President Corner: February

Thanks to 14,476 plungers, a very busy February kicked off with the most successful Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge week ever! 66 Super Plungers including 19 athletes got us started with the marathon 24 plunges in 24 hours on January 27-28 and they raised $702,357. The Cool Schools plunge featured a record 7,958 students who raised an astounding $912,640 for their February 1st plunge efforts. On February 2nd the Police Plunge included 1,137 plungers who raised $384,915 while later that same day 1,454 Corporate Plungers accounted for $589,496. Finally, the 3,861 plungers who did the traditional Maryland Plunge on Saturday raised $1,065,741. Combined with sponsorship support from partners like Plunge Founding Partner Allegis along with funds raised from our WBAL TV 11 telethons we raised $4,448,956.69 which blew by last year’s record total of $3,657,920.

We also celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Deep Creek Dunk in record fashion raising over $230,000 which included the inaugural Community Dunk presented by the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. The three-day Dunk festivities also included 450 students from Southern and Northern High Schools and Middle Schools who raised over $48,000 doing our Cool Schools Dunk.

These events reflect the transformative power of our athletes to inspire people like you to support them and our mission. They serve as an exceptional example of what it means to build interactive inclusive communities of dignity and respect. Support from plungers, dunkers, and donors supporting them reflects the very best of all Marylanders in our collective efforts to build a more inclusive Maryland.

As you know, our athletes and Unified teammates train and compete free of charge, so the funds raised from these two events are critical to ensure that we deliver those year-round opportunities in 27 sports to our athletes. Raising awareness through the Plunge and Dunk is equally important as experiencing inclusion with our athletes connects these events to the mission and ultimately motivates incredible support from people like you.

In addition to Plunge and Dunk, February included our Interscholastic Unified Sports (IUS) Indoor Bocce State Tournament on February 14th at Hagerstown Community College which featured over 300 athletes and unified teammates from 30 High Schools representing eight counties. On February 20th, 124 athletes and Unified teammates from seven High Schools competed in our IUS Strength and Conditioning State Tournament at the Worcester Recreation Center in Snow Hill. And finally, 162 athletes (75 alpine, 87 snowshoeing) and 34 Unified® partners (27 alpine, 7 snowshoeing) competed at our Winter Games,  February 25-27, at WISP Resort.

We also had athlete leaders visit their representatives on Capitol Hill on February 6th, while another group joined with other advocates in Annapolis for Developmental Disabilities Day on February 21st. Finally, in partnership with Kennedy Krieger, the University of Maryland College of Medicine, Johns Hopkins, and the Prince George County Public School System we hosted a MedFest where 40 students received physical exams that will enable them to compete this Spring.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to making February so impactful for our athletes and Unified teammates.

Check out these links to get a feel for how we are impacting thousands of lives through sport, health, and leadership.

This series of events and activities demonstrates exactly what it means to build interactive inclusive communities of dignity and respect. Through Sport…and the Plunge, and the Dunk, we are proud of our collective, collaborative efforts that are helping create a world where opportunity is not limited by disability.