Polar Bear Plunges raise $2.85 million for Special Olympics MinnesotaMore than 14,000 brave plungers raised a record $2.85 million this winter for Special Olympics Minnesota by jumping into freezing-cold water in one of 16 Polar Bear Plunge events around the state. Coordinated by law enforcement, the events offered fun-loving adrenaline junkies an opportunity to be “freezin’ for a reason” and to have a blast in the process.
More than 14,000 brave plungers raised a record $2.85 million this winter for Special Olympics Minnesota by jumping into freezing-cold water in one of 16 Polar Bear Plunge events around the state.
Coordinated by law enforcement, the events offered fun-loving adrenaline junkies an opportunity to be “freezin’ for a reason” and to have a blast in the process.
“We are so grateful for the thousands of Minnesotans who showed their generous and adventurous spirits by jumping into icy water to support Special Olympics Minnesota athletes. We are also very proud of our partnership with law enforcement across the state, and thankful for the law enforcement personnel who made the events possible,” said David Dorn, president of Special Olympics Minnesota. “The record-breaking 2012 Polar Bear Plunge season will allow us to grow Special Olympics programs in Minnesota, helping us reach more athletes and provide more opportunities.”
Polar Bear Plunge fundraisers help Special Olympics Minnesota offer year-round sports training and competition to more than 7,200 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
In 2011, more than 11,000 valiant individuals took the plunge to support Special Olympics Minnesota, together raising more than $2.2 million. Participants plunged in teams of coworkers, friends or club members and raised money by asking for pledges. Each participant raised at least $75.
Polar Bear Plunge events in 2012 were held in the following Minnesota communities:
• Alexandria – 336 plungers raised $64,222.
• Anoka County – 422 plungers raised $92,589.
• Brainerd – 379 plungers raised $73,573.
• Duluth – 1,004 plungers raised $157,474.
• Eden Prairie – 501 plungers raised $87,000.
• Grand Rapids – 150 plungers raised $26,000.
• Maple Grove – 940 plungers raised $182,137.
• Mille Lacs – 148 plungers raised $30,000.
• Minneapolis and Dash and Splash 5K – 4,301 participants raised $883,398.
• Prior Lake – 434 plungers raised $75,062.
• Rochester – 1,044 plungers raised $224,973.
• South Metro – 924 plungers raised $205,118.
• St. Cloud – 650 plungers raised $108,087.
• St. Peter – 603 plungers raised $99,051.
• White Bear Lake – 1,477 plungers raised $260,783.
• Willmar/Spicer – 443 plungers raised $80,004.
The 2012 Polar Bear Plunge season included several “firsts” for the plunges. It was the first year that a plunge was held in Anoka County, Mille Lacs and at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. This brought the total number of plunges held in 2012 to 17. It was the first time pee-wee plungers were able to participate in a Polar Bear Plunge by jumping into an icy cold pool. It was the first time a Polar Bear Plunge has been held in 60 degree weather. And, it was the first time the plunges have seen more than 14,000 plungers and raised more than $2.85 million; the average plunger raised approximately $200.
The 2013 Polar Bear Plunge season will kick off in January and online registration is expected to be open in October at plungemn.org.
Polar Bear Plunge events are organized by Minnesota law enforcement as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, the largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics in the world.
With a mission to raise funds for and awareness of the Special Olympics movement worldwide, law enforcement officers and personnel from all 50 United States, 10 Canadian provinces and territories and more than 35 nations carry the “Flame of Hope” in honor of Special Olympics athletes in their areas and around the world.
More than 1,200 law enforcement officers and personnel representing more than 75 agencies throughout Minnesota participated with the Torch Run initiative in 2010. The Torch Run is an actual running event in which officers and athletes run the “Flame of Hope” to the Celebration Ceremonies of Special Olympics competitions. The Torch Run is also a diverse initiative encompassing a variety of fundraisers, including the Polar Bear Plunge.
Special Olympics Minnesota offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round sports training and competition. Through Special Olympics’ athletic, health and leadership programs, people with intellectual disabilities transform themselves, their communities and the world.