October 2011 - Special Olympics received a generous grant from long time supporters Stephanie and Ray Lane for the international expansion of Project UNIFY. Ray Lane, a SOI board member, is also a member of the venture capital firm, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers as well as board chair of Hewlett Packard. Stephanie Lane is a board member of the American Cancer Society and founder of the Stephanie H. Lane Cancer Resource Network, which coordinates services for California cancer patients. Ray and Stephanie have two children, RJay and Tori and reside in California.
A key part of Special Olympics’ strategic plan is to activate and inspire youth globally so they get involved in Special Olympics and ultimately lead the next generation of young people toward building a more accepting, inclusive world. In fact, this grant is a foundational piece of our strategy for educating and engaging young people over the next 5 years.
Using sports as its platform, Project UNIFY is a dynamic collaboration between Special Olympics and school communities that engages young people with and without intellectual disabilities in promoting attitudes and behaviors of acceptance and inclusion in schools. Project UNIFY integrates Special Olympics sports programs with ongoing youth activities to ensure all students develop intellectual, physical, civic, and emotional competencies.
This grant will support the expansion of Project UNIFY internationally by hiring a Vice President of Global Youth Activation and Education Policy, and staff positions in the Europe-Eurasia and Asia Pacific regions. The grant will additionally support Special Olympics Bharat, Austria, Italy, Serbia and Romania in their effort to activate youth for social change.
Throughout the grant period (expected completion date is mid-2013) Special Olympics will provide updates and communications on the grant as a way for others to learn from the ongoing work. In addition, a final report will be compiled analyzing the project’s outcomes and making recommendations for the movement to learn from.
With profound thanks to the Lanes, Special Olympics can launch this global expansion effort with the underwriting it needs to impact the lives of young people for years to come.