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Special Olympics

CharityWatch report issued
April 2024

CharityWatch Grade
Our independent grade based
on a number of factors.
Program Percentage
Amount spent on programs
relative to overhead.
Cost to Raise $100
Amount spent to raise
$100 of contributions.

Contact Information

Special Olympics
1133 19th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036-3604

Other Names


Tax Status


Stated Mission

Provide year-round sports training & athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children & adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy & participate in a sharing of gifts, skills & friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes & the community.

View similar charities
Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 12/31/2022

Program Percentage: 74%

The percentage of Special Olympics's cash budget it spends on programs relative to overhead (fundraising, management, and general expenses).


Calculated Total Expenses



Cost to Raise $100: $32

How many dollars Special Olympics spends on fundraising to raise each $100 of contributions.


Calculated Total Contributions


Joint Costs

Special Olympics' rating was adjusted for Joint Costs. If you are a donor who considers direct mail, telemarketing, and other Joint Cost solicitations to be true charitable programs, the below efficiency ratios, which were not adjusted for joint costs, may better reflect your goals.

Program % Cost to Raise $100
84% $17
Accounting rules allow charities to report some telemarketing, direct mail, and other solicitation costs as Program expenses. CharityWatch believes that most donors do not consider a charity's solicitation activities to be the Programs they are intending to support with their donations. We therefore adjust such expenses out of a charity's reported Program expense and add it to Fundraising expense prior to calculating its rating.

Government Funding

25% to 49%

Percentage of cash revenue
coming from government sources


Financial Documents

Entity Document Type Tax ID
Special Olympics Consolidated Audited Financial Statements Multiple
Special Olympics IRS Form 990 52-0889518
Entity: Special Olympics
Document Type: Consolidated Audited Financial Statements
Tax ID: Multiple
Entity: Special Olympics
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 52-0889518

Governance & Transparency

CharityWatch evaluates certain criteria related to a charity's Governance and Transparency. Donors may want to consider a charity's willingness to be open and transparent with CharityWatch to be a good litmus test for determining its commitment to public accountability.
Special Olympics
meets governance benchmarks.
Special Olympics
meets transparency benchmarks.
Provides Financial Information
Audit Accessibility
Governance: Policies
Reports regularly & consistently monitoring & enforcing compliance with a written Conflict of Interest Policy
Reports required, annual disclosure by officers, directors, and key staff of interests that could give rise to conflicts
Reports having a written Whistleblower Policy
Reports having a written Document Retention and Destruction Policy
Governance: Financials
Reports providing copy of tax form to all board members prior to filing it with IRS
Reports that financial statements were audited by an independent accountant
Governance: Board of Directors
Reports at least 5 voting board members
51% or more of voting board members reported as independent
Reports documenting minutes of board and board committee meetings
Privacy Policy
Privacy Policy

  Name Title Compensation
1 Ms. Mary Davis CEO $552,476
2 Dr. Alicia Bazzano Past Chief Medical Officer $384,996
3 Dr. John Dow Chief, Regional & Program $331,759
Name: Ms. Mary Davis
Title: CEO
Compensation: $552,476
Name: Dr. Alicia Bazzano
Title: Past Chief Medical Officer
Compensation: $384,996
Name: Dr. John Dow
Title: Chief, Regional & Program
Compensation: $331,759

CharityWatch Analysts perform an in-depth analysis of charities' audited financial statements and IRS tax filings, and often review other documents such as state filings, annual reports, and fundraising contracts during their evaluations. Below are select notes that CharityWatch believes may be of interest to donors.

CharityWatch's rating of Special Olympics also includes the financial activities of its affiliated organizations, SO Europe Eurasia Foundation (the Foundation), Special Olympics Asia Pacific, Ltd. (SOAP Ltd), Special Olympics Entertainment Corporation (SOEC), and Special Olympics Community Services, Ltd. (SOCS). 

