Saturday, April 10, 2021

Reveal the champion in all of us

| April 7, 2021 1:00 AM

Martin Luther King, Jr once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question, what are you doing for others?” Thanks to you, for 50 plus years Special Olympics Montana has cared for, lifted-up, and empowered people with intellectual disabilities to be all they can be through sports training and competition, health and education initiatives, and leadership opportunities.

While we serve more than 3,000 athletes annually, nearly 20,000 Montanans with intellectual disabilities sit on the sidelines waiting for a chance to get in the game of life. By providing opportunities and enabling athletes to develop lifetime skills, self-worth and confidence, they help all of us imagine what is possible. Indeed, if we pause long enough to listen, athletes are masterful teachers and help reveal the champion in all of us.

As one athlete put it during a State Games, “I feel really good about myself”. When asked why, they said, “Because everyone here treats me the way I want to be.” This is simply profound because that is what we all want. To be treated the way we want to be.

Over the past two decades, the resiliency of our mission has been challenged, not unlike other nonprofits, by the 2007-2009 Great Recession and Coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has exacerbated social isolation that has come with this pandemic for our athletes. But through the untiring resolve and efforts of thousands of volunteers, families, donors, sponsors, and athletes, Special Olympics Montana has established itself as a relevant movement in the lives of not only the athletes, but their families and entire communities across our Treasure State.

To secure the future of Special Olympics Montana and the opportunities it affords people to find their voice, express themselves, become part of the workforce, and enjoy being part of a community, we have embarked on an audacious goal of building a robust $10 million endowment that will serve children and adult athletes for many generations to come. The earnings from the endowment will be shared with local and area operations to sustain quality programs and support growth well into the future.

Through the inspired efforts and long-time generosity of four one-million dollar donors – Tom and Joan Scott of Billings, Bob and Gladyce Oakland family of Great Falls, Mike and Cyndi Huempfner of Bozeman, and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation – and many other generous donors, we’ve raised to date nearly $7.5 million.

Annual fundraising will always be an important part of our mission. However, we recognize the importance of building an endowment that fortifies our position to endure unexpected events not unlike the coronavirus pandemic while providing critical annual operating revenue for local programs.

If you are a fan of dignity and solidarity, we invite you to support the Special Olympics Montana Reveal the Champion in All of Us endowment campaign by helping us achieve our $10 million goal. We invite you to help us sprint to the finish line with a strong gold medal performance.

How do you want to be remembered? What kind of legacy would you like to leave? Support the Special Olympics Montana endowment and create a legacy that you will remember and that will remember you.

To make a donation or pledge, please contact Bob Norbie at For more information visit:

Darryl Seymour is Chairman of the Board, Jim Foley is the Campaign Executive Leadership Council Chairman, Rhonda McCarty is President and CEO, and Bob Norbie is Campaign Executive Director for Special Olympics Montana.