Fundraising Events

First Look for Charity

The First Look for Charity is the nation’s largest auto show and a formal gala benefiting Special Olympics Illinois and 17 other vital charities in the Chicagoland area. Now in its 31st year, the First Look offers complimentary hors-d’oeuvres, champagne, wine, soft drinks and desserts all on the show floor. Guests will also enjoy live music and have the chance to win a new vehicle. The Special Olympics Illinois hospitality suite typically opens all evening beginning at 6:00 pm. Enjoy the open bar, hors-d’oeuvres and complimentary coat check. Remember – this is a tax-deductible contribution.

Inspire Greatness Gala

The Inspire Greatness Gala is truly that, inspirational for all of those who partake, by what the athletes show them in ability, not disability. The athletes are also inspired to see the many people who support them at this black tie gala that raises over $1 million dollars for Special Olympics Illinois programming.

As Special Olympics Illinois’ most high end event, the program that gala-goers view is also second to none, culminating in a very moving and encouraging cinematic piece that promotes unification, ability and through sport, the confidence that is instilled in an athlete to succeed and be motivated to achieve off the field of play as well.

Illinois Special Olympics Foundation Golf Outing

Please join us for a day of golf and inspiration in support of Special Olympics Illinois.

The day will include 18 holes of golf, lunch, practice range, green fees, carts, forecaddies, on-course refreshments and a brief program with cocktails and dinner directly following golf.

Your participation will help create opportunities for 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 20,000 Young Athletes in Illinois through sport, health, education and community-building.

Chicago Duck Derby

It’s a signature annual fundraiser benefiting Special Olympics Illinois! Thousands of spectators watch over 60,000 yellow rubber ducks splash into the Chicago River in downtown Chicago and race down the river towards the finish line. Usually taking place in early August, Race Day kicks off at 10 am, at 401 North Michigan Avenue with entertainment for the entire family. Splashdown for the Ducky Derby is at 1 pm. All proceeds benefit more than 23,000 athletes and over 17,000 Young Athletes across Illinois.

Softball & Baseball Fundraisers

In January, Special Olympics Illinois, Region K and Indoor Softball Inc. will hosts an Annual Girls Indoor Winter Fast Pitch Softball Tournament at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin. All money raised from this tournament will benefit the over 1,600 Special Olympics Athletes competing in Region K.

Southern Illinois Ducky Derby Dash

The Southern Illinois Ducky Derby Dash at the Du Quoin State Fair is a signature fundraising event for Special Olympics Illinois. In early September, thousands of spectators will watch 11,000+ Ducks splash into the lake behind the Exhibition Hall on the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds and race towards the finish line.

Race Day kicks off at 1:00 pm with a parade! The ducks race at 3:00 pm, followed by entertainment for the entire family – live music, face painting, games, and an appearance by Splash, the Duck.

Coaster Challenge

Six Flags Great America and Special Olympics Illinois have teamed up for the Coaster Challenge. This event that happens in September, takes the run out of racing & ride your way to the finish line to support the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.

Simply register for $25, fundraise, and ride the distance of a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon or Marathon on Six Flags Great America world-class roller coasters. The earlier you register, the more time to work on fundraising.

Chicago Baseball Night

This event that takes place during Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona is a Chicago-style party experience after a Cubs game filled with your favorite sports celebrities pouring beverages, signing items and comically entertaining the crowd. Past events have enjoyed, Joe Maddon, Joe Mantegna, Kyle Schwarber, Brian Urlacher and dozens more.

Appropriately, this event will be held in Mesa, the first-ever Autism Certified City in the U.S. designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), the result of nearly a year-long quest to tailor travel experiences for individuals with autism and their families.