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Request for Applications: Special Olympics Inclusive Health Innovation Grant Opportunity

RFA Lede - Runners of the Half Marathon at the 2015 Summer Games in Los Angeles

Grant Opportunity Announcement

Special Olympics International (SOI) is pleased to announce the 2019 Inclusive Health Innovation Grant opportunity. These small grants, up to $25,000 per grant for a period of performance of up to 12 months, reflect SOI’s commitment to improving access to mainstream health services in the United States for people with intellectual disabilities (ID). The deadline to submit applications is November 16, 2018.

The May 2017 Inclusive Health Forum in Washington, D.C. launched SOI’s inclusive health dialogue with a select group of industry leaders from across the public health space. Over the past year, the Inclusive Health Learning Community, which grew out of the Forum, has focused on creating models of inclusion of people with ID in mainstream health policies, programs, services, and care. Supporting these efforts and with the aim of easing the inclusive health journey for more and more organizations, Special Olympics launched the Center for Inclusive Health ( on June 30, 2018. The Center for Inclusive Health is an online platform featuring resources and opportunities for knowledge sharing designed for organizations and leaders aiming to take actions in achieving inclusive health.

These Inclusive Health Innovation Grants are intended to help organizations make meaningful inclusive health strides over the next year. These grants will 1) allow eligible organizations to expand on existing or develop new meaningful inclusion efforts to include people with ID in existing health programs and services, 2) identify and document success stories and best practices, and 3) develop models, case studies, and other inclusive health resources that can be shared with others via the Center for Inclusive Health as we continue to welcome new organizations and partners to the Inclusive Health Movement.

About Special Olympics and Inclusive Health

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports and public health organization for people with ID. Over the twenty years of Special Olympics health programming, we have made lifechanging and life-saving strides in health. However, despite the growth and successes of our programs, we are only able to reach a small segment of the population – the 5+million Special Olympics athletes in 174 countries represent only two percent of the 200 million people with an intellectual disability worldwide.

In many countries, people with ID are locked out of most aspects of health systems. Statistics show that even in advanced countries, many doctors are not properly trained on how to interact with or diagnose people with ID. Health promotion and prevention initiatives rarely target people with disabilities. This exclusion from health systems is creating significant health disparities for the population of people with ID. This health injustice also results in high costs for society as a whole: in the U.S., for instance, due to poor access to quality primary care and health prevention services, while people with ID represent 4.9% of the Medicaid population they account for 15.7% of Medicaid expenditures.

The aim of Special Olympics Health is to create the tipping point whereby the inclusion of those with ID becomes normalized in mainstream health systems. Under the Special Olympics Inclusive Health Strategy, health and fitness programs work in concert at different levels – individual, community, and national – to achieve the goal of inclusive health: the inclusion of all people with ID in existing mainstream health policies, programming and services, training programs, and funding streams. In the U.S., Special Olympics is partnering with providers, community organizations, professional organizations and businesses to break down system-level barriers in health access and achieve health justice for all.

Application Instructions

The application consists of a program description and a budget, and should also include the following information:

  • Project title
  • Organization name, address, phone, URL
  • DUNS number
  • Head of Organization’s name, title, email
  • Application point of contact - name, title, email, phone
  • Name, title, email, and phone of person who will sign the grant agreement for yourorganization if funded
  • Organization overview and Mission Statement

The following documents should be submitted along with the application:

  • Copies of latest Single Audit report or audit report (as applicable) and the corresponding financial statements

The application must be signed by the Head of Organization. Use the application template to complete your application.

