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Special Olympics Canada Honoured to Receive $ 1 Million Donation from The Slaight Family Foundation for Young Athletes with an Intellectual Disability

/EIN News/ -- TORONTO, Feb. 11, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Special Olympics Canada is proud to be one of 11 national organizations serving children and youth in Canada to receive support from The Slaight Family Foundation Children and Youth Initiative. This $11-million initiative aims to support and aid in the healthy development of Canada's most vulnerable children and youth. The funding will enable these organizations to kick-start new initiatives or quickly expand services to improve the physical, mental and social well-being of children in Canada.

For Special Olympics Canada, this $1-million grant over the next four years, will be used to help increase the number of children and youth who benefit from our Active Start (2-6 years-old) and FUNdamentals (7-12 years-old) programs in our 12 Provincial and Territorial Chapters across Canada. Specifically, funds will go towards added equipment and venue rentals, increased leadership training, and the development of online resources which will help Special Olympics Canada deliver these programs to even more communities, families and children across Canada. These programs provide children with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to improve physical, social, and cognitive abilities through play. Additionally, Active Start and FUNdamentals programs offer young children with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to start a lifelong journey of positive physical activity, healthy living and social inclusion.

"Each of the organizations and their programs are ensuring that children and youth are supported in all areas of their lives. By focusing on younger Canadians they are shaping the future of our country," said Gary Slaight, President and CEO of The Slaight Family Foundation. "We hope these gifts provide them with the resources to help children lead healthy, successful and positive lives.  We would also encourage others to support these national initiatives for the betterment of Canadian children and youth."

The gifts were announced today at an event hosted by The Slaight Family Foundation. Chief Executive Officers from all of the recipient charities spoke about the importance of The Slaight Family Foundation Children and Youth Initiative and the projects it will support. In attendance at the announcement to celebrate this news were Special Olympics Active Start participant Levi Adam, along with his mother, Jessica, and father, Sean. 

"Special Olympics Canada thanks The Slaight Family Foundation for its incredible generosity, building on its tremendous and transformative philanthropic legacy by establishing The Slaight Family Foundation Children and Youth Initiative," said Sharon Bollenbach, CEO, Special Olympics Canada. "We are honoured to be a beneficiary of the Initiative and to be among such an esteemed group of charities that make such a huge impact on the lives of children and youth within our communities. This funding will help bring the transformative power and joy of sport to more children with intellectual disabilities, their families, and the communities they live in, and encourage a lifelong commitment to healthy, active living."

About Special Olympics Canada

Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through the transformative power and joy of sport. Operating out of sport clubs in 12 provincial and territorial Chapters, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sport to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 40,000 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada. They are supported by more than 19,000 volunteers, including more than 14,000 trained coaches.

For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@SpecialOCanada).

CONTACT: Bill Wilson
         Director, Special Olympics Canada
         416-927-9050 ext. 4383
Distribution channels: Education, Sports, Fitness & Recreation