Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Special Olympics honored with Security Benefit Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education

Chairman Dr. Timothy Shriver accepts award at Washington D.C. Gala

Washington, DC (February 12, 2014) –Special Olympics received the Security Benefit Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala on February 7, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Chairman Dr. Timothy Shriver accepted the award on behalf of Special Olympics. Watch a video of Shriver’s acceptance speech.

Past recipients of this prestigious award include former President Bill Clinton, First Book, Title IX advocate Billie Jean King, and Sesame Street Workshop. The NEA Foundation presents this award to individuals and organizations for their lifelong commitment to advancing public education. It is typically presented to those who work outside the field. As part of this award, Security Benefit Corporation is giving a $5,000 contribution to Special Olympics.

Since 1968, Special Olympics has worked to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people. Special Olympics athletes find joy, confidence and fulfillment -- on the playing field and in life. The organization inspires individuals and communities to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential.

According to the World Health Organization, up to three percent or almost 200 million people of the world’s population have intellectual disabilities, making this population one of the largest disability populations in the world. Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving 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.

“Unlocking the unique potential that exists in all individuals is one of the most important things we can do to help young people succeed in school and in life,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “We are delighted to honor the work of Special Olympics to help these remarkable athletes achieve their goals.”

“As the world gathers in Sochi for the Winter Olympic games, it seems appropriate that we honor an organization that, for more than 40 years, has transformed the lives of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities,” said Michael P. Kiley, Security Benefit Corp. Chief Executive Officer. “The magic of Special Olympics lies in how the power and joy of sport shifts focus to what these athletes CAN do, not what they can't. Attention to disabilities fades away as the athletes succeed.”

“On behalf of the global Special Olympics movement, I am honored to receive the Security Benefit Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education to Special Olympics,” said Dr. Timothy Shriver. “When my mother founded Special Olympics 45 years ago she demonstrated the tenacity, passion and spirit that everyone can and should change the world for persons with intellectual disabilities through sport.  Today, Special Olympics is not just a sports organization-- it is a social revolution using sports to achieve its goals of inclusion, acceptance and joy for all.”

Known as the Academy Awards of public education, the NEA Foundation’s gala attracts nearly 800 leaders from the education, business and philanthropy sectors. Special Olympics was honored along with 36 of the nation’s top educators, who received the California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence.

The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards with support from Security Benefit, Bank of America, California Casualty, Horace Mann Educators Corporation, NEA Member Benefits, Pearson Charitable Foundation, and Promethean.


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About Security Benefit
Security Benefit is a 122-year-old, Kansas-based insurance company which in recent years has become one of the fastest growing retirement savings and income companies in the industry. Through a combination of innovative products, exceptional investment management and a unique distribution strategy, we have become a leader in a full range of retirement markets and wealth segments. Security Benefit is indirectly controlled by Guggenheim Partners, LLC. To learn more about Security Benefit, visit

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than four million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now take place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all over the world, from community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard to World Games. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics;;, and

About The NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is a public charity supported by contributions from educators' dues, corporate sponsors, and others who support public education initiatives.We partner with education unions, districts, and communities to create powerful, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. Visit for more information. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our blog.

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