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SOMO receives $1 million challenge grant

$11.5 Million Raised To-Date Toward Special Olympics Missouri Training for Life Campus

(JEFFERSON CITY) — Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) has received a $1 million challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation for the planned SOMO Training for Life Campus (TLC). The SOMO TLC will be the first facility of its kind in the world built for the sole purpose of improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities with an emphasis on total wellness.

The Mabee Foundation challenge grant provides an incentive for SOMO to raise the remaining balance of $15.875 million by April 2016 in order to receive the $1 million. SOMO has raised 73 percent of its fundraising goal as of Oct. 15.

“We are extremely honored to receive this challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation,” said Dr. Phil Cook, SOMO board chairman. “This prestigious foundation recognizes the worthiness of the Training for Life Campus and is showing great confidence in the supporters of Special Olympics Missouri to make the campus a reality.”

The Training for Life Campus will offer year-round training and education for athletes, coaches and volunteers throughout Missouri. Located on 16.5 acres in Jefferson City, the centrally-located TLC will welcome SOMO athletes, their families and coaches to a 44,000-square-foot campus complete with training and educational facilities, athletic courts and fields and spaces for athlete health screenings, part of SOMO’s growing Healthy Athletes initiative ( SOMO athletes have never had their own facility in the 42-year history of the organization.

The Mabee Foundation is a private charitable foundation founded in 1948 by Mr. John E. Mabee and his wife, Lottie E. Mabee, both Missouri natives. The benevolent foundation has given more than $1 billion to charitable projects since its founding.

“The Mabee Foundation challenge is an inspiration for all of us,” said Mark Musso, president and CEO of Special Olympics Missouri. “We’ve always believed SOMO has the greatest supporters in the world. This great philanthropic foundation has challenged our supporters to reach our fundraising goal in the next year, and create the world’s first facility specifically designed for athletes with intellectual disabilities – not just in terms of athletics, but also in terms of their health needs as well.”

SOMO’s Training for Life Campus fundraising campaign has gained momentum in recent months, a trend which TLC campaign committee members hope will continue with generous tax incentives for donors.

Buoyed by $1.1 million in remaining tax credits from the Missouri Development Finance Board and Neighborhood Assistance Program, SOMO offers donors excellent tax savings for supporting the Training for Life Campus. Tax credits for 2015 are still available.

“The Training for Life Campus capital campaign has tremendous momentum,” Musso said. “The Mabee Foundation gift is a call to action for all of our donors to rally in support of our SOMO athletes in their new home.”

To support the Training for Life Campus or explore tax credit opportunities, please contact Laurie Shadoan, Chief Advancement Officer, at (913) 789-0353 or
For more information on the Training for Life Campus and the capital campaign, contact Gary Wilbers at 573-644-6655 or

Learn more about the SOMO Training for Life Campus at

About Special Olympics Missouri
Special Olympics Missouri is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. More than 16,500 athletes participate in 21 Olympic-type sports throughout the state. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends, and communities across Missouri.

The vast majority of SOMO athletes are poor and low-income. Sixty four percent (64 percent) of SOMO athletes live below the federal poverty level and an additional 7 percent live below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Of our total athletes, 71 percent live in low-income households. An estimated one-third of SOMO athletes have autism spectrum disorder and another third have Down syndrome. There are an estimated 120,800 individuals with intellectual disabilities in Missouri.

SOMO athletes benefit from participation in numerous ways. More than 50 percent of Special Olympics athletes hold jobs, compared to 10 percent of qualified athletes who do not participate in SOMO. Participation in SOMO programs provides free access to health screenings and services, giving intellectually disabled athletes access to health care that they would otherwise not have. Special Olympics is the largest public health platform for people with intellectual disabilities in the world.

Special Olympics Missouri is proud of our financial health returning 83 percent of every dollar back to program services. We are privileged to be recognized with these honors: Better Business Bureau A+ Charity Accreditation, Charity Navigator 3-star rating and an inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame – Class of 2013.

Thank you for trusting us with your donations, volunteer time and your goodwill.

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