Press Releases Stories

CEO of Make Corporation Joins SOILL Board Of Directors


 

Karen Wilson has joined the Special Olympics Illinois Board of Directors, serving on its Development Committee.

KarenWilson 1Wilson is the owner and CEO of MAKE Corporation, a professional services and staffing company with offices in Chicago and Dallas. Wilson joined MAKE as a partner in 2002, then purchased the company in 2012. In her position, Wilson drives growth and professional development in the professional services and staffing industry.

In 2014, Wilson served as the Co-Chair for the Special Olympics Illinois Inspire Greatness Gala and was Chair in 2015.

“Karen Wilson and MAKE Corporation have cultivated a great culture of community support and involvement,” said Dave Breen, President & CEO of Special Olympics Illinois. “As the current Inspire Greatness Gala Committee Chair and former Chair of the Gala, Karen has been a champion for our athletes helping us serve new generations of athletes.”

Wilson has been an active member of TechServe Alliance for more than 20 years. She is completing an eighth year on its board of directors, serving on the Government Affairs Committee. She is president of the board of directors for VMS Professionals, a national nonprofit she co-founded in 2003. VMS Professionals is comprised of organizations that use contingent workers, advance the industry and establish practices in the acquisition and management of contingent labor. MAKE Corporation is the only staffing company that is a member of VMS Professionals.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 20,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org.

Contacts:

Michele Evans, 309-888-2573
Alexandra McMillin, 630-942-5621


Central Illinois Walgreens Locations Raise More Than $35,000 for SOILL


 

NORMAL, Ill. – Walgreens locations in Central Illinois raised $35,419 for Special Olympics Illinois during a fundraising campaign. View list of participating stores. There will be a check presentation at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at the Walgreens at 1200 W. Fayette Ave., Effingham.

During the first two weeks in September, patrons of 70 Walgreens stores from Bloomington to Edwardsville were encouraged to purchase a scannable icon in donation amounts of $1, $3 or $5. Special Olympics supporters in 6 Areas promoted the campaign at their local Walgreens to raise awareness for Special Olympics Illinois athletes.

walgreens-thank-you-2016Among those spreading the word about the Sept. 1-14 campaign was Walgreens employee Garrett Downs, who is also a Special Olympics athlete competing with PTOEC of Belleville. Downs is a Walgreens warehouse employee at the Troy location and helped pass out flyers to spread the word of the campaign at that location.

“We are extremely pleased to have partnered with Walgreens on this fundraiser,” said Dave Breen, President & CEO of Special Olympics Illinois. “Both Walgreens and Special Olympics have their roots in Illinois and have the health and wellness of the community as their organizational goals. We look forward to continuing to build our relationship with Walgreens to serve the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.”

Walgreens stores in Central Illinois partnered with Special Olympics Illinois thanks to the passion, community concern and volunteerism of John Davis, District Manager of Walgreens Area 94.

Davis encouraged his co-workers and Walgreens employees to get involved and volunteer for the SOILL East Central/Area 9 Spring Games held annually at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston in late April/early May. Davis and his crew of volunteers from Walgreens coordinated the lunches for more than 1,000 athletes, coaches and volunteers at the Spring Games every year since 2014. In 2015, Davis again stepped up to the challenge of recruiting Walgreens employees to volunteer as a group for coordination of parking at the Lake Sara Polar Plunge in Effingham. Since then, Davis and his team have continued to organize and coordinate parking and shuttles for the Polar Plungers.

The money raised during the Walgreens campaign directly supports Special Olympics Illinois programs including traditional sports, Unified Sports programs and the Healthy Athletes initiative.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 20,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org.

Contact

Michele Evans, SOILL Director of Communications, (309) 888-2573


Aon Hewitt CEO to Chair Inspire Greatness Gala


 

Special Olympics Illinois is pleased to introduce Kristi Savacool, Chief Executive Officer of Aon Hewitt, as the Chair of the 2016 Inspire Greatness Gala.

kristi_savacool_nov_2011Aon Hewitt serves more than 20,000 clients around the world. Savacool leads a team of more than 35,000 professionals in offices across six continents that collaborate with organizations to solve their most complex challenges in talent, retirement and health. She is responsible for setting the firm’s strategy, sponsoring relationships with its largest clients and overseeing its operations. Under Savacool’s leadership, the firm is continually developing innovative solutions, including Aon Hewitt’s pension risk transfer and delegated investment consulting offers and the Aon Active Health Exchange, the industry’s largest private health exchange solution for active employees.

“The incredible athletes of Special Olympics continue to remind us all that when we have courage, confidence and conviction, we can achieve great things,” said Savacool. “I am proud of our partnership with Special Olympics and am truly honored to serve as Chair of this year’s Inspire Greatness Gala.”

We are honored that Savacool has chosen to chair the Gala. As Chair, she is responsible for engaging new sponsors and guests, while also serving in a key role on an executive committee of corporate leaders. This committee strives to heighten the meaning of inclusion, while raising funds for SOILL. In fact, this group has set an ambitious goal of raising $1 million via this year’s Gala.

The Inspire Greatness Gala will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park. Cocktails will be served at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by City Lights Orchestra. Individual tickets are $400 each and sponsorship opportunities are still available, including honor pages where you can honor an athlete, coach or team in the event program book. For additional information, please contact Shelley Chenoweth at 630-942-5619.


