Fundraising Events

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Polar Plunge

Each year, the 24 in-person Polar Plunges and numerous Create Your Own Polar Plunges bring together thousands of warm-hearted individuals from across the state.  It’s a great way for everyone – individuals, organizations and businesses – to be cool and take the plunge in support of Special Olympics Illinois.  All funds raised go toward providing programming and events for thousands of traditional athletes and Young Athletes participating in Illinois.

First Look for Charity

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. 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 opens at 5:30 PM, and the Chicago Auto Show begins at 7:00 PM. Remember – this is a tax-deductible contribution.

Champions Ball

The Champions Ball 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 Champions Ball attendees 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.

This year, Champions Ball will take place on Saturday, October 26 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Illinois Special Olympics Foundation Golf Outing

Please join us for a day of golf and inspiration in support of Special Olympics Illinois hosted by our Foundation Board members at one of the most unique courses in 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 thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities in Illinois through sport, health education, personal development, leadership, and community-building.

Chicago Duck Derby

Each year, thousands of spectators watch over 75,000 yellow rubber ducks splash into the Chicago River in downtown Chicago and race down the river toward the finish line. The duck drop takes place off the Columbus Drive Bridge in downtown Chicago, Illinois. The event is FREE to attend, and it costs $10 to adopt a duck and enter the race!

  • Date: Wednesday, August 7th, 2024
  • Duck Drop: 1:00 pm
  • Chicago Ducky Derby Festival: 10:00 am - 2:30 pm
    • Chicago Ducky Derby Festival is located at Pioneer Court (401 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611)
    • T-Shirts and Souvenirs will be available for purchase along Michigan Ave and in Pioneer Court.
  • Splashdown Watch Party at The Northman (233 East Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60601) begins at 11:45 am

The Chicago Ducky Derby is a signature fundraising event that benefits Special Olympics Illinois. Proceeds from your duck adoption go to support Special Olympics Illinois programming and impacts a community of over 24,000 athletes including traditional athletes, Young Athletes, Peer Partners and Unified Partners.

Softball & Baseball Fundraisers

In January, Special Olympics Illinois, Region K and Indoor Softball Inc. will host 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 more than 1,600 Special Olympics Athletes competing in Region K.

Southern Illinois Ducky Derby Dash

The Ducky Derby Dash is typically held the first Sunday of October at Walker's Bluff Winery in Carterville.

Race day kicks off at 1:00 PM with a parade, followed by the main event - the duck race - at 3:00 PM. Also included throughout the day is entertainment for the entire family, including live music, face painting, games, and a special appearance by Splash the Duck.

Coaster Challenge

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

Simply register for $25, fundraise, and then ride the distance of a 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon on Six Flags Great America's world-class rollercoasters. The earlier you register, the more time you have to work on fundraising - and the more rollercoasters you will ride!

Chicago Baseball Bash

This event takes place during Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona. It's a Chicago-style party experience post-Cubs game that is 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.

Row 4 Dough

Support the athletes of SOILL by sweating for a cause. Row 4 Dough challenges teams to work together to reach a 5K, half marathon, or full marathon as a team on a row machine or in the water in the shortest amount of time.

Rowers can compete as a five-person team (rowing 13.1 miles), a 10-person team (rowing 26.2 miles), or they can compete individually (rowing a 5K). In an effort to unite teams wherever they may be, teams will have the option to row in person or virtually.

Calendar of Fundraising Events

This calendar only displays fundraising events. For a full calendar of events, including state championships and regional qualifiers, please visit our Calendar of Events.

June 2024

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Special Olympics Illinois Charity Golf Outing
9:00 am - 9:00 pm
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LETR Golf Scramble
8:00 am - 2:00 pm

Time and Place

Saturday, June 8th at Oak Glen Golf Course in Robinson Illinois. Registration, doughnuts & coffee starts at 8:00am at the pavilion with a shot gun start at 8:30am.

Attire and Fees

Regular golf attire is required. This is a four-person scramble. Fee $100 per player/$400 per foursome. Your ent

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Five-O Racing

Five-O Racing is a Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraiser benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. This is a stock car race in which law enforcement personnel race vehicles decke

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