Special Olympics is pleased to recognize our partners for their vital support.
The themes of inclusion, diversity, and well-being are woven into the very fabric of Special Olympics. These values are also part of Coca-Cola’s brands and written on the hearts of the Coca-Cola people who bring them to life all around the world.
That’s one reason our 50-year partnership is so strong today and why we were so excited about the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games and looking forward with great anticipation to a fantastic 50th Anniversary in 2018.Muhtar Kent
Chairman of the Board
The Coca-Cola CompanyThe Coca-Cola CompanyFor the past 50 years, The Coca-Cola Company has led a global commitment to showcasing the unlimited potential of individuals with intellectual disabilities and the power of sport to bring people together and transform lives.
In March 2017, the Coca-Cola team in Austria brought the system together to activate the Special Olympics
World Winter Games in a number of ways, including an integrated marketing campaign portraying athletes as heroes in their communities.
Centered on the tag line, “We Love Special Olympics,” the company activations began with associates from all parts of the world personalizing wooden hearts to send to delegations from each country. The hearts held messages of encouragement and were held by the athletes as they entered the stadium during the Opening Ceremony Parade of Athletes.
Leveraging their music platform, Coca-Cola also released a ‘unified song’ called “Can You Feel It?” performed by Austrian singer Rose May Alaba, as well as musicians with intellectual disabilities from the organization Jugend am Werk (Youth at Work).
Additionally, Coca-Cola partnered with Special Olympics and the Law Enforcement Torch Run to deliver the inaugural Schladming Splash Unified Polar Plunge. The event raised more than $400,000, and brought together over a hundred Law Enforcement Torch Runners from around the world as well as Special Olympics International Leadership, Board Members, celebrities and honored guests, and of course the iconic Coca-Cola Polar bear.
Certainly, Coca-Cola and our people—across more than 200 countries—take great pride in our association with, and support of, Special Olympics.
People with intellectual disabilities are still one of the largest groups of underserved individuals in health care, but we're making progress helping them to get access to quality care - by raising awareness, educating more health-care providers to be able to care for them, and developing relationships with key partners, such as health-care systems, universities, and government agencies.Tom Golisano
Founder, Golisano FoundationGolisano FoundationThe Golisano Foundation has changed the landscape of Special Olympics Health. Led by Tom Golisano, founder and Chairman of Paychex, Inc., the Golisano Foundation is one of the nation’s leading foundations dedicated exclusively to helping organizations that assist people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Mr. Golisano’s philanthropy totals more than $304 million, and his gifts of more than $37 million to Special Olympics have helped improve health for people with intellectual disabilities globally.
Special Olympics Healthy Communities®, which launched in 2012 with the support of Mr. Golisano and the Golisano Foundation, is now opening doors to year-round access to health care in communities in 54 countries on six continents. This model global health initiative aims to reduce the severe health disparities that exist for people with intellectual disabilities both in accessing essential health services and improving their health status.
In 2017, the first Golisano Global Health Leadership Awards were presented by Golisano Foundation Executive Director Ann Costello in a ceremony at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. The awards recognized seven leading organizations and individuals, one in each Special Olympics Region, who are championing and increasing access to inclusive health care for people with intellectual disabilities. The Golisano Foundation’s legacy of breaking down barriers and expanding access to health care for people with intellectual disabilities continues, as 100 locations are poised to become Special Olympics Healthy Communities by 2020.
Pioneer PartnerLaw Enforcement Torch RunFounded in 1981, the Law Enforcement Run®for Special Olympics is the largest grassroots awareness and fundraising group for the movement. What started as a run in 1981, has grown globally to 97,000 law enforcement members raising over $675 million since its inception.
In 2017, 130 law enforcement members, logistics personnel and Special Olympics athletes, representing 23 countries, served as Guardians of the Flame and ran the Flame of Hopethroughout Austria. Members were globally selected by Torch Run programs to represent their countries on the Final Leg team.