According to the Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI) combined audit of December 31, 2022 (Note 2 re: Principles of Combination):

"The principal activities of these three entities [the Foundation, SOAP Ltd, and SOCS] are to benefit their local communities through the provision of financial assistance to support the Special Olympics mission. SOEC was formed February 15, 2019, as a tax-exempt organization...for the purpose of managing the production of a film featuring Special Olympics athletes. SOI controls the Board of Directors of all four organizations and exerts significant influence over their activities. All intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in [the audit] combination."

Also according to the Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI) combined audit of December 31, 2022 (Note 1, Nature of Activities):

"...SOI accomplishes its mission through its approximately 207 independent accredited programs worldwide, plus independent games organizing committees responsible for organizing, financing and conducting world and regional games. SOI does not have a controlling financial interest in its accredited programs or the games organizing committees, and the accompanying [audited] combined financial statements do not include the accounts of these accredited programs and games organizing committees (see Note 5) [cited in a separate Analysts' Note, below]."

According to the Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI) combined audit of December 31, 2022 (Note 5, Affiliated Organizations and Related Party Transactions, Accredited programs and games organizing committees):

"SOI biennially accredits organizations as Programs at state and national levels for the purpose of conducting Special Olympics activities in their respective territorial jurisdictions. SOI accredits a Program if it meets specific organizational, programmatic and legal requirements. Accredited Programs are authorized to use the Special Olympics name and logo, raise funds in the name of Special Olympics, receive grant support and participate in conferences and international sporting events sanctioned by SOI. Currently, there are accredited Programs in 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and in approximately 157 countries outside the United States. SOI contracts with local games organizing committees to conduct various international and regional Special Olympics games. 

During 2022 and 2021, SOI made awards and grants of $50,660,725 and $47,614,167, respectively, to accredited Programs, which are allocated to functional expenses in the accompanying combined statements of activities."

According to the Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI) tax filing for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, SOI reports re: Compensation, Supplemental Information (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part III):

Regarding severance payments to officers, directors, trustees, key employees and highest compensated employees (Schedule J, Part I, Line 4a):

"Alicia Bazzano [Past Chief Medical Officer] - severance pay of $16,506."

SOI reports providing "bonus & incentive compensation" during 2022 to eleven individuals. David Evangelista, Regional President & Managing Director - SOEE, received $27,500 of bonus and incentive compensation, with a total reported compensation of $295,652. The remaining ten individuals received $5,000 to $25,000 with total compensation ranging from $203,835 to $552,476. 

According to the Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI) audit of December 31, 2022 (Note 14, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Promissory Note):

"On May 1, 2020, SOI applied for and received a loan of $3,549,950 pursuant to the PPP under Division A, Title I of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was enacted March 27, 2020. The interest rate was 1.0% per annum, payable monthly commencing after a decision on forgiveness is received, if necessary. The loan was guaranteed by the Small Business Administration and was due to mature on May 3, 2022. There were no application or other fees associated with this loan. Qualifying uses of proceeds included payment of compensation and benefit costs in order to retain workers, and to make lease payments and utility payments. SOI used the entire loan amount for qualifying expenses. Under the terms of the loan, some or all of the loan may be forgiven if the funds are used for qualifying expenses as described in the CARES Act. The loan may be prepaid at any time without penalty. SOI applied for and received forgiveness on August 14, 2021. Under the guidance of ASC 958-605. SOI recognized non-exchange revenue (i.e., grant income) in other income once the loan agreement was considered unconditional (i.e., forgiveness of the loan received in 2021 and other barriers previously met). The outstanding balance on the loan at December 31, 2021, was $0."

According to the Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI) audit of December 31, 2022 (Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, Individual and corporate contributions and sponsorships):

SOI reports receiving contributed nonfinancial assets on which it placed a total value of $7,943,661. Of this amount, $4,546,932 is related to "Medical supplies," and $1,258,215 is related to "Marketing, digital and content creation."

[Note: CharityWatch generally excludes the value of in-kind (non-cash) donations of goods and services from its calculations of Program % and Cost to Raise $100. More information on how grades are calculated and the treatment of in-kind donations can be found on the Our Process page.]

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