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Building Communities

Youngsters with intellectual disabilities in Lilongwe, Malawi, take part in Young Athletes, a Special Olympics sport and play program for children with intellectual disabilities. The focus is on fun activities that are important to mental and physical growth. Photo by Kristin Hughes

Special Olympics spreads compassion and acceptance in a way that can unite the world. Our goal is to awaken everyone -- and every community -- to each person’s common humanity. Understanding brings acceptance; acceptances bring peace. This vision of inclusion starts at the local level. It's expanding on a global scale.

Despite the rain, a small crowd turns out in Rwanda to watch two women athletes race down the track

Building Support. Despite the rain, spectators line up to see two young women race down a track in Rwanda.

Communities of Support

There are about 200 million people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Our goal is to reach out to every one of them – and their families as well.

Special Olympics does this through a wide range of trainings, competitions, health screenings and fund-raising events. We also create opportunities for families, community members, local leaders, businesses, law enforcement, celebrities, dignitaries and others to band together to change attitudes and support athletes.

Special Olympics creates communities of support everywhere it goes. We hold 50,000 competitions a year -- about 136 each day. Our Games and competitions bring together athletes, coaches, volunteers, supporters and leaders of the community.

Special Olympics has the support of governments worldwide. We have helped bring about policies to improve education, health care, and employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities all around the world. Some of our key program efforts to build communities include: Athlete Leadership Programs, Family Engagement, Healthy Athletes, Project UNIFY and Young Athletes.


Connecting Us All

Special Olympics knows no boundaries. Without regard to gender, race, religion, economic or education level, Special Olympics has the ability to unite all walks of life.

This spirit of generosity, inclusion and volunteerism helps to connect the community as a whole. In this way, we will build a stronger, safer world.

Your Donation Matters

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Our Supporters

MicrosoftRevolutionizing information systems that power our games.Learn more »


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The Christmas Records TrustFunding Special Olympics work worldwide.Learn More »


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Annenberg FoundationSupports our goals for coaches’ excellence.Learn More »


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Bank of AmericaProud partner of Special Olympics.Learn More »


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Coca-ColaSpecial Olympics Founding Partner.Learn More »


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ESPNGlobal Presenting Sponsor of Unified Sports®.Learn More »


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EssilorOfficial global supplier of ophthalmic lenses.Learn More »


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AIPSGlobal Impact Partner for Special Olympics.Learn More »


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Lions ClubSupports access to quality eye care.Learn More »


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MattelSupports Special Olympics Youth Programs.Learn More »


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MTM RecognitionSupplier of awards and medals for our athletes.Learn More »


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Perfect Sense DigitalSpecial Olympics' leading digital partner.Learn More »


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Procter & GambleCelebrating over 30 years of partnership with Special Olympics.Learn More »


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SafewayRaises funds and awareness for people with disabilities.Learn More »


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SàfiloSupplies optical frames and sunglasses.Learn More »


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UNICEFProvides greater inclusion of children with disabilities.Learn More »


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Y&RPowering our global youth marketing campaign.Learn more »


Special Olympics Blog

Sport and Tech Team Up for Good

Now, thanks to Microsoft, athletes, coaches and families will have rapid access to useful information about their scores, times, personal bests, fitness and health. Special Olympics can use this capability to dramatically improve the lives of people in our Movement.  read more »

Posted on 2014-10-27 by Janet

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Special Olympics - Become a Fan

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Make your year-end tax-deductible donation and help us get one more person onto the playing field.

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