50th Anniversary Gala

Special Olympics Florida marked its 5Oth anniversary with a glittering – and inspiring – 50th anniversary gala that drew nearly 600 friends and supporters from across the country.

Held on Saturday, October 22 at the spectacular Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, the event honored 50 years of working to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. It celebrated our supporters, volunteers, corporate partners, and, of course, our incredible athletes. It also provided an opportunity to highlight our newest Leadership Award winners, including:

  • Mary Frances Smith, Athlete of the Year
  • Frank Marion, Coach of the Year
  • Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Award
  • Orlando City Soccer Club and the Orlando Pride, Sports Organization of the Year

The night was filled with friendship, fellowship and music. It was capped off by an outdoor after party and spectacular fireworks show. Heartfelt thanks to our terrific hosts -- Meredith McDonough and Jim Payne of WESH 2 – and our amazing sponsors (find full list of sponsors here).

In celebration of our 50th anniversary, we produced a video starring several of our athletes that was played at the Gala. You can watch it here. We also created a video recapping the performance of Team Florida at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. Watch it here. Visit our Gala photo gallery to see pictures from the evening.