Leading the Way

Partner Profile: Special Olympics Maine

Partner Profile: Special Olympics Maine

Location: South Portland, Maine

Mission: The Mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving 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.

How does Unum support Special Olympics Maine? Since 2012, Unum’s partnership with Special Olympics Maine has helped offset the rising costs of our largest event of the year, the annual State Summer Games, stated Special Olympics Maine President and CEO Philip Geelhoed. “With increased athlete participation being the greatest contributing factor, Special Olympics Maine reached out to Unum who answered the request.”

Special Olympics Maine serves more than 4,200 athletes across Maine and 1,600 of them attend this three day/two night event each year. This includes an addition of more than 500 coaches and another 600 or more volunteers.

“In addition to Unum’s involvement at our State Summer Games, and in an effort to get even more employees involved in our program, it was decided a new competitive bocce event would be offered on Unum’s campus, in connection with our Special Olympics Cumberland County program,” Geelhoed said. Unum employees plan, execute and officiate the event.

What impact has it had on Special Olympics Maine? In 2015, Unum started bringing several employees to the State Summer Games to volunteer. “As a result, at the 2016 Games, Unum ‘adopted’ a large part of the competition as their own, with more than 40 volunteers who completely planned and executed several competitive events,” Geelhoed said. “During the process Unum enhanced the venue and the overall experience for those who competed.”

More importantly, as an organization that strives to make a positive difference in the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities, we are truly grateful for our growing relationship with Unum, stated Geelhoed.

Why does Unum support Special Olympics Maine? “This partnership has blossomed over the past couple of years with our support of the Summer Games,” said Cary Olson-Cartwright, assistant vice president for Corporate Social Responsibility at Unum. “More than 25 employees spend the weekend at the University of Maine to volunteer at this statewide event. Being able to interact with the athletes and cheer them on is very meaningful to our employees.”

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