ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS

Special Olympics transforms lives through the joy of sport, every day, everywhere. We are the world's largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities: with 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries -- and millions more volunteers and supporters. We are also a global and social movement.

Through the power of sports, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills and success. Our athletes find joy, confidence and fulfillment -- on the playing field and in life. They also inspire people in their communities and elsewhere to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential. Please view the following video to see the full spectrum of our activities.



The mission of Special Olympics Southern California is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Our vision is to promote acceptance, inclusion, and well‐being for people with intellectual disabilities through sports.



A MOVEMENT OF MILLIONS

OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES

HISTORY OF EMPOWERMENT

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1969
Special Olympics is founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968. Olympic decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson founds the Western/California Regional Chapter in 1969.

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1969
The first annual Western Regional Special Olympics are held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Athletes from 7 western states compete in track and field and swimming.

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1972
The International Special Olympics is held for the first time in Southern California at UCLA and Santa Monica City College. Over 2500 athletes are in attendance from eight countries.

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1986
Law Enforcement Officers from Los Angeles Police Department join with California Special Olympics in the first Law Enforcement Torch Run for California Special Olympics.

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1995
California Special Olympics divided into two Chapters - Southern California and Northern California giving each chapter the opportunity to greatly expand outreach efforts.

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2017
Special Olympics' global reach expands to 4.4 million athletes. Over 80,000 events and competitions are held annually. Southern California accounts for over 30,700 athletes.

YOUR DONATION MATTERS

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Why Your Donation Matters

We work hard to maximize your investment. For every $1 raised on behalf of our athletes, 89 cents goes directly to program costs. Programs are free to the athletes and their families, so donations are critical to our program. Examples of program expenses include equipment, uniforms, transportation, facility fees, background screening costs, official’s fees and more.

  • $50 provides new sports equipment
  • $100 sponsors a child's participation in School Games
  • $500 sponsors an athlete for one year
  • $2,500 trains 5 athletes for an entire year
  • $4,000 supports an entire team of athletes
  • $10,000 underwrites a school partnership program
  • $25,000 sponsors a regional competition
  • $100,000 Trains 200 athletes for an entire year
  • $250,000 supports program costs for an entire sport

Annual Report

The sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned Special Olympics Southern California a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.


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Impact of Donations