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April 04, 2018

Freddie Mac Showcases Artists with Autism

In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, Freddie Mac's Abilities employee resource group teamed up with Zenaviv to display artwork from painters with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at Freddie Mac's headquarters in McLean, Virginia.

A painting by Himal Bikmal

"Individuals on the autism spectrum have made such a positive impact on Freddie Mac. They are valued employees and important members of our Neurodiversity at Work Internship program. For some of us, they enrich our personal lives as members of our family and as friends," said Jerry Weiss, Freddie Mac Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. "In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, we jumped at the opportunity to partner with Zenaviv to showcase and support some uniquely–skilled artists on the autism spectrum."

The opening ceremony was held April 2, on World Autism Day, with Weiss and Tammy Hoffman, Freddie Mac Vice President, Corporate Services and Procurement, and Executive Sponsor of Abilities.

Harish and Saket Bikmal, the founders of Zenaviv, were also in attendance. The Bikmals started Zenaviv after their son, Himal, who was diagnosed with profound autism, took up painting as a hobby. Zenaviv was created as an art community that provides those with ASD a venue to share and promote their art. The artists earn 60 percent of the proceeds from sales on Zenaviv's website.

Jerry Weiss and Harish Bikmal

Freddie Mac has made supporting individuals with autism a focus for the company in recent years. In 2012, the company created its Neurodiversity at Work Internship Program, which is designed to match Freddie Mac's business needs with the unique capabilities of individuals on the autism spectrum. Since that first class, Freddie Mac has welcomed 18 interns into the program, ultimately hiring nine for full–time positions.

Click here to learn how Freddie Mac discovers untapped talent through its autism internship program.