Boston Bruins Foundation announce historic partnership with Special Olympics Massachusetts
On Tuesday August 28, the Boston Bruins Foundation announced an historic partnership with Special Olympics Massachusetts. The Boston Bruins Foundation has pledged a $1 million donation over three years to Special Olympics Massachusetts; the largest donation by the foundation to date. Beyond the donation, the Bruins Foundation will involve athletes in initiatives to promote inclusion and overall health and wellness. They will also work to educate fans on the work Special Olympics Massachusetts is doing in the community and share stories of the incredible talent and determination demonstrated by athletes.
“We’re honored to continue to grow our partnership with the Boston Bruins and the Bruins Foundation and we’re excited live up to the Bruins and our athlete’s expectations of what we can accomplish with this level of support.” said Special Olympics Massachusetts CEO, Mary Beth McMahon.
During her remarks, she noted how pairing the Special Olympics logo with the Bruins logo, possibly one of the most recognizable sports organizations in the country, emphasizes that Special Olympics is about sports at its core.
Executive Director of the Boston Bruins Foundation, Bob Sweeney understands this.
“I would challenge everybody here to go to one of these events. It’s amazing how committed these athletes are,” Sweeney said. “Their commitment, their passion every time they hit the athletic field is unbelievable.”
CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings, Charlie Jacobs also spoke at the press conference before the check presentation.
Also in attendance were Bruins players Matt Grzelcyk and Tuukka Rask as well as Special Olympics Unified partner Betame DeBono and Special Olympics athletes Beth Donahue, Sydney Meininger, and John Dunleavy, who is also a Bruins employee.
A main focus of this partnership will be fitness and promoting inclusive wellness opportunities to athletes of all ages across the state.
“We really want to focus on health and wellness for these athletes,” Sweeney said. “It’s not only going to be writing a check, which we all can do, but it’s going to be having our players interact with their athletes.”
Being the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics, this a major milestone for the organization and athletes, and a time to reflect on how far the organization has come.
“After 50 years we’re signing a partnership of two of the greatest brands, but more importantly two of the greatest sports organizations,” Mary Beth said. “From a time when our athletes were isolated and segregated, to a time when we have a partnership with this amazing organization.”
Pieces in the exhibit at The Sports Museum at TD Garden include apparel, medals and photos from the past 50 years, as well as a newspaper article from the days of Camp Shriver when Eunice Kennedy Shriver invited kids with intellectual disabilities to her home to play sports and do other activities. The news clipping shows how Camp Shriver was viewed as an “experiment”, and individuals with intellectual disabilities were not given the opportunities they are now. In 50 years what was once an “experiment” has grown into year-round sports opportunities in 172 countries for nearly 5 million athletes, unified sports in thousands of schools around the world, games televised nationally on ESPN and other networks, and a movement that aims for more than simply acceptance, but total inclusion on and off the playing field.
The annual Boston Bruins Foundation golf tournament on September 4 will mark the start of the partnership. This year’s tournament will be highlighted by a ceremonial tee shot featuring a Special Olympics golfer and a member of the Boston Bruins. Special Olympics athletes will also be in attendance on Opening Night on Monday, October 8 when the Boston Bruins take on the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden and will continue to highlight Special Olympics athletes in games throughout the season.