Freezin’ for a Reason: Annual Polar Plunge Raises Important Funds for Special Olympics Indiana

by | Jan 12, 2018 | Press Room

Thousands of advocates will raise money and awareness in their local communities this winter before taking an icy plunge to show their support for Special Olympics Indiana.

INDIANAPOLIS — As they have each year for nearly two decades, Hoosiers in every corner of the state will come together this winter to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics Indiana before taking part in the annual Polar Plunge — a series of exhilarating events where individuals and teams brave the elements by taking an icy dip to demonstrate their commitment to the cause.

A total of 16 Polar Plunge events are scheduled for February and March of 2018 in cities and on college campuses across Indiana. Plunge sites include: Boonville, Borden, Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis (Butler University and Eagle Creek Park), Kokomo, Liberty, Muncie, Petersburg, South Bend, Terre Haute, Valparaiso, Versailles, Warsaw, and West Lafayette. For details and a complete calendar of events, visit

All funds raised by the Polar Plunge directly benefit more than 14,000 Special Olympics athletes throughout Indiana, giving them the means to train locally and to compete at the state level in a number of Olympic-type sports.

“This is an opportunity for people who care about Special Olympics to make a difference by ensuring that we have the necessary funds to continue to grow and to serve people with intellectual disabilities in Indiana,” said Scott Furnish, Special Olympics Indiana’s senior director of development. “Plus, it’s kind of fun to challenge yourself to go outside your comfort zone and to do something a little crazy, like jumping in a lake in the middle of winter.”

To date, the organization’s signature fundraiser has raised more than $4 million in support of year-round programs and events, including over $750,000 in 2017. More than 3,000 individuals are again expected to take the plunge this year, raising a minimum of $75 each.

To learn more about the Polar Plunge, or to register or make a contribution in support of a participating individual or team, visit

Teams, Prizes, and More

• Each Polar Plunge event has its own unique personality, with additional activities ranging from costume contests to 5K fundraising races and the always popular “After Splash Bash” — a celebration following each event where participants are recognized and presented with awards.

• The majority of Polar Plunge participants register as part of a team, often representing a business, school, family, fraternity/sorority, church group, or sports team. Teams of 10 or more are eligible for team awards.

• All individuals who raise at least $75 are rewarded with an official Polar Plunge t-shirt. Other prizes this year will include branded towels, blankets, backpacks, and jackets, each awarded at a certain fundraising level. Learn more by visiting

Campus Challenge

• Polar Plunge events will be held on six Indiana campuses in 2018, including Purdue, IU, Butler, Indiana State, Ball State, and Valparaiso.

• Committees made up of students and volunteers at each school lead the charge to host the best campus event, with the top fundraising school earning the right to keep a traveling trophy at the end of each Polar Plunge season.

Other Ways to Support the Polar Plunge

• Those who are unable or unwilling to participate in the Polar Plunge are encouraged to fundraise as “Virtual Plungers” or to donate on behalf of a participating individual or team. Volunteers are also needed to organize and staff each event.

• Individuals who go above and beyond in their efforts to support the Polar Plunge by raising a minimum of $4,000 are eligible to be recognized as “Super Plungers.” Fifteen individuals earned this distinction in 2017.

• The Polar Plunge is presented by the Law Enforcement Torch Run® to benefit Special Olympics Indiana. Companies and other organizations can support the Polar Plunge through corporate sponsorships or employee matching programs. Gold level sponsors of the 2018 Polar Plunge include Duke Energy, Graycor Industrial Constructors, and Coca-Cola.

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Upcoming Events

all-day 50th Anniversary Global Celebration @ Chicago, Illinois
50th Anniversary Global Celebration @ Chicago, Illinois
Jul 17 – Jul 22 all-day
Come out for the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Celebration in Chicago 17-21 July! Join us as we launch into the next 50 years of the Inclusion Revolution with a week of high-level sports competition at the[...]
all-day NFHS Leadership Conference @ Plainfield High School, Plainfield
NFHS Leadership Conference @ Plainfield High School, Plainfield
Jul 23 – Jul 24 all-day
Special Olympics Indiana is teaming up with the National Federation of High Schools to host the NFHS Leadership Conference at Plainfield High School in Plainfield on July 23 and 24.  Student athletes from across the[...]

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