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At the Case Foundation, the core of our mission is to invest in people and ideas that can change the world. Eunice Kennedy Shriver exemplified this ideal, and her life's work has been an inspiration to the Case Foundation, my family, and the millions of people around the world who we join with in celebrating her rich life.
Not only did Eunice create the incredible movement that opened up a new world of opportunity for children with special needs when she founded the Special Olympics in 1968, she was also an inspiration to her own children and countless mentees who have dedicated their lives in service to others. As the family said in a statement today, "She set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more." Thanks to her tireless effort and dedication to helping individuals with intellectual disabilities, the Special Olympics has grown from a few hundred athletes to nearly 3.1 million athletes in more than 200 programs all over the world - a truly impressive achievement.
Eunice's extraordinary vision combined with her selfless and tireless dedication to lifting up those in greatest need inspired us several years ago to make one of the Foundation's earliest and largest grants to the Special Olympics, and later to sponsor Eunice's sidewalk medallion in the Points of Light's Extra Mile path, a mile-long walk which runs near the White House and is intended to be a national monument to service leaders. We encourage people to pay tribute to her many contributions in the future by visiting the bronze medallion placed in honor of Eunice and her work.
Eunice's life and life's work reminds and inspires all of us never to forget to reach back, lift up and push hard to ensure that every individual has opportunity, every life has value, and every child knows the meaning of joy. If you'd like to read more about Eunice Kennedy Shriver, her biography can be found here, along with a statement from the Special Olympics about her passing.
Steve and I, together with the Case Foundation team, extend our sincere condolences to the Shriver family and the entire Special Olympics community.