GoFundMe announced today that five top YouTube stars will be part of the first-ever social fundraising collaboration with Special Olympics on the GoFundMe platform: Burnie Burns and Gavin Free of Rooster Teeth, Matt Santoro, Meredith Foster, and Teala Dunn.
As part of the effort, the five YouTube stars, who have over 44.7 million subscribers among them, will create GoFundMes, sharing the personal stories of these remarkable athletes headed to Austria to help raise funds and awareness.
These YouTubers represent a variety of interests and backgrounds: from Meredith and Teala’s lifestyle and beauty videos to live action series from Rooster Teeth and delving into facts and lists with Matt Santoro. Together, their videos have amassed over 7.2 billion views, and they are ready to introduce their audiences to the incredible accomplishments of Special Olympics athletes.
“I’m thrilled that Rooster Teeth is able to support the Special Olympics in a meaningful way through this GoFundMe initiative,” said Burnie Burns, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Rooster Teeth. “Gavin and I are overjoyed to be able to attend the Winter Games and witness these incredible athletes as they fulfill their lifelong dreams.”
The YouTubers will attend the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria as guests of Special Olympics to participate in the Opening Ceremony, Unified Talk featuring the Global Youth Leadership Summit, Unified Sports Experiences, and other events that will highlight the abilities of Special Olympics athletes. They will share the experience with their diverse and global audiences.
“Both GoFundMe and YouTube provide platforms for storytelling and community building, so it’s only fitting that we should join forces to promote and support Special Olympics,” said Kelly Galvin, Head of Communications at GoFundMe. “We are inspired by the stories of Special Olympics athletes overcoming obstacles to compete, and we are thrilled that these YouTube stars are lending their influence to this important movement.”
Nearly 2,700 athletes from over 100 nations will compete in nine sports at the Games in Austria this month. But Special Olympics is more than sports — it’s a global movement that builds inclusive communities where all people are valued.
“Every two years our World Games highlight our athletes’ abilities on the fields of competition,” said Kirsten Seckler, Chief Marketing Officer of Special Olympics. “The World Games also provide us a moment in time to raise awareness and change attitudes around the globe about people with intellectual disabilities and the value they bring into communities everywhere. We’re very excited to work with GoFundMe and these YouTubers to help us reach audiences that can support our movement for years to come.”
The GoFundMes created for Special Olympics will highlight inspirational stories of athletes on their journey to the Games while supporting expenses related to travel, training, equipment, coaching, and accommodations, in addition to supporting Special Olympics programming around the world.
“Special Olympics is near and dear to my heart, and I’m thrilled to use GoFundMe to spread the word to Merebears everywhere and raise money for such a worthy cause,” said YouTube star, Meredith Foster.
The Special Olympics World Winter Games will take place March 14 through March 25 in Graz, Schladming, Rohrmoos and Ramsau, Austria. Along with YouTubers, Tubefilter, a leading advocate for the online creator community, and many other Special Olympics guests including Olympians, professional athletes and influencers will be attending the Games to cheer on these amazing athletes from the stands. Additionally, eight Olympic athletes, including Julia Mancuso and Apolo Ohno, shared messages of encouragement to Special Olympic athletes in a video embodying Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s message of hope and victory.
To donate and learn more about their stories, and view all Special Olympic GoFundMes, visit: gofundme.com/specialolympics.