Special Olympics Florida Earns Coveted 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

CLERMONT, Fla., Oct. 21, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Special Olympics Florida's sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator. This is the second consecutive time that Special Olympics Florida has earned this top distinction in the last two years.

Special Olympics Florida is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that provides people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to build confidence, discover independence and develop friendships as they take part in hundreds of annual sports trainings and competitions at no cost to the athletes or their families. As an organization with nearly 28,000 athletes and 19,000 volunteers that provides more than $1 million in free health services annually, programmatic quality and fiscal responsibility are viewed as the key to expanding access to services across the state.

Since 2002, using objective, data-driven analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology. These "Accountability & Transparency" metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity's overall rating, reveal which charities have "best practices" that minimize the chance of unethical activities and whether they freely share basic information about their organization with their donors and other stakeholders.

"Special Olympics Florida's coveted 4-star rating puts it in a very select group of high-performing charities," according to Tim Gamory, COO of Charity Navigator. "Out of the thousands of nonprofits Charity Navigator evaluates, only one out of four earns 4 stars -- a rating that demands rigor, responsibility and commitment to openness. Special Olympics Florida's supporters should feel much more confident that their hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly when it acquires such a high rating."

"This rating represents our ability to efficiently and responsibly grow and manage our program and finances. We couldn't have received this rating without donors and volunteers who trust that we are using our funding wisely to accomplish our mission," said Sherry Wheelock, President/CEO of Special Olympics Florida. "Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates to consumers that we take our fiduciary and governance responsibilities very seriously."

This accolade from Charity Navigator precedes Special Olympics Florida's annual Giving Day, a 24-hour challenge where sponsor Procter & Gamble is offering a gift of $50,000 to Special Olympics Florida if 500 donors make a gift. Giving Day is Tuesday, October 27, 2015.

Special Olympics Florida's rating and other information about charitable giving are available free of charge on www.charitynavigator.org. More-detailed information about Special Olympics Florida's rating is available to Charity Navigator site visitors who become registered users, another free service.

CONTACT: Danielle Spears 352-727-5097 daniellespears@sofl.orgSource: Special Olympics Florida