The first World Winter Games Unified Plunge presented by The Coca-Cola Company took place in Schladming, Austria, where law enforcement, athletes, sponsors and Board members were “freezin’ for a reason” and collectively raised over $400,000 for Special Olympics.
LETR for Special Olympics represents members around the world committed to creating communities of inclusion, and we are a stronger movement because of their unwavering dedication.
Pioneer PartnerA Very Special ChristmasThe ‘A Very Special Christmas’ albums, created by world renowned musicians, producers, video artists, A&M Records, and our investments, have generated over $130 million since the first album launched in 1987. In 2017, over $2.7 million was allocated by the Christmas Records Trust to support Program development and fund 91 Christmas Records Grants. These annual grants develop and strengthen leadership, grow Program sustainability, create competitions, and train athletes and coaches. Since 1988, the Christmas Records Trust has invested over $80 million in Special Olympics Programs. We are grateful to so many who made and make this generosity possible.
Champion PartnerBank of AmericaBank of America has been a partner of Special Olympics for over three decades, working with Special Olympics to build a more diverse and inclusive society. This long history of support shows a strong commitment to giving opportunities to people with disabilities and advocating for inclusion and respect. This year, Bank of America was the presenting sponsor for the first Unified Talks series launched at the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria. The series provided a discussion platform to raise important topics related to inclusion, education, health and leadership to a broad audience of business leaders and the local community. The company continued its support of the Sargent Shriver International Global Messengers, as well as Special Olympics Athlete Leadership, which allows athletes to explore opportunities for greater participation in the movement beyond sports training and competition. Bank of America was also the premier sponsor of Special Olympics USA delegations competing in the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria and will continue this support ahead of the upcoming 2019 World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi. Bank of America is also a legacy partner and platinum sponsor of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle.
Champion PartnerESPNESPN has invested over $2 million in cash and in-kind to support Special Olympics' goal of building Unified Sports programming and resources in 10,000 schools, reaching 100,000 new or re-certified coaches and realizing 7 million acts of inclusion by 2020. Included in this investment was capacity-building resources for a new global cloud based CRM project, ongoing research to help SO establish a global inclusion index and integration with leagues such as MLS and NBA.
Champion PartnerLions Clubs InternationalLions Clubs International and the Lions Clubs International Foundation have used the transformative power of community service to enrich the lives of athletes and entire communities across the world as part of a growing global partnership. This has been accomplished through a variety of innovative programs, including signature support of the Opening Eyes vision care program, engaging Leo youth leaders as Unified Sports partners, supporting movement-wide leadership development, supporting families through the Family Health Forum initiative, and much more.
Through the partnership platform “Mission: Inclusion,” Lions Clubs International continues to serve as the world’s leader in community service, and continues to bring life-changing services to athletes, partners, families and volunteers throughout the world. In 2017, the Lions Clubs’ centennial year, the Aruna Abhey Oswal Trust also gave generous support. Lions Clubs of Japan also contributed to making 2017 a stellar year for unity and inclusion.
Official Technology PartnerMicrosoftAs Special Olympics’ Official Technology Partner, Microsoft provides both financial and in-kind support, including software for all Special Olympics’ 220+ accredited Programs, hardware, technological expertise, and global visibility through Microsoft brand channels.
In 2017, Microsoft served as a main sponsor of Special Olympics World Winter Games, and provided hardware and software needed to run the Games. Additionally, they supported 29 athletes competing in Austria by raising visibility and sharing their stories through a digital campaign.
At the 2018 USA Games in Seattle, Microsoft will be involved as the Premier Partner with local employee engagement and activation.
Microsoft also continues to support Special Olympics in the modernization of its technology with support and consultation on the new Games Management System (Connect) and Health platforms to work towards the goal of having cloud-based systems globally.
