Governor Doug Ducey today announced $250,000 for Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ), a nonprofit organization that provides services to individuals with intellectual disabilities, including physical activity and competition programs, health screenings and art programs. The $250,000 investment will help SOAZ continue to engage individuals in virtual programming during COVID-19 and ensure proper mitigation efforts when in-person activities resume.
“Special Olympics Arizona empowers Arizonans with intellectual disabilities and helps them engage with others,” said Governor Ducey. “We are very proud of all Special Olympics athletes throughout the state, and want to ensure they can all continue to safely practice the sports they love and participate in other activities during COVID-19. My thanks to Special Olympics Arizona, the dedicated volunteers and everyone working to support Arizonans with intellectual disabilities.”
“Arizonans with intellectual disabilities face challenges every day, and the team at Special Olympics Arizona works hard to help them feel healthy, safe and confident,” said SOAZ President and CEO Jamie Heckerman. “This funding will ensure our athletes continue to engage with our communities and participate in important programs. My thanks to Governor Ducey, the thousands of volunteers and our team at Special Olympics Arizona for the support.”
SOAZ serves more than 20,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities, and more than 24,000 volunteers team up with the SOAZ staff to host Special Olympics programs. The organization’s Unified Champion Schools Program operates in more than 240 schools, offering an accredited physical education program, campaigns engaging entire student bodies and more. Additionally, SOAZ offers free health screenings by certified health clinicians and art programs, breaking down barriers and encouraging social engagement for those with intellectual disabilities.
These dollars come from the Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund, which was established in March by Arizona’s bipartisan state budget agreement.