Special Olympics, the global inclusion movement dedicated to empowering people with intellectual disabilities through sport, and Gallagher, a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm, are expanding their partnership to include five regional markets across the globe to help scale Special Olympics sport and coach development programming at the community level. The regional markets include Illinois, New York and Southern California in the United States, Ontario, Canada and Australia.

Launched in March 2020, the four-year global partnership is dedicated to improving and delivering highest quality of coach training and sports experiences that empower Special Olympics athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to face their future with confidence.

“Coaching athletes is a true highlight of all that I do,” said Leonard Woodson, Special Olympics Illinois coach. “Seeing the athletes show up weekly to have a lot of fun while working hard during training is very encouraging and inspiring to me. The athletes understand that they are attending practices so they can do well during competitions. That inspires me to constantly find creative ways to help each of them improve, regardless of their ability level.”

With nearly all in-person training and competition on hold due to COVID-19, Special Olympics and Gallagher have continued to find new ways to make an impact on the local level through virtual engagement and support. In August 2020, Gallagher served as the Presenting Sponsor of the Chicago Ducky Derby for Special Olympics Illinois; Gallagher helped raise funds to purchase more than 1,000 virtual rubber ducks that floated down the Chicago River as a part of the annual fundraiser. Globally, Gallagher and Special Olympics are launching a content series that features Special Olympics athletes and Gallagher employees (former pro and semi-pro athletes) sharing valuable lessons learned in their sport that translate to leadership skills on and off the field of play.

“Gallagher is extremely proud to be teaming up with Special Olympics by delivering support in several local communities where we live and work, and will open the door for more people with intellectual disabilities to learn teamwork, improve their fitness, and develop confidence,” said Chris Mead, Gallagher Chief Marketing Officer. “Through our shared belief of acknowledging and respecting the abilities of one another, the partnership will help improve critical elements of Special Olympics programming and support coaches in their dedication to athletes within these local markets and around the world.”

Gallagher is the Official Sponsor of Special Olympics International Sport and Coach Programming, focused on the movement’s mission to deliver the highest quality of coach training and sport experience to nearly six million Special Olympics athletes with and without intellectual disabilities across the globe. Special Olympics Illinois is proud to recognize Gallagher as a Silver Level State Sponsor and the Official Community Insurance Broker of Special Olympics Illinois.

About Special Olympics
Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.

About Special Olympics Illinois
Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit sports organization offering year-round training and competition in 18 sports for more than 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and over 17,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. It strives to 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. If you are interested in being a part of Special Olympics Illinois and its vision, contact your local region, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org. Follow Special Olympics Illinois on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.