Rochester native and billionaire Tom Golisano donated $12 million yesterday to expand Special Olympics’ health-related services—the largest single gift the Special Olympics has ever received.
Golisano, the former of Paychex Inc., made the announcement at the opening of the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. Golisano has been a major supporter of the initiative since it started eight years ago.
The gift will be given over four years and will benefit people with intellectual disabilities.
The effort will be launched in seven countries: Mexico, Peru, Romania, Malawi, South Africa, Malaysia, and Thailand and six states Arizona, Florida, Kansas, New Jersey, Wisconsin and New York.
“This unprecedented gift by Tom Golisano is going to impact lives worldwide, and we are honored to have the opportunity to share this incredible news at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting,” said Special Olympics chairman Timothy Shriver in a statement.
Golisano, who now has his primary residency in Florida, said in a statement that “this gift comes with my deep admiration for the work of Special Olympics over the ten-plus years since Healthy Athletes was founded.”
Golisano has been the leading philanthropist in Rochester, and he spent more than $100 million on three runs for governor. In 2008, he spent $5 million (above) to help Democrats win the Senate majority—a move he later regretted.