Program Description

SOI encourages applicants to be creative with their proposals, and to review the provided reference material on the Center for Inclusive Health site ( Program descriptions may be no longer than six (6) pages and should include:

  • Objectives of the project and brief implementation plan. All grant activities must be completed by March 31, 2020.
  • Planned outputs and deliverables (this should be clearly aligned with your implementation plan)
  • Expected outcomes and benefits both for the population of people with ID as well as for your organization.
  • Information on how the proposed grant will be intentionally inclusive of people with ID and how self-advocates will be involved in the implementation of the grant, if applicable.
  • Geographic area(s) where grant will be executed.
  • At least one proposed conference/workshop/event where someone from your organization will present or speak about this project and inclusive health.
  • How you will monitor and evaluate the impact or success of your activities.
  • Sustainability, replication and resources: Describe how best practices will be documented, models/resources developed, and activities replicated beyond the life of this grant. How will project results and outcomes be sustained after this project ends? What resources are you creating that can be shared with others?
  • Any additional information about your organization or the proposed activities that you think relevant.

Budget submission

Each application must include a budget. Please note that no indirect costs may be covered by this grant. The budget may be included as a table in the application template or as a separate spreadsheet attachment.

  • The maximum grant amount is $25,000 for a period of performance of up to one year. The actual amount received for successful applicants is dependent on several factors, including the diversity of program objectives compared to other applications and SOI budget considerations. Applicants will be required to submit revised applications to conform to the final award value if necessary.
  • Provide a line-item breakdown on proposed use of funds.
  • No part of this grant may be used directly or indirectly towards lobbying or construction activities.
  • Specify any cash-matching or in-kind contributions.
  • Only direct project costs may be budgeted - do not include indirect costs or overhead.
  • Funds will be disbursed in two tranches: 75% at the time of the award and 25% upon completion of the grant. The mid-year status report, final report, evaluation form and final financial report must be submitted before the second tranche is released. All grant activities must be completed by March 31, 2020.


Applicants must be U.S.-based organizations eligible to receive Federal funding to apply for this grant opportunity*. This opportunity is intended for mainstream organizations that have national-level influence. Organizations are encouraged to partner with local Special Olympics Programs and/or other self-advocate organizations where appropriate. Contact if you have questions about your eligibility before beginning your application.

EEO Statement: Special Olympics is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory, diverse work environment. Special Olympics does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, national origin, age,disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law in any of its programs or activities.

Application deadline and submission instructions

SOI will review applications on a rolling basis and may ask for clarifications or request revisedapplications addressing feedback where appropriate. SOI will also seek to maximize diversity of awards based on project objectives. Grant agreement packages will be available for signature beginning April 1, 2019 and the first tranche of funding released by April 30, 2019.

  • Applications are due by close of business November 16, 2018.
  • Submit applications by email to
  • Remember to attach copies of latest Single Audit report or audit report (as applicable) and the corresponding financial statements

Reporting requirements for awarded grants
This announcement is intended, in part, to facilitate the development of models of and approaches to inclusion that can be shared and replicated by other organizations. To this end, organizations will be selected who are able to work closely and communicate regularly with Special Olympics for the duration of this project and are willing to have their efforts captured in case studies and toolkits. SOI Reporting requirements include:

  • Identifying a primary point of contact who will work with SOI to provide updates on the progress of the grant and submit reports.
  • Grantees must be available to respond to SOI calls/emails/surveys as needed, including periodic phone status calls.
  • Collaboration with SOI on the identification and development of inclusive health resources such as case studies or toolkits.
  • Submission of a mid-term status report by September 1, 2019 noting achievements to date and progress towards project objectives.
  • Submission of a final report documenting project results and deviations, if any, from the original grant application.
  • Submission of the grant evaluation form.
  • A financial report showing how funds were disbursed, due no later than 30 days after the end of grant period.
  • All documentation related to disbursement of funds (receipts, purchase orders, invoices, contracts, staff time sheets, etc.) must be retained and produced to SOI upon request for verification and/or audit purposes.

*Special Olympics Health is supported by cooperative agreement # NU27DD001156 from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are the responsibility of Special Olympics and do not necessarily represent the views of CDC. Alternative formats are available on request.

Contact Information at SOI

Nadja Ruzica & Inclusive Health Team
Phone: 202.824.0308
Email: and


  1. Application Template
  2. Inclusive Health FAQ
  3. Inclusive Health Principles and Strategies Resource
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