PMIEF and Special Olympics Partner to Prepare Youth Leaders


22 July 2019

Published inPM for Social Good

Topics Grants , Youth

Young man and woman discuss their inclusion poster session

Young leaders showcase their inclusion projects during a poster session at World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

The PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF) sustains its commitment to youth through partnerships with the world’s leading youth-serving nonprofits. This not only enhances these organizations’ operations and programming, but also enables them to more meaningfully engage young people in rigorous, project-based activities as they learn project management. As a result, they develop the life skills necessary for academic, professional, and personal success.

PMIEF awarded a grant to Special Olympics, Inc. in 2017 for the “PMIEF – Special Olympics Project Management Center of Excellence” initiative. The organization, founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver 50 years ago, provides year-round athletic training and competitions in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The grant strengthened the project management capabilities of Special Olympics staff across the globe through in-depth training to support its fundraising, programming, and communications. It also permitted the organization to establish a Project Management Center of Excellence, through which it develops and implements its project planning, execution, governance, and standardization. 

The foundation further collaborated with the organization in 2018 to support its newly launched Youth Innovation Grants initiative. PMIEF designed and developed five animated modules to help recipients of Special Olympics’ mini-grants learn project management fundamentals. The modules, which correspond with the five project management process groups, are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish to ensure users around the world can easily access and benefit from them.

More than 100 youth leaders with and without intellectual disabilities received $2,000 Youth Innovation Grants to work in pairs to execute more than 80 inclusion-oriented projects in 40 countries. These countries span Special Olympics’ seven regions: Africa, Asia Pacific, East Asia, Europe/Eurasia, Latin America, Middle East/North Africa, and North America. 

“PMIEF provided us a high-quality product that exceeded our expectations,” said Kaitlyn Smith, Senior Manager of Youth Development at Special Olympics, when describing the modules’ value. “We appreciate the foundation’s focus on making certain the content meets our needs and is accessible to our audience. In addition, including real-life project examples in the modules has proven extremely helpful.” 

Special Olympics recently hosted its biennial Global Youth Leadership Summit during its World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 in the United Arab Emirates. The largest humanitarian and multisport event ever recorded, it provided an opportunity for Youth Innovation Grant recipients to showcase the purpose and anticipated outcomes of their inclusion projects to attendees from 200 countries. In addition, the organization included its first-ever project management training session in Summit activities to complement the modules PMIEF created so youth leaders can practically apply this knowledge to their grant-funded initiatives. 

Special Olympics’ vision is to open hearts and minds toward people with intellectual disabilities through sports to create inclusive communities globally. The organization aims to promote positive attitudes toward this population by raising awareness for what they can achieve, and thereby promote their inclusion in communities, health, education, and the workforce. Both PMIEF and Special Olympics strive to ensure young people make their dreams a reality and the world a better place for all. Together, they recognize the power of project management to enable youth to realize their potential and transform lives. 

For more information on this partnership, check out this video and visit our mission and vision to learn more about the foundation.


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