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Are you Ready to Promote Inclusion in Your Community?
Special Olympics awards project-based grants to young people with and without intellectual disabilities. These grants fund youth-led projects that promote inclusion in schools and communities across the globe.

The application will open 1 February 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the application process and project requirements below.

What is a Youth Innovation Project?

A Youth Innovation Project is a project that is designed, planned, and implemented by Youth Leaders to promote inclusion in their communities.

What is a Youth Innovation Grant?

Special Olympics awards project-based grants to Youth Leaders around the world twice per year in amounts of 500, 1,000, 1,500, or 2,000 U.S. Dollars.

How long are Projects?

Youth Leaders must complete their projects in either 6 or 9 months.

Who can apply to lead a Youth Innovation Project?

Special Olympics Youth Leaders and Unified Pairs, which include one Youth Leader with ID and one without ID. All Youth Leaders must be:
  • between 14 and 25 years of age at the time of their application
  • supported by an accredited Special Olympics Program

How do you apply?

You can complete the application online here or download it here, fill it out, and submit back to

The application includes:…
  • Share a summary of your project 
  • Outline how much money you will spend on your project 
  • Attach a signed agreement from the Special Olympics Program staff member who will support your project  
  • Upload a photo of each Youth Leader involved in the project
  • Attach at least one Certificate of Completion for the Project Management e-Learning course for Youth Leaders. All Project Leaders must complete the course prior to receiving funding. Youth Leaders may complete the course individually or as a Unified Pair. You can complete the course by logging into the SO Learning Portal or registering for a new account at

What kind of project can you lead?

  • Create new Unified Schools or University programs 
  • Engage other young people to be leaders for inclusion  
  • Improve inclusive programming in your community  
  • Bring people with and without intellectual disabilities together for activities such as sports, art, cooking, advocacy, and more 

What is a Scaling for Impact project?

A scaling for impact project is a project that has already been implemented in one Special Olympics Program and shows potential for success in other home communities around the world. There are a total of 7 scaling for impact projects.

Special Olympics developed a guide for how each scaling for impact project was planned and implemented. Youth Leaders can choose one scaling for impact project to implement in their own home communities.

Inclusion Documentary
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Advocating for an Inclusive Community
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Educating Future Generations
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Unified Sport Summer Camp
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Siblings Building Health, Wellness, and Inclusion
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Grow the Unified Generation
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Be Kind Mural
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How do you design and plan a project?

Explore the Youth Innovation Projects Resources below for more information.

What is required for the final report?

You can complete the final report online here or download it here, fill it out, and submit back to

You are required to:…
  • Tell the story of your experience through writing, photos, video, or illustrations. 
  • Provide Special Olympics with any photos and videos taken during the projects. 
  • Show the impact of your project through metrics, which measure your results. 
  • Outline how much money you spent from your Youth Innovation Grant. 

What are the important dates for 2024 applicants?

1 February – Applications for 2024 Open

1 November – Application for 2024 Closes

1 December – All Funding Materials must be submitted.

TBD – Meet & Greet Options. There will be 4 opportunities during the year to meet other Youth Leaders who have been accepted to lead a project

Who can I contact with other questions?

If you still have questions, please reach out to the Youth Innovation Projects team at

When will I be notified if my project has been accepted?

Applicants will be notified whether or not they haven accepted 30 days from the date of application submission.