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The Golisano Foundation Encourages Funders to Become Highly Engaged Partners

Lessons learned through Healthy Communities can be applied in other areas on innovative collaborations to achieve systems change for under-served populations.
The Golisano Foundation made a “big bet” of $37 million to increase access to healthcare for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) by partnering with Special Olympics and launching Healthy Communities. Now active in 57 communities around the world, the initiative is impacting change on a large scale through innovative partnerships and advocacy.

On 15 November, as part of the 2017 NYS Funders Conference, using Healthy Communities as a case study, Ann Costello, Executive Director of the Golisano Foundation, along with Lucy Meyer, Special Olympics Health Ambassador and others presented a panel titled “Going for the Gold! Impacting Change on a Large Scale”. The panel talked about the role of funders as highly engaged partners, who help bridge boundaries across sectors, and use clout and influence (and financial resources) to strengthen the field and improve performance. Ann Costello discussed how Foundations need to move from simply writing a check to being a hands-on partner, and shape program design, implementation strategies and outcomes. Special Olympics’ Healthy Communities can be applied in other arenas on innovative collaborations, to leverage financial and networking resources, systems change, and collective impact. The panel challenged attendees, who were mostly funders, to provide leadership in creating equity and inclusion in their funding processes for underserved populations.
Highlights from the New York Funders' Alliance on November 15th between the Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become included and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5.7 million athletes and Unified partners in 172 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Microsoft, Lions Clubs International, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, and Safilo Group. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: TwitterFacebookYouTubeInstagram and our blog on Medium.