My forty year professional career in researching stocks almost exactly coincides with the life of Special Olympics. In that period I have only seen a few firms that were able to progress from the creative phase to start up, then refining and modifying their production or service for acceleration, moving to operations throughout the world, and most importantly doing it on a long-term sustainable basis. It is also very unusual that one individual has the skill sets, intelligence, and perseverance to manage all of the diverse stages from creation to lasting growth.
Eunice, you have accomplished with Special Olympics something I have not seen achieved by thousands and thousands of companies in the last ten, twenty, or forty years. You are an amazing leader!
Special Olympics and International Special Olympics' accomplishments are totally remarkable. What you have done for millions and millions of individuals and their families is extraordinary. In addition you have proven to the general public and to government officials in over 150 countries that there is a tremendous economic positive in unleashing the potential of intellectual challenged individuals and that everyone benefits when they function at their full potential. A resource that was being wasted and in many cases restrained and denigrated has been allowed to prosper and the benefit will grow and grow in the future because of what you have put in motion.
As you recall each one of our three daughters, at age sixteen or seventeen have had wonderful experiences as volunteers at the International Special Olympics Summer Games. Each arrived a week ahead of the opening ceremonies and had very responsible assignments for ten to fourteen days. Mary in Minneapolis-St. Paul in 1991, Annie in New Haven in 1995, and Elizabeth in Raleigh-Durham in 1999.
Carolyn and I were so pleased to serve as co-chairs with Steve and Jean Case for the campaign launched in 2000 to double the amount of athletes actively involved in Special Olympics around the world to two million individuals by the Beijing Special Olympics summer games in 2007. Not only was that objective obtained but the momentum it created has today's worldwide number to over three million. Wow!
We also feel blessed to have been involved in the start up of the Young Athletes program in Massachusetts in 2005 working with children ages two through seven to help develop the motor skills and physiological elements at ages before Special Olympics begins. From a very small number there are now almost 20,000 participants all over the U.S. and the world.
Let me conclude by saying what fun it has been to know you and your family over the last twenty years and how much we have learned. Eunice, you are a great CEO and also a world-class wife and mother.
Our best to you,
Peter and Carolyn
Carolyn and Peter Lynch served as Co-Chairs for the Campaign for Special Olympics. Peter Lynch is the former Vice-Chairman of Fidelity Management & Research Company. He is a former member of Special Olympics International Board of Directors.