Partners of the Movement

Golisano Foundation

Ann Costello and Tom Golisano watch an athlete receive an eye exam.
Tom Golisano, Paychex founder, philanthropist and father of a son with intellectual disability, gifts $30 million to Special Olympics to Expand Critical Health Services Globally for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Tom Golisano and Golisano Foundation Executive Director Ann Costello observe an eye screening at an event before the pandemic.

A History of Support

In 2012, businessman and philanthropist, Tom Golisano committed $12 million over four years towards launching the Special Olympics Healthy Communities initiative. The goal was to create communities in eight countries and six U.S. States where Special Olympics athletes and other people with intellectual disabilities have the same access to health and wellness resources and services—and can attain the same level of good health—as all community members.

The Golisano Foundation announced in 2015 a commitment of $25 million dollars over five years to continue their support of Special Olympics health programs. The gift authorized work that would scale the Healthy Communities model to 100 Special Olympics Programs by 2020. At that point in time, it was the largest gift ever received by Special Olympics, and the single largest gift ever given by Tom Golisano.

Within the last two decades, support from Golisano Foundation has enabled Special Olympics to provide nearly 700,000 health screenings and follow-up visits, decreasing urgent referrals by half, train over 150,000 health and wellness professionals and students in 60 countries, partner with 130 health professional schools to integrate inclusive health into their curricula, and improve the physical fitness of over 150,000 athletes and their families.

Ann Costello and Alicia Vazzano with Helathy Communities staff in Kenya.
Golisano Foundation Executive Director Ann Costello and Special Olympics Chief Health Officer Dr. Alicia Bazzano visit Healthy Communities in Kenya (2019).

A $30 Million Gift

In 2021, Special Olympics announced a $30 million gift from the Golisano Foundation to continue to expand our vision for improving the health and saving lives of people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Over the next five years, the generous support of the Golisano Foundation will allow Special Olympics to offer three million health screenings in over 100 countries, ensuring follow-up care is received, improve the development of 650,000 young children with intellectual disabilities and their families, engage 600,000 Special Olympics athletes in health and fitness programming, and create the Golisano Virtual University to provide training to 100,000 more health care professionals to treat people with intellectual disabilities.