Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a pioneer in the global struggle for rights and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities. Eunice Shriver believed in justice. But she saw little justice in the way people with intellectual disabilities were treated in the 1950s and 1960s, and she decided to make a difference. Mrs. Shriver set the foundation for Special Olympics in 1962, inviting young people with intellectual disabilities to a summer day camp she hosted in her backyard. She called it “Camp Shriver”. The idea began to grow, and in July 1968 the first International Special Olympics Games were held in Chicago. Her revolutionary vision and programs changed the world.
Tim Shriver and Maria Shriver, co-founders of Lovin’ Scoopful, are two of Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s children. Tim has been a part of Special Olympics since 1995, serving in a number of rolls including CEO. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Special Olympics. Maria Shriver is an award winning journalist and author, and NBC News anchor reporting on the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life. Together with two other partners, Tim and Maria founded Lovin’ Scoopful to serve as an ongoing source of revenue for Special Olympics and other causes that help power the human spirt.