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Penguin Plunge Raises Over $525,000 for Special Olympics Vermont

The 28th Annual Special Olympics Vermont Penguin Plunge went remote due to anticipated extreme weather conditions on Saturday, February 4th. Nevertheless, hundreds of plungers raised funds and created their own chilly activities in support of programs that enrich the lives of a community of over 5,000 Vermonters. The Penguin Plunge is the largest fundraising event for Special Olympics Vermont (SOVT), and this year over $525,000 was raised by over 1,000 participants between the Burlington, Cool Schools, and Southern Vermont plunges to support SOVT initiatives and programming.

Fundraisers were encouraged to show their support for SOVT by plunging remotely and recording or taking photos of their creative alternatives to the usual in-person plunge into Lake Champlain. The 2023 Penguin Plunge will culminate in a Premiere Party on March 21st at Foam Brewers, where a production of all remote plunges will be played for the very first time. The compilation produced by The Media Factory will also be made available to view on SOVT’s YouTube channel.

“We are so grateful for the support of our community, who continue to make this event a success year after year,” said Special Olympics Vermont President and CEO, Missy Siner. “Our plungers, sponsors, partners, volunteers and donors embraced the shift to a remote plunge by continuing to raise funds and awareness for our organization, demonstrating their commitment to building a more inclusive future for Vermont.”

Williston Central School led the way as the top fundraising team of the Cool Schools Penguin Plunge, breaking its high school counterpart’s 9-year streak. The 67-member team raised over $16,000. For the fifth year in a row, the Union Mutual Popsicles were the top fundraising team of the Burlington Plunge, with their 45-member team raising an astounding $104,006.

The Southern Vermont Penguin Plunge took place in-person on March 11th at the Dana L Thompson Memorial Park in Manchester. Close to 100 community members from Manchester and neighboring towns raised over $16,000. Plungers ran through streams of water from a Manchester Fire Department fire truck in support of Special Olympics Vermont.

All funds raised through the Penguin Plunge support SOVT’s athletic training and competition opportunities for both community and school-based programs, free health screenings, and leadership opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Vermont. As SOVT athlete leader, Bennett Townley says, “Special Olympics programs have made a positive impact in my life, allowing me to feel more included in the community, make new friends, and improve my physical and emotional well-being.”

The Penguin Plunge would not have been possible without the support of our many sponsors, presenting sponsor Xfinity; gold sponsors, Community Bank, GlobalFoundries, and Union Mutual; silver sponsors, Cabot Creamery Co-Operative, Darn Tough Vermont, and Northfield Savings Bank; media sponsors, WCAX, Star 92.9, 95 Triple X, WVMT, The Wolf, and Media Factory; bronze sponsors, Foam Brewers, UVM Health Network, and Mascoma Bank. Plus, additional sponsors Allen Pool & Spas, Curtis Lumber, Hotel Vermont, Hilton Burlington, R.K. Miles, Casella Waste Systems, Dorr Oil, Hub International, H.N. Williams Store, and Mack Molding.

Special Olympics Vermont is also grateful for the support of our many partners including Ben & Jerry’s, Best Buy, Burlington Telecom, Burlington Parks & Recreation, Burlington Police & Fire Departments, Church Street Marketplace, Mansfield Hall, Pete’s RV Center, Starbucks, Supersounds Entertainment, Twincraft, and our partners for the Southern Vermont Penguin Plunge—Burr and Burton Academy and Sam’s Wood Fired Pizza Co. Thank you to everyone who makes this event possible every year through providing time, energy, in-kind donations, sponsorships, and more. 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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