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Special Olympics

Learn more about the mission of Special Olympics.


Welcome to the heart of inclusion, empowerment, and transformation. At Special Olympics, we are dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID), a mission that transcends the boundaries of sport to address discrimination in all its forms.

Our Mission: Unifying Through Sport and Beyond

Special Olympics harnesses the power of unification through sport as its primary platform. However, our mission extends far beyond the realm of competition. We aim to combat discrimination and promote inclusivity, ensuring that the 6.5 million people with ID in the United States and the 200 million globally are no longer subjected to injustice, exclusion, and discrimination. Too often, individuals with ID are denied their basic human rights, an issue we strive to rectify.

The Silent Crisis: Premature Deaths and Unaddressed Conditions

Startling statistics reveal the harsh reality faced by those with ID. On average, individuals with ID pass 16 years prematurely due to undiagnosed, untreated, and often preventable conditions and illnesses. Special Olympics is committed to raising awareness, advocating for proper healthcare, and eradicating the silent crisis that shortens the lives of our community members.

Workplace Inequality: Breaking Down Barriers

In the professional sphere, adults with ID encounter significant challenges. Only 18.5% are competitively employed, a stark contrast to the 65% of adults without ID in similar roles. Within this 18.5%, most individuals possess only mild disabilities, fully capable of contributing more to their workplaces while earning an equitable living. Special Olympics endeavors to break down these barriers, fostering environments where everyone, regardless of ability, can thrive and contribute meaningfully.

A Voice Against Bullying: Advocating for a Safer Tomorrow

Sadly, individuals with ID are 2-3 times more likely to experience bullying in school than their peers without ID. Special Olympics takes a stand against this injustice, advocating for a safer educational environment and promoting awareness to prevent bullying. Through education and understanding, we aim to create a world where everyone, regardless of intellectual ability, can learn and grow without fear of discrimination.

Stats About ID
Emphasizing the urgency of inclusion, Special Olympics advocates for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
United States ID population
competitively employed
more likely to experience bullying

Brand Recognition and Trust

Special Olympics boasts an impressive 90% brand recognition among U.S. consumers. This widespread awareness is a testament to the impactful work we do and the lives we touch. In the Morning Consult 2022 Report, Special Olympics proudly earned the title of the #4 Most Trusted Nonprofit, reinforcing the confidence that the public has in our organization.

Community Support: A Network of Advocates

Our programs have garnered overwhelming support, with 95% of consumers expressing the belief that Special Olympics programs are important or very important. The impact of our initiatives extends far beyond statistics; 1 in 4 people personally knows someone who has participated in Special Olympics, and nearly 2 in 5 have actively supported our cause. This network of advocates is vital in championing our mission and fostering a more inclusive society.

A Shared Connection: Touching Lives in Every Household

In a profound reflection of our reach, 1/3 of all households in the United States know someone with ID. Furthermore, 5.1% of households have an immediate family member with ID, representing not just lives touched but families enriched by the diversity and strength within.

Stats About Special Olympics
Special Olympics’ brand recognition surpasses boundaries, with millions of athletes and volunteers worldwide, illustrating its profound reach and influence in fostering inclusivity and empowerment.
most trusted nonprofit
believe our programs are important/very important
households that know someone with ID

Whether you’ve been touched by our programs, supported our cause, or are just discovering the transformative power of inclusion, your involvement is integral to creating a world where everyone, regardless of ability, has the opportunity to shine. Join us and together we can break down barriers, champion inclusivity, and build a world where every individual can live a life of dignity and respect.

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