Since 2001, the Lions Clubs International Foundation has provided generous support to the Special Olympics movement, expanding the reach and scope of key programs in the areas of health, inclusive sports and community building through inclusive development through service worldwide. Through the “Mission: Inclusion” partnership platform, the Lions Clubs International Foundation and countless Lions Clubs have become a pivotal global partner in the lives of athletes with intellectual disabilities throughout the world.
Real Impact: By the Number
Under the “Mission: Inclusion” partnership banner, Special Olympics and Lions Clubs International Foundation work closely around the world to bring the benefits of inclusion through service to individuals with intellectual disabilities. Now present in over 100 nations, the “Mission: Inclusion” partnership continues to achieve impressive results, including:
Special Olympics athletes have received free vision screenings thorugh LCIF's and Special Olympics' Opening Eyes program.
Prescription eyeglasses have been provided to Special Olympics athletes at no cost.
Lions have volunteered with Special Olympics since 2000.
Eye care professionals have volunteered their services at Opening Eyes.
The Lions Clubs International Foundation awarded Special Olympics with a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment to expand the reach of the Opening Eyes eye health and vision care screening program, with local Lions Clubs answering the call to serve through volunteer activation at screening sites in over 80 nations and growing. What began as a partnership to address the urgent need for health services for individuals with intellectual disabilities has expanded to create one of the most impactful service platforms in the world.
In an effort to create increased support and service to communities worldwide, both organizations leveraged the success of the Opening Eyes program to create the “Mission: Inclusion” service partnership. “Mission: Inclusion” provides support and service to a range of partnership activities, including family health education through Family Health Forums, youth activation through Unified Sports, community building through support to the Leadership Academy, national partnership development across the world, and critical support to the Special Olympics Unified with Refugees programming, supporting refugee and migrant youth worldwide.
The Lions Clubs International Foundation not only provides critical financial support to the movement, but makes available tens of thousands of volunteers locally for National Special Olympics Programs. Through the activation of individual Lions Clubs volunteers, and Leo youth members, the Lions Clubs International Foundation has provided key capacity building and community development, from developed to developing economies alike.
From Brazil to Malaysia and from Great Britain to South Africa, the Lions Clubs International Foundation and Special Olympics continue to make inclusive development through service a reality for athletes with intellectual disabilities, their families and their communities.
Chairman of Special Olympics Dr. Timothy Shriver participates in the Young Athletes program supported by LCIF at the 2014 African Leaders Forum on Disability in Lilongwe, Malawi (February 2014).
Special Olympics athlete receiving an Opening Eyes screening supported by LCIF at the 2018 Special Olympics IX Middle East/North America Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Special Olympics Venezuela Young Athletes and Lions Clubs of Venezuela volunteers support an LCIF-supported Family Health Forum in support of “Mission: Inclusion.”
Refugee youth Play Unified in Larnaca, Cyprus as part of the LCIF-funded Special Olympics Cyprus Unified with Refugees activities, providing inclusive sports to refugees and athletes of all abilities in nations around the world through “Mission: Inclusion.”
Lions Clubs of Brazil pose with a Unified Football at a Special Olympics Brazil - Lions Clubs International “Mission: Inclusion” Unified Sports event.
Leos from Bangladesh and Special Olympics Bangladesh athletes team up for a match of Unified Football as part of “Mission: Inclusion.”
Past International President of LCI Bob Corlew, Chairman of Special Olympics Dr. Timothy Shriver and Special Olympics athlete Mina Baghat at the Lions Clubs International “Lions Day at the United Nations” in March 2017.
Former NBA Great and LA Laker Sam Perkins teams up with Leos and Special Olympics Chicago athletes as part of a Unified Basketball match at the 2017 Lions Clubs International Convention in Chicago, Illinois (USA).
Special Olympics Romania and the Leos of Romania participate in inclusive sports and youth programming as part of a growing National Partnership between Special Olympics Romania and the Loins Clubs of Romania.
Special Olympics Tanzania implements Unified with Refugees inclusive sports programming in the Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania, made possible through the generous support of Lions Clubs International Foundation.