Our Mission

Special Olympics Northern California provides athletic opportunities to children and adults with intellectual disabilities, instilling the confidence they need to succeed in life.

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  • 19,940 Athletes
  • 19,680 Volunteers
  • 300+ Schools
  • 11 Sports

Our impact reaches across communities. Let's do more together!



Core Values

Sportsmanship — A commitment to fairness, ethics, respect, and fellowship in competition and in life. “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

Volunteerism — A commitment to celebrating and appreciating volunteers, who do good for the benefit of others without seeking personal reward or remuneration. 

Acceptance — A commitment to openly embrace and welcome all others without regard to ability, race, creed, nationality, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation.


Our History

The concept for Special Olympics was born in the early 1960s, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a day camp for people with intellectual disabilities at her home in Rockville, Maryland. Her vision quickly gained recognition and momentum, and in 1968 the first International Special Olympics Games were held at Soldier Field, Chicago, bringing together over 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 26 states and Canada.

Since then, Mrs. Shriver's vision has grown into one of the largest and most successful sports and volunteer organizations in the world. There are Special Olympics chapters in every state of America and in more than 150 countries worldwide, serving more than three-million Special Olympics athletes.

Special Olympics Northern California opened its doors in 1995. What started originally as a small grass-roots organization has since become a powerful voice for athletes with intellectual disabilities, encompassing Northern California from the Oregon border to Monterey and Tulare counties.  Find a program in your county.


Annual Report & Tax Information