The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon will add Special Olympics Wisconsin Unified Sports Program to its list of nonprofit partners for the next three years. Special Olympics Wisconsin Unified Sports Program joins ASPIRO and the Greater Green Bay YMCA Full Circle Program as the recipients of funds raised by the 18th annual Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.
Special Olympics empowers individuals with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, using sports as the catalyst as well as programming around health and education. Funds from the marathon will benefit the Unified Sports program through Special Olympics Wisconsin. Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Special Olympics Unified Sports combines individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and individuals without intellectual disabilities (partners) on sports teams. The program was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.
“Special Olympics Wisconsin is honored to have been selected as the charity partner for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. Sports are a powerful tool for building connections and increasing inclusion and Unified Sports brings youth and community members together in a unique and powerful way. The foundation of Unified Sports is the principal of meaningful involvement, where every player is given an opportunity to contribute to the success of his or her team through their unique skills and qualities. We are ultimately engaging communities to overcome a culture of exclusion,” said Matt Harper, Regional Director of Development, Special Olympics Wisconsin.
The charity partners for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon operate on three-year terms, with one new charity added each year and one exiting charity each year. The selected non-profit organizations become a strong member of the operational team, comprised primarily of volunteers, to put on this event.
“We are excited to have Special Olympics Wisconsin on board for the next three years. The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon aims to promote a year-round active lifestyle and foster community spirit, and Special Olympics’ focus on inclusion athletics embodies this,” said Brighid Riordan, board president of the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. “We are proud to offer our support to their Unified Sports program as it works to build bonds and break down barriers.”
The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon aims to support a community need when selecting a charity partner and chooses a charity partner that can effectively utilize the marathon’s platform. In 2016, the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon donated $160,000 to its three charity partners. Over the past 17 years, the non-profit event has generated over $1.2 million in proceeds for local non-profits.
To pledge to run for Special Olympics Wisconsin Unified Sports Program or another charity partner, runners can sign-up for the Run for a Reason program, which allows participants to raise funds for the marathon’s partners in exchange for a free entry into the marathon or half marathon. Participants must raise $300 to receive their free entry and all funds go directly to the charities.