Who We Are

Who We Are

About Special Olympics Indiana

Special Olympics Indiana is a nonprofit organization that is a part of the global Special Olympics movement, using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities.

Founded in 1969, Special Olympics Indiana is one of more than 50 Special Olympics affiliates in North America. Our program has grown to include more than 19,000 athletes and Unified partners with the support of more than 10,000 coaches and volunteers throughout the state.

Special Olympics Indiana receives no federal or state-appropriated funds, is not a United Way Agency, and relies entirely on corporate, civic and individual donations.

At the core, Special Olympics is a sports organization that uses the power of sport as a catalyst for social change. Through sport, we challenge society. By highlighting how the needs of people with ID are not being met, we expose inequity and exclusion. By drawing attention to the gifts of people with ID, we break down misperceptions and tackle negative attitudes.


To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, offering them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.


Our vision is an inclusive world for all, driven by the power of sport, through which people with intellectual disabilities live active, healthy and fulfilling lives.

About Special Olympics International

Special Olympics International was created by the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation for the benefit of persons with intellectual disabilities. 

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the global Special Olympics movement is distinct in its vision to empower all people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential and develop their skills through year-round sports training and competition. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 170 million people, or 3 percent of the world’s population, have intellectual disabilities — the largest disability population in the world. Intellectual disability knows no boundaries. It cuts across the lines of racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic backgrounds, and it can occur in any family.

With the unifying power of sports at its core, Special Olympics has grown to be a movement not about “them,” but about all of “us.” We are a movement that invites the world to think, feel and act differently about everything. We believe in creating more unified communities — places where each person regardless of ability or disability, is accepted, respected and welcomed, and where each individual contributes to the strength and vibrancy of the whole.

About Play Unified

Understanding Unified Sports

Unified Sports® joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

Playing unified can be as easy as picking up a ball and inviting someone not quite like you to play. Or you can participate in an organized Unified Sports event.

Our opponent is intolerance. As long as we come together on the field of play, we can defeat it.

The Play Unified Campaign

Special Olympics has launched a fully integrated, multi-faceted marketing campaign targeting young people age 14 to 25 throughout the world. The Play Unified campaign will raise the profile of the Special Olympics brand among current and new advocates and supporters, and it will encourage young people to make a difference and help create more unified and just communities around the world.

This Unified Generation will come to embody the principles of our movement and in turn will shape the world into one in which respect, tolerance and equality prevail. We will inspire attitudes that lead to activity WITH our athletes, rather than an approach of doing things FOR our athletes. People with intellectual disabilities say they want to be included as equals in society. For more information, visit playunified.org.


Our Goal

The goal of Special Olympics Indiana is for all persons with intellectual disabilities to have the chance to become useful and productive citizens who are accepted and respected in their communities.