Special Olympics is composed of passionate, committed individuals from every walk of life, who recognize the value and unique gifts of people with intellectual disabilities. And, who together, share the common belief of dignity, equality and opportunity for ALL people.

Special Olympics is a global nonprofit organization serving the nearly 200 million people with intellectual disabilities, with a presence in nearly 200 countries worldwide.  With seven regional offices, we are constantly expanding to add new Programs in every part of the world – which is why we can say with all truth that “the sun never sets on the Special Olympics movement.”

Every day, 365 days a year, our Board members, global leadership, staff and volunteers work to bring Special Olympics to as many communities as possible. Speaking hundreds of languages and coming from diverse cultures and backgrounds, the common thread tying us together is our belief in people with intellectual disabilities and in Special Olympics:  its unique ability to envision and create a world where every person is celebrated and accepted — all through the simple platform of sport.

In the decades since Eunice Kennedy Shriver  founded Special Olympics in 1968, Special Olympics has been supported by a who’s who of outstanding leaders in the fields of sports, education, business, government and disability advocacy.  They serve on the International Board of Directors, give financial and political support, act as spokespeople, help build awareness, and establish connections with important organizations and reluctant governments.  International Board members include President of Iceland Olafur Grimmson; Olympic Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci; pop singer and actress Vanessa Williams; Coca Cola CEO Muhtar Kent; and First Lady of Panama Vivian Fernández de Torrijos.

Under the Board’s guidance and the guidance of Special Olympics leaders, our global family of grass-roots volunteers, athletes, family and staff work tirelessly to ensure a quality sports experience for Special Olympics athletes and an accepting community for their families.  Every day, talented individuals in offices around the world work to bring our sports, education, and health programs to as many places as possible. We work so that we may realize founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s vision:  to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities everywhere, and, in turn, transform the lives of everyone they touch – building a better, more accepting world for all of us.