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Breaking the tape – Special Olympics sets record

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Corporate donors, local volunteers, and efficient staff made a record-breaking team at the Special Olympics World Games n the Triangle last summer, netting the most money in the event’s 31-year history, The News & Observer in Raleigh reports. 

The $2.5 million surplus will be split between the national Special Olympics and the North Carolina chapter, boosting North Carolina’s branch budget of $4 million by over 20 percent.

The bulk of the money will be invested, and the interest will be used to expand the Special Olympics, Keith Fishburne, president of the North Carolina chapter, told the newspaper.

The organization wants to add 1,000 athletes a year to the current 25,000 participants in North Carolina.

Fishburne said $100,000 of the funds will be sent to Eastern counties whose Special Olympics programs shrank after Hurricane Floyd, when local donors shifted their giving priorities to hurricane relief efforts.

World Games CEO Joe Freddoso told the News & Observer that the organization was reluctant to publicize North Carolina’s windfall because the group didn’t want to create the impression that North Carolina Special Olympics doesn’t need financial contributions.

Last summer, about 7,000 mentally disabled athletes from 150 countries gathered in the Triangle area for 9 days of sports competition and social gatherings. More than 36,000 volunteers pitched in to make the event a success.

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