Burson-MarstellerBurson-Marsteller (www.Burson-Marsteller.com) is the public relations agency of record for Special Olympics International.This commitment is led by Burson-Marsteller’s sports and entertainment marketing specialty,Fan Experience, and is supported by the firm’s offices across the globe.The Burson-Marsteller team provides Special Olympics with strategic communications programs, event strategy and celebrity ambassadorship engagements to support its youth-activation initiatives which inspire participation in the movement through activism, social inclusion and the Special Olympics Unified Sports ®program. In 2017, Burson-Marsteller increased awareness and visibility for Special Olympics’ Play Unified campaign and helped set the stage for Special Olympics’ 50th anniversary in 2018 with a broad communications effort. As Special Olympics heads into its next 50 years, Burson-Marsteller is helping to shape the communications strategy by targeting a younger audience – one quarter of the world’s population is under 25 years old – to promote inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities across society.
CITGOCITGO’s support of Special Olympics is built around a mutual passion for making everyone feel welcome and included. In 2016, CITGO expanded their support and became a national sponsor of the Unified Strategy for Schools, providing funding to key markets where they have refineries, as well as engaging their employees. CITGO was also an official supplier to the 2017 Law Enforcement Torch Run Truck Convoy, an annual event that brings together Special Olympics athletes and families, law enforcement, and the trucking industry as a way to increase public awareness of Special Olympics’ efforts to build stronger communities where everyone can get involved.
EssilorEssilor International and the Essilor Vision Foundation have been Global Partners of the Special Olympics movement since 2002. Through ongoing support to the Opening Eyes program, Essilor International provides ophthalmic lenses, equipment, and key technical volunteer support to vision screening programs worldwide, empowering the movement to offer athletes in need with prescription eyewear tailored their individual needs. Essilor International has helped provide life-changing support to over 100,000 athletes in over 80 nations, including strong support at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. Local Essilor subsidiaries, laboratories and distributors have continued to answer the call to action of Special Olympics athletes to support achieving health justice by providing increased access to important health services, interventions, and education on the importance of sight preservation in sports and in life.
European UnionThe European Union is a long-standing partner of the Special Olympics movement, providing key support and funding across the 28 EU member states. Through the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme, Special Olympics received a €6.5 million grant to support the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. Nearly 2,600 athletes, including more than 1,200 from the European Union, competed at the Games. The EU grant ensured the success and ongoing positive legacy impact of the event throughout all EU Member States. The funds also helped to make possible a variety of sport- and health-focused projects, each of which have significantly improved regional awareness raising, as well as the overall health and well-being of European citizens with intellectual disabilities, their families and the wider community.
Exxon MobilSince 2015, through the support of ExxonMobil, Special Olympics Nigeria has been providing malaria and HIV/AIDS education, testing and services to people with intellectual disabilities (ID), their families and communities. “Skillz for Life” is an adapted malaria and HIV/AIDS curriculum implemented alongside football practices, and culminates in a Unified tournament where testing and referrals for treatment are provided.
In 2017, the curriculum was launched in eight states of the South-South and South-East Regions of Nigeria, reaching 2,361 athletes. Additionally, 1,902 individuals received free malaria tests, 1,750 family members attended Family Health Forums, six tournaments were held, and over 1,600 people were tested for HIV.
In schools, education sessions were conducted in a team environment and included people with and without ID. This project has been providing critical support for parents and coaches, breaking down barriers and reducing stigma and discrimination. The curriculum has effectively facilitated sustainable, healthy communities in Nigeria.
Finish LineFinish Line has been a partner of Special Olympics since 2012, supporting the movement through robust volunteer engagement and in-store fundraising. The company is also a Platinum Level Sponsor of the 2018 USA Games.
In 2017, the Finish Line Youth Foundation funded 34 Special Olympics Programs across the United States to provide essential volunteer engagement and support for athletes going to the 2018 USA Games in Seattle. Additionally, the Youth Foundation is outfitting state basketball teams with premium sneakers for the USA Games.
The Youth Foundation recently concluded its sixth annual fundraising campaign, “Spreading Unstoppable Joy,” which featured athlete Daina Shilts from Wisconsin. Her snowboarding career highlights include six World Games medals and three X Games medals. Programs in 45 states received funds as a result of this campaign.