Chicagoland Residents, Law Enforcement Officials to Participate in Plane Pull at O’Hare Airport


 

Participants Test ‘Tug-of-War’ Skills by Pulling 90-Ton Plane to Benefit Special Olympics Illinois

CHICAGO, Ill.  – Teams of local law enforcement agencies and the general public will participate in a larger than life tug-of-war challenge at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. They will face off with either a UPS Airbus A300 or United Airlines 737 aircraft at O’Hare International Airport for the benefit of Special Olympics Illinois. The Law Enforcement Torch Run Plane Pull includes teams from law enforcement agencies, fire departments, private companies, high schools, colleges, fraternal groups and teams of friends and family. The Opening Ceremony is at 8 a.m.

“It’s great to see people supporting Special Olympics programs in Illinois and we’re excited to see them test their strength against a 90-ton airplane,” said Matt Johnson, Special Olympics Illinois Vice President – Development & Donor Relations. “In addition to those participating in the Plane Pull, we encourage family and friends to join in the spirit by supporting their loved ones and Special Olympics programs by making a donation to Special Olympics Illinois by visiting www.illinoisplanepull.com.”

Registration is now open online at www.illinoisplanepull.com.

Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10., when team captains can turn in their donations and pick up their T-shirts and other materials. New teams can still sign up that morning.

The event will be held on the tarmac next to the United Airlines Cargo Facility located on the south airfield of O’Hare International Airport. The area is located in between two East-West parallel runways – offering a unique perspective of planes arriving and taking off on one of the world’s busiest airfields.

Teams will be divided into three different divisions – Open Division is ideal for companies, school teams, church groups, clubs, friends and families; Public Safety Division is for law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, DNR, DOC and military personnel; and the Hotel Division created by popular demand. Each team of 20 will attempt to pull the plane a distance of 12 feet, with the top finisher from each division facing off for one final pull to determine the Grand Champion. To participate, each team is asked to raise a minimum of $1,000 ($50 per person) for Special Olympics Illinois. Teams raising more will be eligible for incentive prizes at the $2,500, $4,000 and $6,000 levels.

UPS and United Airlines are Presenting Sponsors of the 2016 Law Enforcement Torch Run Plane Pull. Other sponsors are Chicago Department of Aviation, City of Chicago, HMS Host, Durham School Services, Barilla Pasta, IlliniCare Health, FOX 32 Chicago, TD Ameritrade and Home Run Inn.  Because Special Olympics athletes compete free of charge, all money raised by the Plane Pull will directly assist in their training and competition.

“The Chicago Department of Aviation is honored and proud to once again partner with Special Olympics Illinois, UPS and United Airlines to host this unique and exciting community event at O’Hare International Airport,” said Ginger S. Evans, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation. “I want to thank all of the volunteers and participants who come out each year to support this event and help raise funds for Special Olympics.”

All media must RSVP in advance by contacting Gregg Cunningham by phone at 773-686-3700 or by email via cdamedia@cityofchicago.org.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fundraising vehicle benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The annual intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and to gain awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics Illinois. The Law Enforcement Torch Run has raised $40 million over 30 years while increasing awareness of Special Olympics Illinois athletes and their accomplishments.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 20,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics changes lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support.  If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org.

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Contacts:

Alexandra McMillin, Special Olympics Illinois, 630-942-5621

Michele Evans, Special Olympics Illinois, 309-660-8497

Chicago Department of Aviation, cdamedia@cityofchicago.org, 773-686-3700


Central Illinois Walgreens Stores to Raise Money for Special Olympics Illinois


 

From Sept. 1-14, Walgreens locations in Central Illinois will be launching a fundraising campaign to benefit Special Olympics Illinois. View list of participating stores.

During the two-week fundraising time period, patrons of Walgreens stores will be encouraged to purchase a scannable in donation amounts of $1, $3 or $5. Customers can write their name on the donation and Walgreens will post it in their stores, as a means of also raising awareness for Special Olympics Illinois athletes.

John Davis and his volunteer crew from Walgreen's serve lunch at East Central/Area 9's Spring Games.

John Davis and his volunteer crew from Walgreens serve lunch at East Central/Area 9’s Spring Games.

Walgreens stores in Central Illinois have partnered with Special Olympics Illinois thanks to the passion, community concern and volunteerism of John Davis, District Manager of Walgreens Area 94. Davis encouraged his co-workers and Walgreens employees to get involved and volunteer for the SOILL East Central/Area 9 Spring Games held annually at Eastern Illinois University in late April/early May. Davis and his crew of volunteers from Walgreens coordinated the lunches for more than 1,000 athletes, coaches and volunteers at the Spring Games every year since 2014.  In 2015, Davis again stepped up to the challenge of recruiting Walgreens employees to volunteer as a group for coordination of parking at the Lake Sara Polar Plunge in Effingham. Since then, Davis and his team have continued to organize and coordinate parking and shuttles for the Polar Plungers.

The money raised during this campaign will go directly to Special Olympics Illinois to benefit programs including traditional sports, Unified Sports programs and the Healthy Athletes initiative. Please join Special Olympics Illinois in thanking all of the Walgreens team members by stopping by your local store and showing your support.

Contact:

Vanessa Duncan, Area Director for SOILL East Central/Area 9, 217-345-2424