Special Olympics CA Not Included in Initial State Budget; California Voters Push for Inclusion

California voters are urging their elected officials to include Special Olympics California in the revised state budget during the COVID-19 crisis. Special Olympics California was notably missing from the initial budget, but voters are pushing for inclusion in a last effort to ensure state funding for over 64,000 people with intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics California allocates 100 percent of the State of California funding to direct program costs. This critical funding enables Special Olympics California to continue to provide virtual programming, distance education, and inclusive online communities for our athletes and communities throughout California during the pandemic.

“It is unfortunate that the state budget did not include Special Olympics or all the entities that include the special needs community,” said Laneishae Myles, a Special Olympics CA parent and volunteer coach. “Special Olympics’ activities give the athletes the opportunity to socialize with peers and have confidence in themselves. Special Olympics depends on the help of others/government to be able to give the special needs community activities to do throughout the year, just as many typical developing children/adults have as well.”

To contact your elected officials, visit www.californiaspecialolympics.org. Once there, you will find an already written email you can send directly through the site to your elected officials. The letter also includes a place where you can add in personal story.

Why Special Olympics CA Needs State Funding

Since 2016, Special Olympics California and the State of California have partnered to deliver essential wellness and fitness programs to our most vulnerable populations. Over 64,300 California residents throughout all 58 California counties rely on free, year-round Special Olympics programs. The programs impact our communities by helping improve health, wellness, and independence among athletes with intellectual disabilities, while also promoting acceptance and inclusion.

“Through Special Olympics, I have developed good self-esteem, gained confidence and high expectation of myself, learned to be proud of my accomplishments, and learned that I can do anything if I am given the opportunity to try,” said Stephanie C., a Special Olympics California athlete.

COVID-19 Health Crisis and Economic Downturn

As a direct result of the COVID-19 health crisis and the economic downturn, Special Olympics will experience a substantial revenue reduction in 2020-2021. Individual contributions, corporate donations, and endowment revenue have dramatically decreased. Dozens of fundraising events throughout California were cancelled due to COVID-19 health concerns. As a result, Special Olympics California has lost over $1 million in needed revenue.

“Our ability to effectively serve athletes and the intellectual disabilities community will largely be determined by the financial support and partnership with the State of California,” said Special Olympics California Presidents and CEOs Bill Shumard and David Solo. “Without continued funding from the state, we would need to identify alternative revenue options to support the athletes that we serve in California. We need our elected officials to prioritize the essential needs of our athletes, especially during this devastating global pandemic.”

Special Olympics CA needs your help

Although Special Olympics was not included in the initial state budget, it’s not too late to be included in the revised budget. Please ask your elected officials to continue to fund Special Olympics California and their COVID-19 programs. This is the last chance to receive state funding that will help change the lives of 64,300 people with intellectual disabilities through wellness and sports programming.

Please click here to sign the petition and let your elected officials know you support the athletes who rely on Special Olympics California. It only takes a couple of minutes to make a difference in the lives of many.

About Special Olympics California

Special Olympics California enriches the lives of 64,300 athletes and their supporters through sports, leadership programs, and athlete health. Our free, year-round programs lead to improved health, self-confidence, and independence among athletes with intellectual disabilities and acceptance and inclusion in the community. Learn more about Special Olympics California programs at Special Olympics Northern California and Special Olympics Southern California.

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