Special Olympics Receives Grant to Launch New ‘Healthy Communities’ Initiative

DALLAS—The Special Olympics Foundation and its longtime partner, The Essilor Vision Foundation participated in the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting held last week in New York City. On the opening day of the annual meeting, former president Bill Clinton announced a $12 million grant from businessman and philanthropist Tom Golisano to the Special Olympics, which will allow for the launch of a new Healthy Communities initiative.

Discussing the Special Olympics new Healthy Communities Initiative were, (l to r) Timothy Shriver, Bill Clinton, Al Brandel, Stephen Shawler, and Timothy Shriver, Jr.

“As a proud partner to the Special Olympics Foundation, we are ecstatic to watch the opportunities this generous donation will unfold for the foundation’s future,” said Stephen Shawler, president of the Essilor Vision Foundation. “The Special Olympics Foundation, like that of the Essilor Vision Foundation, aims to improve health for everyone—not just those who can afford expensive care and treatment. We couldn’t be any prouder to call the Special Olympics Foundation a partner.”

At the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York were President Bill Clinton, Al Brandel
of Lions Club Intl., Ross Brownlee of Safilo, David Evangelisa and Timothy Shriver of Special Olympics, Stephen Shawler of Essilor Vision Foundation and Special Olympic athletes.

The goal of the Special Olympics Healthy Communities initiative is to achieve improved health outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all are receiving health services, reaching their full potential, according to Essilor. It will expand services to more athletes, increase partnerships with local organizations, expand the use of technology and promote awareness of the health difficulties facing people with intellectual disabilities, the company said.

Shawler told VMail that the Essilor Vision Foundation will support the new initiative by supplying lenses and frames.

Essilor Vision Foundation is a public non-profit charity established by Dallas-based Essilor of America. It is the exclusive global supplier of corrective lenses for the Special Olympics-Lions Club International Opening Eyes vision care program. As part of the Healthy Athletes program launched in 1997, Opening Eyes promotes healthy vision for Special Olympic athletes and includes vision screenings, corrective and sports protective eyewear for athletes in need and referrals for athletes requiring follow-up treatment and services.