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Special Olympics and Lions Clubs International Foundation → Mission: Inclusion

Gathering for the signing of the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) signed a historic five-year partnership agreement

2 July 2023 - Hyannis Port, Massachusetts: As part of a shared commitment to inclusion and community service across the world, Special Olympics and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) signed a historic five-year partnership agreement that will provide sustained services, support and empowerment to the global population of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Signed in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, the Special Olympics-LCIF global partnership, titled “Mission: Inclusion,” harnesses the global and local capacities of both organizations to bring about lasting positive impacts for those most on the margins.

“Special Olympics is so grateful for the continued support of Lions Clubs International Foundation and the countless Lions clubs volunteers that answer the call to serve in support of our athletes and their families in nations worldwide. Through the expansion of our “Mission: Inclusion” global partnership, Special Olympics and Lions Clubs International Foundation inspire local communities to make inclusion through service a reality for so many with and without intellectual disabilities alike. We salute the leadership of Lions around the world, and we look forward to creating countless more moments of excellence, highlighting the urgency of inclusion and underscoring the critical role that community services play in today’s global community.”
Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics

The global partnership—first forged in 2001—continues to create increased civic engagement and volunteerism in over 100 nations around the world through a diverse platform of programming models, including eye health and vision care through the partnership’s flagship Opening Eyes® program, refugee support through Unified with Refugees inclusive development programming, inclusive sports for youth of all abilities through Unified Sports® activities, family health education through the Family Health Forum platform, and more.

Special Olympics Massachusetts athletes in Hyannis Port

“Lions Clubs International Foundation is proud to be one of the longest-standing Global Partners of the Special Olympics movement. We have seen the way in which our partnership can truly change lives—for people of all abilities—and we remain fully committed to expanding this to empower all Special Olympics athletes and their families both in sports, and in life.”
Douglas X. Alexander, Chairperson of Lions Clubs International Foundation

The signing of the global partnership was held in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, as part of events leading up to the 2023 Lions Clubs International Convention in Boston and follows the celebration of the 2023 Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany, the largest sporting and humanitarian event of the year.

“As both a Special Olympics athlete and a member of Lions Clubs International, I am so excited to see this partnership further expand to help more and more people in need. Lions and Leo youth volunteers have been such big supporters and together we can continue to enrich so many lives!”
Kiera Byland, Chairperson of the Special Olympics Global Athlete Congress, Special Olympics Great Britain athlete and a member of a London-based Lions Club

About Lions Clubs International Foundation

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is the global foundation supporting the 1.4 million members of Lions Clubs International through grant funds that expand their compassionate works and empower their service at home and around the world. Since its founding in 1968, LCIF has awarded more than 19,500 grants totaling more than US$1.2 billion. We improve health and well-being, strengthen communities and support those in need, locally and globally. Learn more about who we are and what we do at

About Special Olympics

Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health and leadership. With over four million athletes and Unified Sports® partners and one million coaches and volunteers in 200 countries, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and nearly 50,000 games and competitions every year. Engage with us on: X, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. Learn more at

Media Contact

Zehra Sayin

Special Olympics International
Chief Marketing, Communications & Development Officer
Mobile: +1-771-200-7723

Andrea Small

Lions Clubs International Foundation
Senior Marketing and Public Relations Specialist
Direct : +1-630-468-7069