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Golisano Foundation Commits $25 Million To Special Olympics Global Health Care Program

Ann Costello speaking; Maria Shriver at the announcement.
Ann Costello speaking; Maria Shriver at the announcement.

Special Olympics announced Saturday that it has received its largest single private gift in the organization's 47-year history from the Golisano Foundation.

Ann Costello, Director of the Golisano Foundation announced today at the Special Olympics World Gamesin Los Angeles, that the Foundation, established by long-time Special Olympics supporter, and Paychex founder & Chairman  Tom Golisano, will provide $25 million to expand Special Olympics' health services globally for people with intellectual disabilities, a population that the organization says lacks access to adequate healthcare and faces significant health disparities.

This gift is not only the largest received by Special Olympics, it is also the largest single gift ever given by Golisano and his Foundation. 

It is more than double his initial gift of $12 million to Special Olympics in 2012, which helped launch the new Healthy Communities initiative in 14 countries and states to ensure that people with intellectual disabilities  receive access to healthcare in their communities on a year-round basis. Healthy Communities builds upon the Healthy Athletes program, which provides free health exams and some health services at Special Olympics' events.

"This transformational gift will bring critical health services and wellness programs for people with intellectual disabilities to more communities around the world on a year-round basis," said Special Olympics CEO Janet Froetscher.

Froetscher said they are finalizing a plan for the next five years and beyond, to expand their work and implement the Special Olympics Healthy Communities model in 100 Special Olympics Programs by 2020.

Costello said that, “Going forward we hope to see Healthy Communities move to a transformative scale - inclusive health care for all. That is our shared goal. By expanding Healthy Communities, Special Olympics can accelerate its effort to ensure people with IDD are not excluded from the health care systems within their communities.  As the world's leading global health care provider for people with IDD, Special Olympics is uniquely poised to lead this charge."

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.