HasbroHasbro has partnered with Special Olympics since 2016, as part of BE FEARLESS BE KIND, the company’s signature philanthropic initiative designed to inspire and empower kids to have compassion, empathy, and courage to stand up for others and be inclusive throughout their lives. In 2017, Hasbro provided support for Special Olympics Unified Schools through grants to 11 Programs in 8 countries supporting Unified programming in 170 schools and engaging over 6,000 youth with and without intellectual disabilities.Additionally, Hasbro awarded 10 youth in the United States with BE FEARLESS BE KIND Awards, recognizing exceptional leaders for inclusion. Hasbro’s continued partnership includes Bronze sponsorship of the Special Olympics 2018 USA Games, grant support for Unified Schools globally, as well as a generous five-year commitment to support the Unified Generation as a part of the Choose to Include Campaign.
HerbalifeHerbalife Nutrition became a new global supporter of Special Olympics in 2016. They continued their support into 2017 to help grow Special Olympics’ ongoing fitness strategy committed to improving the wellness and fitness of our athletes and supporters through increased physical activity, and better nutrition and hydration. Several Herbalife Nutrition products available in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil featured the Special Olympics logo. As in years past, Herbalife Nutrition employees, members and independent distributors have generously volunteered to support our athletes around the globe. In 2017, many of these Herbalife Nutrition local teams also provided support to several delegations that participated in the 2017 Special Olympics Winter Games in Austria.
IKEA FoundationSince 2016, the IKEA Foundation has become a critical player in expanding the reach of Special Olympics’ youth programs globally. A major advocate for children’s right to play and develop, IKEA Foundation has committed to supporting the growth of Special Olympics Young Athletes through the Foundation’s “Let’s Play for Change” Good Cause campaign, an annual initiative where IKEA co-workers and customers join together to help others. This unique initiative is committed to helping Special Olympics expand the reach of Young Athletes and inclusive sports programming in Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Thailand – with a goal of advancing concepts of play time, development, learning, equal participation and sports activity for children in this region. Through 2019, our goal is to include 350,000 children in Young Athletes activities, thereby creating 5,000 socially inclusive communities that foster the development and growth of children with intellectual disabilities.
As part of their IWitness program, select employees from IKEA stores are given the opportunity to experience projects that the IKEA Foundation is funding globally. This year, IKEA co-workers from across Southeast Asia visited programs in India and Thailand to witness first-hand the ways Special Olympics enables young children with intellectual disabilities to experience the joy of sport and play through Young Athletes. We are honored to participate in the “Let’s Play for Change” campaign and grateful to the IKEA Foundation for its commitment to expanding the reach of Young Athletes.
MetLife FoundationMetLife Foundation, the philanthropic arm of global insurer MetLife, last year launched a three-year partnership with Special Olympics. The Foundation’s support, a clear demonstration of a commitment to serving the communities where MetLife operates, is centered on the expansion of Young Athletes, a sport and play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities ages 2 to 7. Support from MetLife Foundation enabled Special Olympics to launch Young Athletes in five countries and expand activities in 21 additional countries in the Europe Eurasia and Middle East/North Africa regions. With their direct support, almost 4,500 children with and without disabilities participated in Young Athletes activities, gaining motor, social and cognitive skill development through inclusive play. MetLife associates volunteered at Young Athletes events in eight countries across MetLife’s Europe and Middle East/ North Africa regions. In addition to the three-year Young Athletes partnership, MetLife also chose Special Olympics as a partner for their 2017 Community Week with over 400 employee volunteers in 17 countries.
Perfect SensePerfect Sense has been an integral innovator and collaborator in the quickly evolving online presence of Special Olympics around the world. Perfect Sense has joined with Special Olympics as a technology partner since its inception, leading the movement through the ever-changing digital landscape and positioning strategic initiatives such as Special Olympics World Games and our Play Unified campaign for global success.
