Hope is a powerful force

July 2018 marks significant milestones with Special Olympics. The organization will celebrate its global 50th anniversary, and thousands of athletes will come together to compete in the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle. Bank of America has been honored to partner with Special Olympics for more than 30 years, and we invite you to support Special Olympics and athletes around the globe to help foster a more inclusive world.

While the global Special Olympics movement has done much to empower people with disabilities and build a more accepting society, there is still work to be done. One in five Americans said they would not be comfortable hiring someone with an intellectual disability (ID).1 Nearly 4 in 10 Americans believe that children with an ID should not be integrated in the same classroom as other kids their age.1 These views may persist because more than 40% of Americans have had no personal contact with someone with an ID and still cling to old judgments and dated stereotypes.1 These statistics mean it is time for change.

The Special Olympics USA Games demonstrate the benefits and personal triumphs that result when people with an ID are given opportunities to achieve their full potential on and off the field. In 2018, the USA Games include 3,000 Special Olympics athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 1,000 coaches, 10,000 family members, 10,000 volunteers and an estimated 50,000 spectators.

At Bank of America, we believe that diverse and inclusive communities are stronger, better places in which to live and work. We recognize that creating a culture that encourages employees to bring their whole selves to work enables us to better meet the needs of the customers, clients and communities we serve. We employ approximately 300 employees2 with intellectual disabilities, who deliver services core to our company’s business operations, and we’re proud that two of our employees will compete in Seattle.

Bank of America and Special Olympics have partnered for over 30 years, working together to build a more diverse and inclusive society through the power of sports.” —  Anne Finucane, vice chairman, Bank of America

“Together, we’re helping Special Olympic athletes achieve their goals on and off the field by advancing their leadership, employment, skills training and mentoring,” said Anne Finucane, vice chairman, Bank of America.

By raising awareness about intellectual disabilities, advancing a more inclusive workforce, and through partnerships like Special Olympics, we can break down barriers and transform stereotypes. Let’s pick up hope together.

1 Sources: Special Olympics, The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into Intellectual Disabilities in the 21st Century, 2015.

2 As of 4/30/2018.