2022 Annual Impact Report

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Let’s work toward a world where we are not labeled as ‘disabled,’ but a world that sees us as equals where we are all included.

Dave Breen, President & CEO

Susan Kuborn an athlete leader


From An Athlete Leader

Hi. My name is Susan Kuborn.

I started Special Olympics Illinois in 2002 at age 11. Over the last 21 years, some amazing things have happened for me that I never thought would happen.

2019 - I was presented with the Cheri Bustos Award and Athlete of the Year at the Spring Games

2020 - I was asked to join the Athlete Input Council for the 2022 USA Games in Orlando, Florida

2021 - I was asked to give a speech to the new Team Illinois that was going to the 2022 USA Games in Orlando, Florida

2022 - I completed classes where I became a certified Athlete Leader and spokesperson for Special Olympics Illinois

Now in 2023, I have joined the 2022 Annual Report committee as part of the Athlete Leadership program. I’m looking forward to many more opportunities to come with Special Olympics Illinois in the future.

President of Special Olympics Illinois


From The President

Dear Special Olympics Illinois Friends,

Back in the game.

It was the predominant theme that carried us through 2022 as athletes, coaches, families, volunteers, and staff returned to the field of play. We witnessed record-breaking fundraising events, proof that supporters, like you, are invested in providing life-changing programming to individuals with intellectual disabilities. The power and resilience our athletes exude not just on the playing field, but in their daily lives as well, motivates us to elevate the athlete experience. In 2022, Special Olympics Illinois provided 2,458 health screenings to athletes through MedFest and statewide Healthy Athletes program. From 2021 to 2022, our Unified Champions Schools base increased from 272 schools to 400 schools statewide. My tenure with Special Olympics Illinois will soon come to a close, and I am honored, proud, and humbled to have witnessed such a remarkable evolution throughout the past 37 years. Our achievements in 2022 are a testament to that growth.

Triumph As A Team

use games person in the pool with hand raised


When the 2022 USA Games took place on June 5-12, 68 Special Olympics Illinois athletes, 8 Unified partners, and 22 coaches were ready to let the games begin. The USA Games is a national sports competition that occurs every four years, and this year, the team proudly representing Illinois took Orlando, Florida by storm. The cherished event brought more than 5,000 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and drew in crowds to witness the perseverance and inclusivity of the games. Team Illinois took home a total of 39 gold, 39 silver, and 34 bronze awards, as well as 44 additional medals or ribbons and everyone came out on top as champions.

athletes person recieves health screening


In addition to year-round sports competitions, Special Olympics also provides leadership, personal development, and health education opportunities to its athletes. The screenings at USA Games covered seven health disciplines: podiatry, vision, dentistry, physical therapy/fitness, nutrition, healthy habits, audiology, and emotional well-being. More than 12,000 free screenings were conducted in total at USA Games. Region B athlete Rebecca Davis received life-changing hearing aids, free of cost, at USA Games’ Healthy Athletes. Prior to USA Games, Rebecca was hearing at a level four, and she left hearing at a level 10!

leadership academy person recieves award


More than 80 athletes from all over North America convened in Chicago for the two-day Special Olympics Illinois Leadership Academy at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. For athlete leader Ryan Murray, it was a weekend filled with workshops, fellowship, and fun. The weekend’s workshops were tailored to different aspects of each Athlete Leader’s growth as well as workshops for parents, mentors, and coaches.

ducky derby chicago river

Ducky Durby

The 17th annual Chicago Ducky Derby took place on Aug. 4, 2022, as more than 75,000 rubber ducks raced their way down the Chicago River. The race made a splash as a record-breaking and sold-out fundraising event—raising more than $450,000. Special Olympics Illinois athlete Kyle Tuckey, the 2022 Chicago Ducky Derby ambassador, helped pull the lever during the Splashdown and selected the winning duck.

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Torch Run

The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) is the single largest year-round fundraising movement benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. Since 1986, LETR has raised funds and increased awareness for Special Olympics Illinois athletes and their accomplishments. LETR hosts many fundraising events including Cop on a Rooftop, Plane Pull, Truck Convoys, and more.


