Special Olympics Florida

The Golisano Foundation included in Forbes’ List of Top Philanthropists

Supporter of Special Olympics Recognized for Work in Social Change

The Golisano Foundation has been recognized among 30 great givers and causes on Forbes’ “Philanthropy’s Big Bets for Social Change of 2015.” Nonprofit advisory firm The Bridgespan Group and Forbes magazine teamed up to showcase some of the largest, most promising philanthropic gifts donated in 2015 aimed at solving social problems in the U.S. and around the globe.

The Golisano Foundation has generously gifted Special Olympics $37 million USD to grow Special Olympics Health work, including expanding the Healthy Communities model to 100 Special Olympics programs by 2020.

Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation have made a major global commitment to expand access to inclusive health care for people with intellectual disabilities, one of the most marginalized populations in the world who often receive virtually no health care at all. Golisano is doing this by partnering with Special Olympics, the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities.

Healthy Communities is a model Special Olympics Health program made possible by the Golisano Foundation. The program addresses the severe health disparities faced by people with intellectual disabilities through immediate and long-term solutions. A Healthy Community is a location officially recognized by Special Olympics for efforts in creating year-round access to quality health care. Florida is one of the first eight locations to be awarded by Special Olympics as a Healthy Community.

“With the support from the State of Florida – Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Golisano Foundation, and many others, Special Olympics Florida will continue its work by leveraging Special Olympics programming and stakeholders to break down barriers, improve access to health care and make health inclusive for all people with intellectual disabilities,” said Sherry Wheelock, President and CEO of Special Olympics Florida.

Dr. Karlyn Emile sees firsthand the effects of the Golisano Foundation’s support on athletes’ lives. Director of Healthy Communities South Florida, Emile works with local universities, health agencies, and medical associations to offer health and wellness programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Florida. Classes range from nutrition, and physical activity, to social wellness and gardening. “We have made a dent in reaching so many individuals with ID and athletes. We are able to enrich their lives and provide access to needed health care and information,” said Emile.