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World-Renowned Jazz Musician Rick Braun Raises over $90,000 for Autism School

World-Renowned Jazz Musician Rick Braun Raises over $90,000 for Autism School

Rick Braun is a musician, record producer and father of Emma, his 19-year-old daughter with autism. Braun's signature events raise funds for a variety of autism related causes through his immense fan base. This year's recipient, Meristem, holds a special place for the Brauns; Emma is a student at Meristem, a school for young adults on the autism spectrum.

"The change we have seen in Emma since she started at Meristem have been unbelievable," Braun said.

Emma has been learning to drive, finishing projects with an eye for detail, resolving conflicts with peers and learning to cook. She's also making friends. "The best part of Meristem is my friendships. Hanging out with kids who are like me has been great, " Emma commented.

Braun and his business partner, Sandy Riser, produce an annual river cruise for his fans and during the cruise they host a fundraising event that focuses on families affected by autism. Rick, his wife Christiane, and sometimes Emma share their stories of struggles and successes with the guests. When determining where the funds would go this year, Meristem was a logical choice to help families in a similar situation. This year's heartfelt appeal about the Meristem program moved the passengers to donate $94,178.

"When Rick told us Meristem would be the beneficiary of a fundraising event on the cruise, never did I imagine they would present us with almost $100,000. The generosity of those on board the cruise will allow us to offer several scholarships to new students," said Edmund Knighton, Meristem president. "Rick has a lot of fans, and I am his newest," he added.

Meristem helps transition young adults on the autism Spectrum to independent living, including college and career success. The Meristem Method uses experiential learning; all coursework and activities incorporate hands-on, real-world experiences. Learn more at

Rick Braun has enjoyed a career longevity that is rare in the music business. He has crafted his own distinctive sound and become a staple on contemporary jazz radio. He has produced No. 1 hits for David Benoit, Marc Antoine, and former Rod Stewart band sidekick, Jeff Golub. Braun achieved collaborative success on massive hits with Boney James, as a member of RnR with saxophonist Richard Elliot, and with BWB, a powerhouse trio completed by Grammy® winners Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown. Learn more at

Sandy Riser is the owner of RS Productions, a concert production company, and the co-owner of Rick Braun's Signature Events. Riser is a seasoned business professional and was the recipient of the 2015 Enterprising Woman of the Year Award by Enterprising Women Magazine.

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