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As a father of a Special Olympics Illinois athlete, I see firsthand the importance of our movement and its impact on the athletes and their families. The camaraderie between the athletes and our officers is genuine and rooted in mutual respect. There’s a bond that can’t be broken!

Sergeant Bill Devine,
Illinois LETR State Director

Dunkin’ Cop
On A Rooftop

2022 marked the 19th anniversary of the Dunkin’ and Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Illinois partnership and police officers joined together again this year to show their support. Across the state, law enforcement officers rallied support for the Special Olympics Illinois athletes, by sitting, standing, and cheering on the rooftops of participating Dunkin’ locations, raising more than $925,000 for Special Olympics Illinois.

polar plunge little kid in water



Across the state, braving the cold, and making a splash, communities came together to take the plunge for Special Olympics Illinois athletes. Every year, Polar Plunges are hosted across the state for local communities, law enforcement, corporate teams, students, and more to dip into winter waters to show their support. The Polar Plunge provided participants with team-building experiences and a strengthened sense of community.




Dressed up in their best black-tie outfits and paired with their favorite sneakers, Special Olympics Illinois athletes, families, and corporate sponsors celebrated the annual Champions Ball. Held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, the gala was a record-breaking event that raised more than $1.4 million. The Richer brothers, Jeremy and Elliot were the featured athletes of the ball and were honored throughout the night.

summer games person tosses ball



The 2022 Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games was a weekend filled with renewed energy, teamwork, reunions, and, of course, competition. It was quite a celebration as athletes from across the state gathered in Bloomington- Normal to celebrate the return of the event, following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. More than 2,200 athletes and Unified partners competed in seven different sports.

workforce inclusivity people work at hyatt



A core goal for Special Olympics Illinois is to create environments that enable everyone to thrive, and that includes creating opportunities for companies to embrace inclusivity in the workplace. In 2022, Special Olympics Illinois athletes took part in job shadowing events at different companies to spotlight the positive impact of an inclusive workforce and reshaping the movement for equal employment for people of all abilities.

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champion schools

In just their first year competing at the IHSA Unified State Basketball tournament in Champaign-Urbana, Southside Unified brought home the gold. Southside is represented by students from both De La Salle Institute and Southside Occupational Academy Hub. A Unified team consists of both Special Olympics Illinois athletes with intellectual disabilities as well as Unified partners, or those without intellectual disabilities. The two schools were a perfect match.

Amazon Fresh

In November, Amazon Fresh hosted Job Shadow Day at the Oak Lawn location. The day was filled with hands-on training including stocking inventory, working in the kitchen, order preparation, and greeting customers. Not only did this empower athletes to learn about the ins and outs of the job, but it also allowed them to potentially claim the job as their own.

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Thank you to our sponsors for helping Special Olympics Illinois foster inclusivity in the workforce

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Region A

I have been involved with Special Olympics for 55 years. I am currently the head coach of Rockford SO. I was at the very first games at Soldier Field in 1968. One of my favorite memories from the 1968 games was the fact that they set up a pool in Soldier Field. Being a coach for Special Olympics has been such a rewarding experience for me, as I have gotten to know many athletes and their families, and encourage them to do the best they can, and be brave in the attempt.

Anne Vestal,
Coach Region A

Trent Geiger | 309-706-4563.             

Katie Risley | 309-533-3725                 

850 N. Church St., Rockford, IL 61103

Region B

Jordan Feldman | 847-209-1247

Jaimie Lieblich | 773-598-5605

Michelle Mark | 331-205-8995

1724 S. Finley Rd., Lombard, IL 60148

Region C

Katelin Zandi | 630-545-3402

Amanda Nelson | 331-725-0188

Emily Sullivan | 331-256-5553

1724 S. Finley Rd., Lombard, IL 60148

Melissa Garritano |
Brenden Cannon |
Megan Reaska |
Caitlin Tipre |
Katie McFadden |
Darius Jackson |
Maeve Cooney |

