ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Local philanthropist and Paychex founder, Tom Golisano, is donating $30 million to the Special Olympics. It's the largest single private gift ever given to the organization.
According to the Golisano Foundation, the money will be used to expand the Special Olympics Healthy Communities program, which provides health services globally for people with intellectual disabilities.
"By investing in our Healthy Communities, Mr. Golisano will allow us to expand to hundreds of new domestic and global regions," said Dr. Alicia Bazzano, Special Olympics chief health officer. "This new gift comes at a critical time for our global community as we have seen during this pandemic just how little this population has been prioritized."
"I am pleased to continue financial support for Special Olympics’ extraordinary health work, which is giving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities improved access to health services and the opportunity to live happier, more productive lives," said Golisano. "Special Olympics’ impact on the health of people with intellectual disabilities is impressive – as is its strategy on how to build on this success over the next several years. The focus on measurement, standardization of practices, early diagnosis, a trained workforce, and health systems that demonstrate inclusive policies, will effectively position Special Olympics to further our mutual goal of health equity."
Over the past five years, Special Olympics conducted 700,000 athlete health screenings through its Healthy Communities program — double the number done in the previous five years. It offered follow-up care that decreased urgent referral needs by half.