Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) is expanding its support of Special Olympics International to advance global youth and Unified Schools programs as part of its BE FEARLESS BE KIND philanthropic initiative. BE FEARLESS BE KIND is designed to inspire and empower kids to have empathy, compassion and courage to stand up for others and be inclusive throughout their lives.
"Special Olympics has been a leader in creating a culture of inclusion while also developing empathy and compassion in youth in schools across the globe,” said Karen Davis, senior vice president of Global Philanthropy and Social Impact, Hasbro, Inc. “Hasbro is delighted to help Special Olympics expand this model through a combination of financial support, the time and talent of our employee volunteers and the use of our toys and games. This work is core to Hasbro’s purpose of making the world a better place for children and their families.”
Special Olympics Unified Schools and Unified Champion Schools (United States) promote social inclusion by bringing together young people with and without intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Unified Sports, inclusive youth leadership and student clubs, and school or community-wide initiatives. At its core, this Unified Schools strategy is about unifying all students-with and without disabilities-using sports as a catalyst for social inclusion and attitude and behavior change.
More specifically, Hasbro’s support will focus on:
Innovation Grants for Unified Youth pairs: Over the next five years, Hasbro will sponsor 100 Innovation Grants to empower Unified Youth pairs around the world to implement projects that foster inclusion for all, both on and off the playing field. This is part of Special Olympics’ ‘Revolution is Inclusion’ campaign, a global initiative to create a world of full inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities.
Unified Schools: Hasbro will support the Unified Champion Schools in four states in the U.S. (Rhode Island, Washington, California, Florida) and Unified Schools in eight countries (Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Italy, United Kingdom, India). Local Hasbro offices in these communities often donate toys and games to the local programs, and employees volunteer at events.
Special Olympics Elementary School Playbook: This resource is designed to help elementary school communities increase social inclusion for students with and without intellectual disabilities and provides tangible tools for teachers and administrators to start implementing components of the Unified Champion Schools curriculum. Funding was provided by both Hasbro and the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education.
Special Olympics 2018 USA Games: Hasbro is a Bronze sponsor of the Special Olympics 2018 USA Games, which will be held July 1-6, 2018 in Seattle. Additionally, Hasbro is Presenting Sponsor of the Youth Leadership Experience during the Games, bringing together high school students from across the U.S., with and without intellectual disabilities, for a week of volunteering and training on how to be agents of change within their schools and communities.
BE FEARLESS BE KIND Awards: Earlier this year, 10 inspiring students were recognized as BE FEARLESS BE KIND award winners for their inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities through participation in Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools programming. Each of the youth received $1,000 to support Special Olympics programming in their school.
A longtime supporter of Special Olympics Rhode Island, where Hasbro’s global headquarters are located, the company expanded its relationship with Special Olympics International in 2016 with the launch of BE FEARLESS BE KIND. Calling upon youth to “stand up for others, be inclusive, and make a difference,” the core elements of BE FEARLESS BE KIND are focused on teaching empathy; helping youth put their empathy into action; and celebrating kind kids who serve as positive role models and changemakers.
Welcoming the news of Hasbro’s expanded relationship, Special Olympics International CEO Mary Davis said: “Hasbro’s leadership for the full inclusion of youth with intellectual disabilities is truly inspirational. As partners we share the view that when the world chooses to include, all lives will be improved. This year, as Special Olympics celebrates our 50th anniversary, inclusion is a reality for many, and yet still a distant dream for millions more. In the next 50 years, with the help of amazing partners such as Hasbro, we are determined to close this inclusion gap and make inclusion a reality for everyone.”