In 2017, Perfect Sense invested critical support in our 4thAnnual Hannah Teter Unified Snowboard Race in Aspen, Colorado. The event brought together top Special Olympics snowboarders with Olympic and professional snowboarders who raced together to breakdown barriers and change attitudes. In March, 11 Perfect Sense employees traveled to the World Games in Austria to lead the Unified Sports Experiences, a series of seven exhibition events that united hundreds of athletes and Unified partners as teammates. Additionally, in June, Perfect Sense hosted the Perfect Sense Unified Challenge five-day golf tournament in Washington, D.C., which partnered Special Olympics golfers from the United States with wounded veterans and teenagers from The First Tee with PGA TOUR professionals. Perfect Sense also provided valuable in-kind services including the design and development of two new digital properties—Special Olympics’ inaugural online annual report and AbuDhabi2019.org.
SafiloSafilo has been an active Global Partner of Special Olympics since 2003. Through Safilo’s support of the vision care of individuals with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics athletes are able to receive prescription eyewear and UV-protective sunglasses in Opening Eyes vision screening programs in over 80 nations. Since the inception of the partnership, hundreds of thousands of Special Olympics athletes have received high-quality vision care, as well as high-fashion eyewear. In addition, as part of its support of the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, Safilo generously provided over 2,700 pairs of ski goggles and 600 ski helmets to both enhance the winter sports participation of athletes, as well as build upon the legacy of the Games as athletes compete in their home nations. The partnership between Special Olympics and Safilo continues to make a tremendous impact and increase health care access to one of the most marginalized populations in the world today.
Samuel Family FoundationKim Samuel, Special Olympics Board Member, and the Samuel Family Foundation have been proud and long-term supporters and champions of Special Olympics, sharing the vision that inclusion through sport is the key to ensuring people with intellectual disabilities are included and experience a sense of belonging in their communities. Special Olympics and the Samuel Family Foundation work together to challenge the global injustice, intolerance and isolation all too often experienced by individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families.
In 2017, Kim Samuel and the Samuel Family Foundation committed to expand their support of Special Olympics athletes around the world. Through a groundbreaking new initiative focused on increased engagement among athlete siblings, we are working like never before to connect family members to the larger movement in a new way. Support from the Samuel Family Foundation is also helping to expand our youth initiatives by identifying and amplifying innovative concepts driven by young people and bringing them to life. Special Olympics is grateful to Ms. Samuel and the Foundation for their long-term commitment to Special Olympics and our shared mission to reduce social isolation and stigma within our communities.
TD BankSince 2009, TD Bank has partnered with Special Olympics on an annual fundraising campaign. This amazing partnership has raised more than $9.7 million and increased awareness for the Play Unified movement. Each year over 1,200 TD Bank stores from Maine to Florida participate in this six-week campaign focused on raising dollars and awareness to support Special Olympics. Chapters in Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia and Vermont benefit from this unique partnership and commitment from TD Bank.
TD Bank customers engage in this unique campaign by purchasing Special Olympics branded bracelets. TD also offers a series of collectible Special Olympics Athlete Trading Cards to customers and friends. Changing each year, trading cards feature 50 athletes from Maine to Florida and are available at TD stores and special events. In addition, a unique microsite (www.meetourathletes.org) compliments the campaign and provides customers and TD employees the opportunity to learn more about Special Olympics athletes. TD remains deeply committed at all levels of the organization to raising dollars, supporting volunteerism and sharing with its customers TD's commitment to inclusion and the mission of Special Olympics.
Toys "R" UsToys “R” Us, Inc. and The Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund continued their long history of supporting Special Olympics in 2017, helping strengthen and expand Young Athletes programs around the world. Toys “R” Us provided grants to 22 Special Olympics Programs in 19 countries, providing sport and play opportunities for children with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics’ partnership with Toys “R” Us has helped grow this vital program that impacts children, caregivers, teachers, and communities and is proven to improve motor skills and social emotional learning of children with intellectual disabilities, as well as teach the principles of inclusion and acceptance at an early age.
UNICEF USAIn countries throughout the world, UNICEF’s generous support has enabled Special Olympics inclusive development programming to expand into new communities and nations as part of a growing global partnership for children of all abilities. Special Olympics and UNICEF continue to collaborate to bring increased services to athletes of all abilities in the areas of global health, inclusive sports, early childhood development, youth activation and more. In addition, through the leadership of Global Spokesperson Lucy Meyer, Special Olympics and UNICEF USA have helped bring added visibility and sub-Program development to a range of nations, including Jamaica, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.
