Special Olympics New York Announces Largest Individual Gift Ever from Western New York

$100,000 Donation from J. Michael & Alice Smith Inspired by Tom Golisano

Funds to Support Next Generation of Special Olympics Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities

Rochester, NY – Special Olympics New York today announced that it has received the largest individual gift the organization has ever received in its Western New York or Genesee Regions: a $100,000 donation inspired by the friendship of Tom Golisano, founder and chairman of Paychex, Inc.

In making the gift, J. Michael and Alice Smith, of Rochester, expressed their thanks for the friendship that Golisano has extended to them over the years and their admiration for what he has done, and is doing, for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“It’s difficult to find a way to thank Tom for all he has done for us personally and what an amazing impact he has made on behalf of the special people in our world,” said Mr. Smith. “In this small way, we try.”

“I cannot think of a more meaningful reason to support our inclusive community than a gift inspired by friendship,” said Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “Special Olympics New York is honored to work with Mike and Alice to thank their friend, Tom Golisano, by creating more opportunities for children with and without intellectual disabilities to meet new friends and grow together.”

The Smiths’ gift will be used to support the next generation of Special Olympics New York athletes through the expansion of the Young Athletes Program, which provides inclusive play opportunities for children of all abilities, generally ages 2-7. The program engages children with and without intellectual disabilities in activities important to mental and physical development, such as running, balance, and catching, while also teaching inclusion at a young age and preparing athletes for Special Olympics training and competition when they become eligible at age 8.

Tom Golisano is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and civic leader who has demonstrated an ongoing dedication and commitment to building innovative businesses, supporting numerous non-profit organizations (including Special Olympics New York), and advocating for inclusive health and several civic issues. The Golisano Foundation is one of the world’s largest foundations that award grants to organizations providing opportunities for those with intellectual disabilities. Golisano’s philanthropic contributions, both personal and through the Foundation, exceed $300 million.

The Golisano Foundation has been a steadfast partner for Special Olympics New York over the years and continues to be the largest non-governmental supporter of the organization’s Unified Champion Schools Program, which brings school-age students with and without intellectual disabilities together as teammates.


About Special Olympics New York

Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 68,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with about 250 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports, where students with and without disabilities compete as teammates. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. The organization has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.com, making it one of the most trusted charities in the business nationally. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.