Fundraising Events

Polar Plunges

Each year, the over 23 Polar Plunges brings together thousands of warm-hearted individuals from across the state.  It’s a great way for everyone – individuals, organizations and businesses – to support Special Olympics Illinois.  All funds raised go to provide programing and events for more than 23,100 traditional athletes and 13,000 Young Athletes participating in Illinois.

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.

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.

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 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 13,000 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 Eighth Annual Ducky Derby Dash will be held at Walker's Bluff Winery on Sunday, October 2nd, 2022.

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 Bash (Event Link Coming Soon)

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.

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.

This year, rowers can compete as a 5-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.

November 2022

Champions Ball
5:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Covid Procedures

Unless a venue has specific COVID protocols in place, Special Olympics Illinois is following Illinois Department of Public Health and CDC COVID protocols and guidelines.  Please refer to event specific information or website page (if applicable) to determine if the venue has any specific COVID

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