Special Olympics - New Hampshire
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Past, Present & Future

In the 1950s and early 1960s Eunice Kennedy Shriver saw how unjustly people with intellectual disabilities (ID) were treated and decided to take action. Throughout the 1960s Shriver continued her pioneering work – both as the driving force behind John F. Kennedy’s White House panel on people with ID and as the director of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. Her vision and drive for justice eventually grew into the Special Olympics movement.
In July of 1968, the first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. One thousand people with ID from 26 US States and Canada competed in athletics or aquatics. Six residents of New Hampshire from the Laconia State School participated in those Games. Two years later, New Hampshire’s first State Summer Games were held at Phillips Exeter Academy and in 1972 Special Olympics New Hampshire (SONH) officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Today, SONH is a registered (501)(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors. The Board is responsible for overseeing the effective management, direction and Mission of SONH.  Special Olympics New Hampshire's staff is headed by a President & CEO and is responsible for program planning, implementation and evaluation as well as public education, fundraising, organizational development and technical support. All funds are raised through individual and corporate donations, foundation grants, state government funding and special events. Special Olympics New Hampshire does not receive funding from the Kennedy Foundation, the United Way, or the federal government. 
In 2017, the SONH Board of Directors approved Special Olympics New Hampshire’s 2017-2019 Strategic Plan. The major goals of the plan is to improve sports opportunities and quality, build positive attitudes, grow the number of athletes served, strengthen leadership and generate more financial resources. We are excited about what the future holds and we look forward to reaching for these goals and creating the best opportunities for the athletes that we serve.

  • Click here to see our Strategic Plan