820 W Jackson Blvd., Ste 330 Chicago, IL 60607

Patty Welsh | 708-997-0701

Annie Riddering | 708-991-7564

Christa Sullivan | 708-991-7564

Amy Bandstra | 708-991-7564

900 Maple Rd., Ste 1W, Homewood, IL 60430

Cathy Betar | 309-734-5903

Jennifer Davis | 309-337-9326

P.O. Box 104, Monmouth, IL 61462

Bailey Brenner | 309-888-2551

Hillarie Hamblin I 309-245-1164

605 E. Willow St., Normal, IL 61761

My wife and I were big supporters of Special Olympics Illinois before we even had an athlete involved with Special Olympics. The Region H Spring Games were Ella’s first Special Olympics Illinois event and it was incredible to be involved. The cheering, the abilities, and the sense of accomplishment make all the fundraising and supporting more than worthwhile. Ella is now a two-time state qualifier for track and field. She qualified in the 50m run and the tennis ball throw this year and won gold at Summer Games last year in the tennis ball throw. I have also hosted a local Row 4 Dough fundraising event for the last eight years. In 2022, we had an attendance of nearly 200 participants and raised more than $16,000 to support Region H.

Dr. Michael Jones,
Sponsor and Special Olympics Illinois Parent, Region H

Lynde Pavich | 217-544-3023             

Tara Nickerson | 217-791-7291  

900 Christopher Lane, Ste 12, Springfield, IL, 62712

I love Special Olympics because of the gold medals, teammates who are now my friends, all the t-shirts, the Polar Plunges, giving speeches, meeting other athletes from other teams, games, competitions, opening ceremonies, and being included in all of it. In Special Olympics, we are a team of teams. Being a Special Olympics Illinois athlete has taught me to never quit or give up. If you don’t win at first, just keep trying and practicing. Eventually, you will earn that gold medal. 

Rachel Zakutansky,
Special Olympics Illinois Athlete, Region I

Joanie Keyes | 217-428-9255              

Jackie Mendoza  | 217-355-1750 

Vanessa Duncan  | 217-273-4485   

1950 N. Water St., Decatur, IL 62526

1120 1/2 Richmond Ave., Mattoon, IL 61938

704 N. Main St., Tuscola, IL 61953

Justin Dunning | 618-248-8558

Steve Whitlatch | 618-248-8555

Katy Gruen | 618-830-6713

1318 Mercantile Dr., Highland, IL 62249

Brittany Fuqua | 618-619-2450

Amber Blythe | 618-892-9540

Trebor Mann | 618-636-7394

2300 W. Main St., Ste C, Marion, IL 62959

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diversity, equity,
inclusion and belonging

One incredible way Special Olympics Illinois promotes inclusion is by including athletes in leadership positions on the board of directors. One of those athletes is Zinyra “Z” Ross. Z has been involved with Special Olympics Illinois since she was 13 or 14 and has also become an Athlete Leader and member of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee.


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Community Members
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Throughout the
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Provided at 39
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Athlete Leaders
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Charged to Athletes
to Participate
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statement of

Revenues, Gains and Support 2021 2022
Direct Marketing, Contributions & Grant $12,159,576 $18,652,606
In Kind Support $2,523,597 $4,633,918
Interest, Gain, Other Revenue $582,382 ($675,463)
Total Revenue Gains and Other Support $15,265,555 $22,611,061
Program Services $10,814,673 $16,907,271
Fundraising $1,579,454 $2,486,922
Management and General $667,321 $966,055
Total Expenses $13,061,448 $20,360,248
Increase in Net Surplus/(Deficit) $2,204,107 $2,250,813
Ending Net Assets $10,987,142 $13,237,955

of our budget goes to program expenses

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recognition of

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Chicago federation of labor logo
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Illinois lottery logo
Jewel Osco logo
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Law Enforcement Torch Run Logo
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Sloan logo
United Airlines logo
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Special Olympics Illinois has changed my life. I have made life-long friends, learned how to better make healthy life choices, and gained skills as a leader.

Kyle Tuckey
Special Olympics Illinois Athlete