Mission & Vision
Special Olympics is a global organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sport, every day around the world. Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 18 sports for more than 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and over 13,000 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.
Special Olympics began in Illinois with the first games at Soldier Field in July 1968 thanks to the efforts of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her peers. There are now more than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries. Special Olympics is financially sound with diverse revenue streams, a thorough annual budget process and increasing organizational revenue streams. Special Olympics Illinois does not charge athletes or their families to participate in the program.
Provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL) will be a global leader in shaping a culture where people with and without intellectual disabilities are fully integrated into the community by providing year round opportunities in competitive sports, health education, leadership and personal development.
- 23,316 athletes (children and adults) with intellectual disabilities
- 13,385 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities
- 48,300 volunteers and coaches
- 201 competitions each year
- 18 Olympic-type sports
- Programs in 11 Regions, each coordinated by a Region Director and a volunteer committee
- Dynamic sports and corporate partnerships
- 2020 Reach Report | 2019 Reach Report | 2018 Reach Report | 2017 Reach Report | 2016 Reach Report
- COMPETITIVE SPORTS: Deliver high-quality training and competition in an inclusive culture that stresses athletic excellence, rewards determination, emphasizes health and celebrates achievement.
- HEALTH PROGRAMMING: Promote the overall well-being of people with intellectual disabilities via programs that ensure ongoing access to quality, community-based health care services, highlighted by free health screenings at Special Olympics Illinois competitions, games and other venues.
- LEADERSHIP: Equip young people and adult influencers with effective tools and training to create sports, classrooms and community actions that produce friendships and acceptance, driving positive attitude and behavioral change toward people with intellectual disabilities in communities statewide, strengthening the fabric of society.
The Need is Great
The need for services is great as we estimate that Special Olympics Illinois is currently serving about 10 percent of those eligible to participate and is always working to increase this reach. Individual donors account for 65 percent of our donations so we rely on people just like you to ensure that we can continue reaching out to more of those in need. You can do your part to transform lives by making an online donation now!
If you have questions not answered here, please email Special Olympics Illinois.
SOILL Meets High Standards with the Big 3 of Nonprofit Ratings and Information, Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator and GuideStar
Special Olympics Illinois has been awarded and meets the 20 BBB Standards of Charity Accountability. The 20 standards, as they are set by the BBB, relate to Board Oversight, Board Size, Board Meetings, Board Compensation, Conflict of Interest, Effectiveness Policy, Effectiveness Report, Program Expenses, Fund Raising Expenses, Accumulating Funds, Audit Report, Detailed Expense Breakdown, Accurate Expense Reporting, Budget Plan, Truthful Materials, Annual Report, Website Disclosures, Donor Privacy, Cause Marketing Disclosures and Complaints.
We are also proud to let you know that Special Olympics Illinois continues to earn a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the leading charity evaluator in the United States. This is their highest possible rating and indicates that our organization adheres to sector best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way. Attaining a 4-star rating verifies that Special Olympics Illinois exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in our area of work. Only 31% of the charities they evaluate have received at least 2 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that SOILL outperforms most other charities in America. This designation from Charity Navigator sets Special Olympics Illinois apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public our trustworthiness.
This means that you can be rest assured that Special Olympics Illinois works very hard to be exceptional stewards of your hard earned dollars that are donated to better the lives of SOILL athletes. It is also good to know that when potential donors use Charity Navigator to do research on charities, they donated more than they planned to before viewing their website and influenced over $10 billion in charitable gifts in 2018. So, being held in high regard by Charity Navigator can aid in helping to grow our donations, increasing the opportunity for our athletes.
Special Olympics Illinois also earned, from GuideStar, a 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest level offered by the world’s largest source of nonprofit information. To reach the Platinum level, SOILL added extensive information to its GuideStar Nonprofit Profile: basic contact and organizational information; in-depth financial
information; qualitative information about goals, strategies, and capabilities; and quantitative information about results and progress toward its mission. By taking the time to provide this information, Special Olympics Illinois demonstrates its commitment to transparency and to giving donors and funders meaningful data to evaluate nonprofit performance.
GuideStar connects people and organizations with data on 2.7 million current and formerly IRS-recognized nonprofits. Each year, more than 10 million people, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media, use GuideStar data to make intelligent decisions about the social sector.