolescents, and adults, based on best research practices and compassionate care.”

“I have the deepest admiration for the work done by the staff and teachers at May Institute,” said Julia Charlton. “I have seen Joshua make significant progress over the years, and I hope that in the future May can continue doing what it’s been doing.”

Browse through the photo album of the dedication of the Janet Charlton O'Connor Foyer:

Janet Charlton O'Connor Foyer Dedication

To learn more about philanthropic opportunities at May Institute, visit

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