VoyaIn 2017, Voya Financial and Special Olympics embarked on a new partnership to promote financial wellness and inclusion to Special Olympics athletes across the country. Voya is committed to making a secure financial future possible – one person, one family at a time – especially to those who may require extra care. Through the company’s Voya Cares™ initiative, which focuses on better serving the disability community through internal and external efforts, Voya is working with Special Olympics to impact the lives of people with special needs as well as their caregivers nationwide. To spark a national conversation and kick off future Special Olympics inclusion initiatives, Voya launched the #InvestInSomethingSpecial campaign on social media, celebrating Special Olympics athletes and their goals beyond sports.
Y&R2017 proved another exciting year for the Y&R/Special Olympics partnership. In our shared mission to create a more inclusive world, we developed and launched a new global brand campaign with a new look and feel. We drove new content, launching the most engaging piece of content for Special Olympics in its history – the video “Born Apart, which earned 14 million views in three days – and supported the 2017 World Winter Games with a campaign that drove the “Heartbeat for the World.” We also helped launch the Refugee/Special Olympics Partnership at the EU Refugee Summit.
Special Olympics is a cornerstone client of Y&R Inspire Change, a global social impact practice geared toward both nonprofit organizations and brands incorporating social purpose strategies. This practice builds on Y&R’s more than seven decades of experience working with nonprofits and brands to elevate social causes. We exist to help nonprofits and brands propel social change and change the world for the better.
Government PartnerCenters for Disease Control and PreventionThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supports work that improves the overall health and quality of life for people living with disabilities, including those with intellectual disabilities. The CDC has provided funding and public health expertise to Special Olympics since 2002. CDC's support of the Healthy Athletes program facilitates health screenings, education, services and support to athletes in a fun, welcoming environment, and provides specialized training for doctors and other health professionals.
The CDC supports the efforts of Special Olympics to expand access to follow-up care and wellness programing for athletes with intellectual disabilities, to partner with medical schools to integrate appropriate training and education for the next generation of health professionals, to help elevate the discussion about health and intellectual disability across the country, and to advance U.S. national health policy to be more inclusive.
CDC supports the inclusion of people with disabilities in public health programs that prevent disease and promote healthy behaviors and safety, while working to eliminate barriers to health care and improve access to routine preventive services.
This publication (journal article, etc.) was supported by the Grant or Cooperative Agreement Number, 5NU27DD001156, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.
Government PartnerU.S. Office of Special Education Programs
These generous partners made significant contributions in 2017.
These organizations have given $50M+ over their lifetime
A Very Special Christmas
Law Enforcement Torch Run
These organizations have given $10M+ over their lifetime and also give $1M+ annually
The Coca-Cola Company*
Bank of America*
Lions Clubs International
Global Platinum Partners
The Coca-Cola Company*
Bank of America*
Recording Artists of Christmas Records Trust
Esslior Vision Foundation
Lions Clubs International
Samuel Family Foundation
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education
Global Gold Partners
Global Silver Partners
Toys "R" Us
Y & R
Global Bronze Partners
Procter & Gamble
Sun Culture Foundation
Alex and Ani
American Express Foundation
Knights of Columbus
US Fund for UNICEF
Wrigley Company Foundation
Boston's Pizza Foundation
City Football Group
Dun & Bradstreet
Engel & Völkers North America
Johnson & Johnson
Laureus Sport for Good Foundation
Optometry Giving Sight
Special Hope Foundation
RSM/David Love III Foundation
AIPS (International Sports Press Association)
Aspen Skiing Company
FIFA/Football For Hope
Major League Soccer
North American Ski Police
One World Play
Professional Golfers Association (PGA)
UEFA (Union of European Football Association)
United States Bowling Congress
USGA (United States Golf Association)
* recognizes Inclusion Revolution supporters.