2020-21 Special Olympics Maine Unified Champion Schools Funding Application
What is Unified Champion Schools?
Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® is a program for schools Pre-K through university that intentionally promotes meaningful social inclusion by bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities to create accepting school
environments, utilizing three interconnected components: Special Olympics Unified Sports®, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement. There are currently over 7,600 schools in 49 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
In Maine these funds have been used to create, implement and improve Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools programming at high, middle and elementary schools now entering in its 12th year. Thousands of students of all ability levels have been touched by Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools in Maine.
Core Beliefs of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools:
1.There should be more opportunities in schools across the country for young people of all ages and all ability levels to make friends and work together for change.
2. Students with intellectual disabilities should become part of the fabric of the education community and be perceived as assets in their schools and communities
3. Students without intellectual disabilities can and should increase their knowledge, skills and comfort in forming positive social relationships with students with intellectual disabilities and should come together to address societal issues.
4. Policymakers and education leaders should develop policies and support quality practices that encourage positive school climates characterized by safe and nurturing learning environments for all students.
Unified Champion Schools combines three main components:
Each school must include each of the three Unified Champion Schools components as part of their proposal.
1. Unified Sports: This means two things in Unified Champion Schools: One, student with intellectual disabilities are provided the opportunity to participate in sports. Two, students with and without intellectual disabilities participate in sports alongside each other – inclusively. Students develop exceptional athletic skills while forming friendships, fostering respect for each other, and becoming leaders on and off the court.
2. Inclusive Youth Leadership & Advocacy: Opportunities for youth with and without intellectual disabilities to become agents of change within their school, community, and state.
3. Whole School Engagement: An important feature of creating a socially inclusive school climate is engaging the entire school community in the process.
Unified Champion Schools Resources
For more information on Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools, Special Olympics Maine and related initiatives visit:
• Special Olympics Unified Schools:
• Special Olympics Maine:
• Generation Unified:
• Spread the Word to End the Word:
• SO Get Into It:
• SO College:
2020-21 Grant Opportunities
This year we have the opportunity to offer additional funding for projects that further promote the core beliefs of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools. Application will be accepted until April 1, 2021 or until funding is exhausted. Projects must be completed by June 15th, 2021.
Project Funding Eligibility
1. An active Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools High School, Middle School, Elementary School or SO College program on your campus is required to apply.
2. To be eligible for consideration for project funding you must be one of the three below
• Student, grades 6-12
• Teacher, Pre-k, elementary school, middle school or High School
• College/University undergraduate student
Note: Students and teachers are encouraged to work together in developing proposals, with the expectation that youth will lead whenever possible.
3. Schools are not eligible to apply for funding if it has received funding from Special Olympics Maine for 2 or more years unless your school is starting a new Unified Sport program (new sport offering).
1. Your project must focus on all three main components of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools and will require your school to meet the requirements of a Unified Champion School by the end of their 1st year of participation:
• Unified Sports
• Inclusive Youth Leadership & Advocacy
• Whole School Involvement
2. The project must meet a need you have identified in your school, district or community
3. Partnerships with local community groups, businesses and organizations are strongly encouraged
4. Middle School & High School proposals must have a strong evidence that the proposal was developed and will be implemented by students.
5. Application will be accepted until April 1, 2021 or until funding is exhausted.
Your project must include the following:
1. Elements of Service-Learning (S-L): S-L differs from Community Service in that youth identify a need and organize service to create meaningful change. Learning – tied to academic curriculum – accompanies service. Students explore, plan, implement, reflect and modify as needed along the way.
2. Budget: What expenses do you anticipate and how much will you spend on each? What is the total budget for your project? What expenses can be donated or shared?
3. Project Documentation: photos, video, written updates/journal, Facebook posts, receipts
4. Project Evaluation: Completion of National and State level surveys capturing what worked. What would you change? What improvements would you make? What challenges did you face? How did you overcome them?
5. Final Report, including receipts, unused funds and any post-project action plan, must be submitted to Special Olympics Maine no more than thirty (30) days after the event or activities conclude.
Proposal Review Criteria
A. Complete entire Unified Champion Schools funding application
B. Merits/quality of proposed project
C. Concise, clear and straightforward answers to the proposal questions
D. Written sections show attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation
E. Strong evidence that youth have been involved in developing the proposal
F. A clearly-defined, appropriate budget
A. Schools will be notified within 2 weeks of their funding decision
B. If accepted, further instructions will be provided
C. Awards will range from $1-$2,500.00 based on project/season.
• 1st year MPA Interscholastic Special Olympics Unified Basketball applicants max request - $2,500.00
• 2nd year MPA Interscholastic Special Olympics Unified Basketball applicants max request - $2,000.00
• 1st year MPA Interscholastic Special Olympics Unified Volleyball applicants max request - $2,500.00
• 1st and 2nd year MPA Interscholastic Special Olympics Unified Bocce applicants max request - $1,000.00
• 1st & 2nd year Middle School Interscholastic Special Olympics Unified Basketball applicants max request - $2,000.00
If you have not reviewed the application information, please do so by visiting,
and download the application materials. Continue on to complete your school's Unified Champion Schools funding application.
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