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Penguin Plunge Raises Over $500,000 for Special Olympics Vermont

The 27th Annual Burlington & Cool Schools Penguin Plunge was held on Saturday, March 12th at the Burlington Waterfront. Over 800 people braved the snowstorm and plunged into the frigid waters of Lake Champlain 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, over $500,000 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 Penguin Plunge was a huge success! Even a lingering pandemic and a wild March snowstorm couldn’t stop us,” said Special Olympics Vermont President & CEO, Missy Siner Shea. “We are so grateful for the support of our community, it’s leaders and businesses, all of whom, through their involvement, make a statement that they believe in the impactful work of Special Olympics and are committed to building a more inclusive future for us all.”

The Cool Schools Plunge took place at 10:00am, with the team from Champlain Valley Union High School leading the way as the top fundraising team. The 100-member team raised over $29,000. The Burlington Plunge started at 11:30am, and the Union Mutual Popsicles were the top fundraising team for the fourth year in a row. Thanks to their incredible 44-member team, they raised a whopping $85,862 (and counting)!

This year, the Penguin Plunge enjoyed strong support from several B-Corporations from across Vermont. Certified B-Corporations are required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. Together, B-Corps raised almost $24,000, by teams from Cabot Creamery Co-Operative, Gardener’s Supply, Rhino Foods, and SunCommon.

The Penguin Plunge would not have been possible without the support of our many sponsors, presenting sponsor Xfinity; gold sponsors, Community Bank, GlobalFoundries, Northfield Savings Bank and Select Design; bronze sponsors, Cabot Creamery Co-Operative, Darn Tough, Mascoma Bank, University of Vermont Health Network, and Vermont Business Magazine; media sponsors, WCAX, 95 Triple X, WVMT, The Game, The Wolf, and Media Factory who live streamed the event, plus, additional sponsors, Alpine Shop, Burton, Green Mountain Sales Corp, Hilton Burlington, Hotel Vermont, NBT Bank, Rossignol, and Top Hat Entertainment.

Special Olympics Vermont is also grateful for the support of our many partners including Adventure Dinner, Bourne’s Heating, Burlington Telecom, Burlington Parks & Recreation, Burlington Police & Fire Departments, Church Street Marketplace, Citizen Cider, City Market, Green Mountain Security, Mansfield Hall, Myer’s Containers, Pete’s RV, P&P Septic, Radio North Group, Starbucks, Top Hat Entertainment, Vail Resorts, Vermont Tent Company, and our volunteers from the Special Olympics Vermont Chittenden program and Best Buy. Thank you to everyone who makes this event possible every year through providing time, energy, in-kind donations, sponsorships, and more.

Fundraising pages are open through the end of the month. For more information please visit


About Special Olympics Vermont

Special Olympics Vermont is part of a global movement that works year-round to foster the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities by using the power of sport to showcase their gifts and abilities. For more information, visit

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