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Burlington & Cool Schools Penguin Plunge Raises Over $675,000 for Special Olympics Vermont

South Burlington, VT – February 13, 2024

The 29th Annual Burlington & Cool Schools Penguin Plunge presented by Community Bank was held on Saturday, February 10th at the Burlington Waterfront. 1,000 people plunged into the frigid waters of Lake Champlain on an unseasonably warm day to show their support for Special Olympics athletes in Vermont. The Penguin Plunge is the largest fundraising event for Special Olympics Vermont, and this year, a record-breaking $675,000 was raised to support sports training and competition opportunities across local and school programs, health screenings, and leadership opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Vermont.



"This year's Burlington & Cool Schools Penguin Plunge surpassed all expectations, setting a new record as the most successful event we've ever hosted," remarked Sarah McCaffrey, President & CEO of Special Olympics Vermont. "We are thrilled to announce we have exceeded our goals thanks to the overwhelming support from our community, partners, and sponsors. This collective effort not only highlights the community's commitment to Special Olympics Vermont but also underscores our shared vision for a more inclusive future. We are deeply appreciative of everyone who came together to champion our athletes."

 

The Cool Schools Penguin Plunge took place at 10am, beginning with top fundraising school, Browns River Middle School. The 56-member team raised $21,600. The Burlington Penguin Plunge started at 11am, and the Union Mutual and Hickok & Boardman Popsicles took the top fundraising spot for the sixth year in a row. Thanks to their 62-member team, led by President & CEO Lisa Keysar, they raised over $185,000 – the most raised by a single team in the history of the Penguin Plunge!

 

All funds raised through the Penguin Plunge go towards Special Olympics Vermont’s local and school-based programs that exist to foster awareness and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities by using the power of sport to showcase their gifts and abilities. As athlete, Caroline McNamara said as she kicked off the event, I love Special Olympics because I have made a lot of friends and I love to win medals.”

  

The Penguin Plunge would not have been possible without the support of our many partners: presenting partner Community Bank; platinum partners Xfinity and Union Mutual; gold partner GlobalFoundries; silver partners Darn Tough Vermont, Mascoma Bank, Northfield Savings Bank, Our House Bistro and Vermont Federal Credit Union; and bronze partners Cabot Creamery Co-operative, Foam Brewers, Halvorson’s Upstreet Cafe, National Life Group and UVM Health Network. We are also grateful for our incredible media partners: WCAX, 95 Triple X, 101.3 The Wolf, WVMT, STAR 92.9, Supersounds, and the Media Factory who produced an exciting live show for everyone to watch at home. Finally, Special Olympics Vermont is appreciative of the support from the Junapr team, Vermont Tent Company, Bourne’s Energy, Myers Container Services Corp, Burlington Telecom, Burlington Parks & Recreation Department, the Burlington Fire Department, the U.S. Coast Guard Station - Burlington, the Norwich Cadets, Best Buy, Tech Group VT and countless volunteers who make this event possible every year through providing time, energy, in-kind donations, and more.


For more information please visit PenguinPlunge.org

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